Gaston Legorburu set much of the strategic and creative vision for the SapientNitro brands for the past ten years. Today Gaston serves as the Chief Creative Strategist for Publicis.Sapient providing clients with forward-thinking insights on their most transformative marketing and business challenges. Readers of Gaston’s New York Times bestselling book Storyscaping, industry pundits, and audiences worldwide can attest to his visionary ability to see and shape what’s next for brands and humans.
In the interview below, Gaston discusses his book and what advertisers can learn from his approach to storytelling, ahead of his appearance at the inaugural D&AD Festival.
Call you tell us a bit where Sapient are focusing their efforts at the moment?
As you may know Sapient was acquired by the Publicis Groupe just over one year ago, and as a result Publicis.Sapient was created as a new platform to help clients drive their business transformation imperatives. This platform uniquely connects DigitasLBi, Razorfish Global, and SapientNitro along with Sapient’s Consulting arm and their global technology engine. This ambitious endeavor aims to re-imagine our own industry, and reclaim our place as the most trusted steward to the CEO.
You’ve recently released Storyscaping - can you give us a brief synopsis?
In the book we explore the important difference between the ideas of “integrated” vs. “connected” communications, we then venture to explore the human truth that personal experiences make much stronger connections than pictures and words.
Essentially we wrote this book to urge our industry to move beyond simply making advertising, to creating and tending to worlds both physical and virtual in which brands and consumers truly connect. We decided to open up both our philosophy, and our approach to anyone who would listen. We have simply been amazed by the reaction to Storyscaping, and are proud that it quickly became a NYT and Amazon best seller.
What do you think the D&AD audience of creatives in advertising and design can learn from Storyscaping?
This is an exciting time in our industry. Lots of scary risk, yet even more opportunity to transform. Storyscaping focuses on how we can move past simply helping brands say what they say, to help them do what they do as well.
What do you think the biggest challenge facing creatives who are trying to tell great stories is?
The paradox statement here is that creatives are getting in their own way most of the time. Today every creative wants to be seen as “multidisciplinary” master of every medium, master of every technology, master of every audience. Malcolm Gladwell reminds us that you need 10,000 hours of experience to be great at any one thing. Truth is today a creative needs to be a great collaborator, needs to be a bit humble and recognize she needs others to do truly great work. Most creatives are too insecure to play with other creatives in that way.
Have you seen any great examples of storytelling for brands recently?
Absolutely! Every medium needs 25-30 years to mature. We are seeing some “so called” new mediums come into their own. These are exciting times to be a creative as the sole definition of creative is evolving right in front of us.
You’ll be speaking at the D&AD Festival. What will you be talking about?
I will focus on evangelizing the power of experience in story telling, and hope to inspire the audience to expand their definition of what an agency can do to create value for their clients while ultimately elevating our industry.
What are you most looking forward to about the D&AD Festival?
Relationships, Relationships. Some of my closest professional relationships started in a D&AD jury room.
Why is London such a good place for creatives? How does it compare to all the places you’ve visited?
London simply has the most vibrant advertising community in the world. There is a level of professionalism and respect for the craft that does not exist elsewhere.
This year’s festival theme is ‘nothing matters more’. In your view, why does creativity matter?
Technology, distribution, knowledge etc. While they can be tremendous competitive advantages for brands, they can also serve as huge equalizers for competition. This digital revolution we are living though will ultimately create unprecedented parity within some of these dimensions. That said, Design and Creativity will remain the ultimate competitive advantage for business.
The D&AD Professional Awards celebrate creativity in categories such as Graphic Design, Book Design and Crafts for Advertising. If you think you have a campaign that deserves a D&AD Pencil, why not enter it and see if our board of judges agrees.