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“The most powerful thing we will always have is our intuition”

Returning to Dubai, as a Jury president for Dubai Lynx, Rafael Rizuto discusses his career, creativity, and judging at the awards

Rafael Rizuto, Dentsu Creative’s LATAM & US CCO, discusses his creative journey, taking him to Dubai, and now back, ahead of his judging at the Dubai Lynx next week.

Rizuto will be leading the juries for the Brand Experience & Activation and Creative Commerce awards at Dubai Lynx.

Your creative career began in Dubai in 2007. Can you tell us what took you there, and what brings you back?

It was one of those decisions where I wasn’t in the driver’s seat. I had never left Brazil before. Nor did I have a passport, or speak any English. But the opportunity arose and something inside me told me to go. It was a decision that changed my life.

Nowadays everything tells you to follow the data, to trust the tech. But the most powerful thing we will always have is our intuition.

It’s an honor to go back to Dubai after all these years to chair two of the most interesting categories of the prestigious Dubai Lynx. It feels like a homecoming.

Brand Experience & Activation and Creative Commerce are both hugely important categories within brand building today. What will you be looking for as Jury president?

Simple: work that works. I am also really looking forward to seeing how brands connect with people, whilst taking into consideration all the beautiful regional cultural nuances.

What do you anticipate seeing a lot of in the jury room this year?

A healthy debate about the work. It’s going to be interesting to have a panel of judges from such different backgrounds and cultures analysing the work.

I am also anticipating stimulating discussions about purpose. For me purpose is the reason a brand exists, because marketing is part of it. There’s a bit of confusion about that in our industry right now.

What do you think the rest of the world can learn from creativity in the Middle East? What parallels are there?

Some of the most interesting and exciting work in the world is coming out of the MENA region now. Combining the power of creativity with cultural insights, putting the idea before the execution.

The last one is a curve ball – if you could have a couple of creative greats over for dinner and to have a catch-up, who would they be? What do you think you’d talk about?

Sir John Hegarty and David Ogilvy. I’ve worked at both of their agencies, and I had the privilege to spend time with Hegarty. The creative cultures they have created, that still lives within the walls of their agencies, are incredible.

One of my favorite Hegarty quotes is: “Do interesting things and interesting things will happen to you.”

I also love the words from Ogilvy, which are very timely: “All of our assets go down the elevator at 5:00.”

It shows the value of talent: we are a people business. We should definitely be talking up human intelligence.