Saatchi & Saatchi’s creative stocks replenished as Antonio Navas takes up ECD role

Saatchi & Saatchi has been in a state of creative flux since executive creative director Dylan Harrison decided to head to Australia after less than a year in the role. While the search for a replacement was undertaken, Jeremy Taine was brought in as a part-timer to guide the agency’s creative output. But there’s no need for that anymore, because they’ve found their man: Venezuelan-born Antonio Navas, who comes to New Zealand from a role as executive creative director at Ogilvy and Mather New York. Navas has worked there for the last four years with clients including Coca Cola, Stolichnaya, Kodak, Motorola, Dove and Puerto Rico Tourism and prior to this he worked at Goodby Silverstein and Partners, Amster Yard, FCB in San Francisco and BBDO New York on big global brands like HP, Haagen Daaz, Levis, Mazda, Pepsi Cola, Polaroid, Stella Artois, Bacardi and Sol Beer. As you’d expect, he has also collected a cabinet full of awards from Cannes, Art Directors Club, London International Awards, CA, AICP, AAF and CLIO.

Youtube VideoLast year, Navas achieved global acclaim with the video of the theme song for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Waka Waka: This Time for Africa, performed by Shakira. The video remains the third most viewed YouTube video of all time, with over 327,388,000 hits.

Saatchi & Saatchi New Zealand chief executive Nicky Bell says Navas’ appointment is the result of a lengthy national and international search.

“Antonio understands how creative thinking can change businesses and brands and has proven this across different cultures. And he is a genuine catalyst in a creative environment. Having experienced this first hand while working together in New York, I really admire the way he does this. And, quite frankly, he’s one of the good guys. I’m really excited he’s bringing that talent to Saatchi & Saatchi and the New Zealand creative community.”

Navas, who starts in early May and will relocate to Auckland with his fiancée, says he has always admired the work that has come out of New Zealand.

“It’s often a little ‘out there’ and feels like it could only come from people that live life with intense optimism and a fresh perspective. I’ve particularly admired Saatchi & Saatchi’s New Zealand creative reputation from afar, so I’m excited to be part of its next incarnation. I’m also happy to be reunited with Nicky as I think we created some incredible work together in New York. The agency team I’ve met feels strong, healthy and dynamic. We’re going to have a lot of fun together.”

Steve Simpson, chief creative officer, North America at Ogilvy & Mather and Navas’ former creative partner at Goodby Silverstein & Partners, says he is “one of the wonderful talents of our business”.

“He has an unerring eye (a good thing in an art director) and unfailing taste (a better thing in a creative director), and has produced some of the most memorable work for some of the world’s most famous brands. He has counted among his friends people like Richard Avedon, Elliott Erwitt, Nadav Kander and has worked with Andreas Gursky and Annie Liebowitz. He has been an outstanding mentor to up and coming talent. He loves his craft, knows brands and is able to carry art into commerce. He is also, quite possibly, the single most considerate person I have met in advertising.”

But the praise doesn’t stop there. Steve Hayden, vice chairman, Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, says Navas is one of those rare talents who combines a superb sense of design with a strategic understanding of brands.

“He brings out the best in everyone around him. During his time at Ogilvy, he improved everything he touched. I can’t wait to see what he does in New Zealand.”


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