Since Antonio Navas first arrived in New Zealand in 2011, there have been murmurings about his impending departure. "I heard that Antonio is leaving" almost became as common a phrase as "integrated cross-channel marketing initiative" in conversations between those in the industry (they had to get it right eventually). And despite this speculation, Navas just shrugged it off and focused on what he came here to do in the first place: create ads that get noticed.
And his creative efforts have certainly attracted attention since his arrival. From modifying the plumbing system of a house to using Facebook as a interest-rate reduction device, his campaigns have not only been popular and award-winning but also—and perhaps more importantly—effective.
Given the quality of so many of his campaigns, one would expect these to stand out as the things the defined Navas' stay in New Zealand. And this very well might've been the case had he not decided to whisper sweet nothings into Colenso's ear.
Here are a few thoughts from Antonio Navas, the creative, the ad man, the crier of a single tear, the rider of wooden horses.
Why have you decided to head back to the States? Where are you headed to?
I have a theory and that perhaps one day it could be proven by scientists way smarter than me, and that is that time travels exponentially faster anywhere south of Dargaville. After three and a half magical years here in New Zealand (time that I can’ t account for) I have decided to head back to New York City, the city that has seen me grow. They say that one goes to NYC to be forgiven, but perhaps that type of forgiveness can play a role in advertising?
Since you arrived the agency has performed really well. What were some of the highlights for you since being here?
The agency is strong and it is completely being held by the muscle of its people, probably the toughest and craftiest individuals I have ever met.
There have been many highlights along the way. From plumbing houses with beer, to making a whole country sing to the tune of Giganaire, to defying the status quo by lowering bank rates in Facebook, to introducing future recruits to the unknown world of the Navy, to even dressing an unknown out-of-work actor in a white suit and making him cry.
What has been your favourite campaign to work on. Why?
It is very hard to single out one favorite thing I’ve been involved since I‘ve been here. If you hung me upside down from the Sky Tower and made me tell you, though, I’d probably have to say that the most recent elections campaign has been particularly important for me. To be able to spend two full days with such a diverse group of New Zealanders, talking about life and to really observe, was an amazing crash course on everything that matters to New Zealanders.
Looking back, how does Kiwi agency life compare to the other countries that you've worked in?
The big difference between a Kiwi agency and other agencies I’ve worked in is the 'nothing is impossible' spirit. Just get it done and just like that, it’s done.
How important is creativity to your life? What feeds your creativity?
Creativity has always played a super important role in my life. It is the air I breathe and is what makes me happy. Music, art, films, books - it all feeds my soul. I wouldn’t know what to do without it.
If you had to give one piece of advice to Corey and Guy what would it be?
To Guy and Corey - if I had one piece of advice to give them it would be to follow the instructions to 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy'. All the important answers are there, including those most people are afraid to ask. Like where to get a “Heart of Gold” with a stunning good looks mirror.