Claudia Murillo
Integrated Creative Director & Brand strategy


Creative Director & Brand strategy advisor with 12 years of experience in the creative industry and several recognitions in festivals such as Cannes Lions, D&AD, London Festival, New York Festival, AIE AP, El Ojo, El Sol, Effie Awards, among others. Bachelor in Graphic Design at the National University of Colombia began her career at the Museum of Modern Art of Bogotá.

In 2005 she studied photography in Caracas and an Art Direction course at the Centro Universitario Belas Artes of São Paulo, Brazil.

In 2006 she was hired by SANCHO BBDO Colombia as junior Graphic Designer where she worked for 8 years reaching the position of Creative Director Total Work. During that period, she created and lead advertising campaigns for brands such as Chevrolet, Pepsico, Frito Lay, Zenú, Alianza Team and El Tiempo Newspaper, getting a notable creative and effective performance of those brands.

Between 2015 and 2017 She worked as Executive Creative Director in JWT Colombia being responsible along with the CCO for the transformation of the creative department. During three years working with the creative team, she developed “The Life Saver Backpack”, “The Last Mask”, “The Breastfeed Mannequin”, “Nike equality signs “, along with some other projects and campaigns that were highly awarded at several creativity festivals.

In the last two years, she has been selected to take part as member of the panel jury of the Young Lions competition in Colombia in 2016, part of the design jury at New York festival 2017, president of the social responsibility at FICE 2017, and part of the promo and activation jury at Cannes Lions Creativity festival 2017.

Ending 2017 , she decided to leave JWT to dedicate herself to develop her own ventures and also to work as independent strategic advisor of emerging brands, ecoEproducts, social innovation projects and non-profit organizations.

Currently, she is collaborating with academia seeking to strengthen ties between the innovation and entrepreneurial academy programs and the creative industry, and also committed with initiatives to promote the leadership of creative women.

– You started your career at the Museum of Modern Art in Bogotá. What was your job there? What did you do?
I did my bachelor in graphic design. However, my thesis had an artistic approach, so it opened me the doors in the Museum. My job there, was to come up with the visual concept of every exhibition held during the year and developing all the graphic material involved. It was quite a lot of work and responsibility for a person of my age but It was a nice moment in my life because I got the opportunity to meet many Colombian artists and work hand in hand with some of them. Then, my family moved to different countries in Latin-America, so I decided to take advantage of this and travelled first to Venezuela to study with a photographer recommended by one of those artists, and then to Brazil to study some Portuguese and attend a short course of Art Direction. I have always been crazy for learning new things.  In fact, I did the first year of Art Therapy during my time in BBDO and I will be happy if I have the chance to finish that degree someday.
– How did you end up working in an advertising agency?
I know there were so many people in my generation which certainly had a crush on advertising and wanted so hard to work in an agency. However, it wasn’t necessarily my case. As a designer and photographer, I hoped to get the opportunity to work in an environment related to design, photography and creativity: When I was back in Colombia I applied to different jobs into the local creative industry. Luckily I got hired by the two senior creative directors that a few months later became the leaders of the creative department of BBDO Colombia. Two guys that trusted me and taught me how to handle talent and, above all, gave me space to develop my skills. I will always be grateful to them and happy about working in a company with such a leadership and people oriented culture.
My big crushes in advertising started soon after that. When I earned the opportunity to go to Cannes for the very first time. That year, the same that Alex Bogusky was leaving the industry, I discovered him and David Droga. I remember also that I asked Leandro Raposo for a picture when I met him in the street! Each of these three guys became sort of an inspiration for me: the first two were so talented and brave in their own style, the last one such a storyteller.  Then, I started my crush with agencies that were doing really disruptive work, especially RGA. In fact, this one became like an obsession for me, I must confess that “Connected by Design” from Barry Wacksman is still a reference for me, it really drove my mind into innovation. 
-You have been on the jury for many awards. What do you think makes a campaign award-worthy? What do you look for in campaign when you are judging?
I have been long enough in advertising to develop different tastes about what I like to see. As a designer I love to see when brands use design to come up with clever communication solutions, a good example for that is Ikea which has always been one of my favourite brands. I also enjoy when brands make me laugh about myself or even about them. I love to see when a brand dares to give freedom to the consumer or local agencies to create with them but at the same time, there’s a strategic consistency behind every single project. What I love the most, either as a jury or as a consumer, is solutions that get to challenge the boundaries of what is considered advertising or pieces that bring a real and brave brand statement that challenges the business assumptions, especially those terrible cultural misconceptions that our industry has helped to create.
-While working in JWT you were involved in many successful campaigns involving social issues like for example, The Breastfeed Mannequin. Can you tell us more about this campaign?
The breastfeed Mannequin was the result of a conviction that we could encourage change. The ambition for change and pioneering ideas of JWT and my CCO at that time and the intelligence of two brilliant creative minds that sadly left the organization in the early stages of the project to go to BBDO. And also the brain, the hands and the commitment of at least ten people including myself, which worked hard to make that campaign come true. As a leader, your work is to believe in something, encourage your team to follow that vision, be able to fish into your team ideas, building from that and sometimes being humble to work without expecting much in return. At least, that’s how I see it.
-Do you think advertising has the power to change people’s lives? And do you think creative and brands are paying more attention now to social and environmental issues than they did before?
I definitely think that creativity and communication are powerful tools. Advertising has helped to shape most of our imaginaries and ambitions, some of them terrible unequal. I do believe that redesigning purposes is the key to use that power in a more conscious way. During the history of advertising and in the most recent years there have been moments when popular culture has encouraged brands to promote better human values and now, some of them are working in developing better products given the imminent challenges that global warming proposes.
Brands need to change from just good for the business to good for the planet and good for the business, advertising agencies should be facilitators of that change. With that position, they will be able to do a really valuable change in people’s life.
-Have you thought about what you want your legacy to be? Or how would you like people to remember you?
Well, I’m in my 30’s and some lucky days, I still look like 25! I’m a woman that had to survive some hard battles in her life, but I do not have enough wrinkles to dare myself to talk about Legacy. However, leaving my comfort zone and deciding to travel to nurture myself helped me realize I do still have lots to learn and opportunities that await to build and drive “things that matter” as the creator of Toms said in the title of his book. Today, we are at a point in history in which is not just about making consumers life easy but to make it meaningful and collaborate actively building a sustainable future for all. So, I dare to say that more than an idea of a legacy we as creatives aren’t perfect but we are unique. Our best superpower relies on our ability to share that uniqueness, be always ready to learn and reinvent ourselves. Finally and more important,  be humble and smart enough to accept our own boundaries and prepare ourselves to collaborate with others in the challenging and urgent task of redesigning this world for the better.
-Any favourite quote, slogan or motto?
Well, I have many, but recently I heard one phrase of an amazing woman that I really admire:
“Everyone has power. But it doesn’t help if you don’t use it.” Silvia Earle.
Gerety Awards

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