Axis Speaks profile- Fernando Machado

Creativity has always been the advertising industry’s super-power. Creative thinking changes perceptions, it turns the ordinary into the extraordinary, reflects and informs culture, and creates value where there was none. The 2024 AXIS Awards is an opportunity to celebrate not just the very best ideas advertising has to offer, but also seeks out the work that moves the industry forward.

The awards are to be held on April 11 at Shed10 in Auckland, and prior to the gala evening, Axis Speaks (between 9am and 11am on that day) will feature four notable speakers giving their views on creativity and more.

StopPress will feature each speaker prior to the event. Today we feature Fernando Machado.

Fernando Machado, a visionary global marketer, is the Global Chief Marketing Office, NotCo (USA), a $1.5 billion unicorn startup disrupting food tech with AI. Formerly CMO at Activision Blizzard, he led marketing for iconic gaming titles. With seven years at Restaurant Brands International and 18 at Unilever, he enhanced brands like Burger King and Dove’s ‘Real Beauty Sketches’.

What are your expectations for the AXIS awards and your interactions with the New Zealand advertising community?

I always enjoy the opportunity of connecting with creative communities around the globe. Each country/region offers its own sets of creative nuances and I believe that seeing the diverse angles through which creative teams and marketers tackle briefs helps me become more creative. My contact with the New Zealand advertising community was very close during my Burger King days. I still have very fond memories of developing McWhopper with Y&R New Zealand. And I try to keep tabs with the creative coming from the country. I am looking forward to seeing all that in person and reconnecting with some good friends in Auckland.

Do you have any particular message you hope to convey to the audience at the awards?

Creativity does pay off. These days I think there are lots of people which show skepticism about creativity. I always find that a bit puzzling, but the skepticism is real. I truly believe creativity can be a source of competitive advantage and hopefully I will be able to land that with the audience.

Is there anything specific you’d like to learn about the New Zealand advertising scene or culture before your visit?

I think I know the country relatively well. In fact, I met my wife in Auckland (though she is Aussie). I hope can immerse myself in the latest when it comes to creativity in the country. I am excited about that. 

What are some of the most important qualities of a successful marketer in today’s digital age?

Be curious and be humble. And to master the key things that will probably not change.

How do you balance data-driven decision making with creative thinking?

By turning data into insights and using that to create. Then evaluating the output and trying to do better next time. I don’t just let the number decide things. I use numbers to inform my decisions, not to decide for myself. Marketing is both magic and logic. You need a bit of both.

What are your thoughts on the current state of the advertising industry, both globally and in New Zealand?

I am Brazilian, so I am a hopeless optimistic about things. With that said, I do think there is a lot of skepticism and lack of understanding around creativity in general. 

What advice would you give to young creatives and marketers in New Zealand?

Dare to do things that scare you (and your bosses).

Can you share a story about a time when you took a creative risk in marketing that paid off?

My entire career is based on that. Real Beauty Sketches, McWhopper, Whopper Detour, Moldy Whopper, Burning Stores, Google Home of the Whopper,  Scratch Boards, Vanguards of Photography, We Didn’t Write This Campaign, Not So Happy Animals, Mayo Haters, etc.

For more info and to purchase tickets https://events.humanitix.com/axis-2024

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