Toni Tugores is one of those people whose mind works differently from the rest. He has been in the advertising industry for 20 years, with 13 of them being part of the soul of After because, according to him, “it’s an agency that is constantly moving, and every year it feels like you’re working in a new one.” He has recently been promoted to Creative Director, but he breaks myths and reveals in this AfterTalk that the day-to-day in a creative department is the opposite of what we have seen in Mad Men. Toni admires people who apply creativity in a field unrelated to it, and he has a client that requires him to be fully engaged 24/7: his daughter. We chat with him to get to know him a little better.
Rotation and the advertising agency sector go hand in hand. What does After have that makes you continue to bet on it after 13 years?
It is constantly moving. So much so that every year it feels like I’m working in a new agency.
You have recently been promoted to Creative Director, so will you stay for another decade?
My idea is to be faithful to the company’s motto: “When I see that I can no longer contribute, I will step aside.”
Toni, is a creative person born or made?
Just as we all have a child – and a serial killer – inside us, we also have a creative person. And just like in the first two cases, you just need to give it an excuse to come out.
Are people tired of seeing advertising?
At what point haven’t they been tired?
Let’s twist this around. Which movie could you watch on repeat, and which one puts you to sleep within five minutes?
Honestly, I find it hard to watch anything on repeat. Just as I find it hard to fall asleep within five minutes. But I could spend an entire weekend devouring five seasons of a new TV series. That I could do on repeat.
And speaking of falling asleep, what does a campaign need, creatively, to avoid being boring?
A client, whether it’s a marketing director or brand manager, who is eager to do things differently.
Do all creatives dream of going to the Cannes Festival?
All creatives who are 40 years old (or older).
Now that summer is coming, are you more of a beach or mountain person?
Beach. All year round.
Thirteen years at After can accomplish a lot. If I asked you to choose your best work, the one you are most proud of, the most creative of all, what would it be?
“Alma de África,” a soccer team formed solely by immigrants. We convinced them to replace their names on the jerseys with the racist insults they receive at each match during the last league game.
And is this project you’ve chosen also the one that has had the most impact in the industry?
Not at all. It didn’t even make the shortlist in any festival. But it had the most media impact: besides appearing in all the media outlets in Spain, it ended up in The New York Times, ABC News, Fox…
What is the thin line that separates a correct campaign from a stale creative proposal?
Hmm… I would say it’s the mood of the person who is impacted by that campaign. If it’s a product, insight, or message that doesn’t resonate with them, then it becomes a stale campaign. For that person, I mean.
What is that brand you haven’t worked with and would love to design a creative campaign for?
I would like to work for any brand that competes with one that has rejected us in an unpaid competition.
What does Toni Tugores do when his clients allow him to disconnect?
Actually, there is one client that requires me to be 24/7 with all senses engaged: my daughter.
To give an idea to those who are not in the industry, what is a typical day like in a creative department?
Have you seen the TV series Mad Men? Well, it’s the opposite of that. In fact, completely different.
What is the biggest sin of a creative department?
Believing that the adjective “creative” makes you special.
Can ChatGPT replace the profile of a creative?
I don’t think so. But people who know how to use it can.
When you go to a restaurant, what is the dish you always order?
Meat with potatoes. Unless I’m with a vegan, in which case I also order a salad.
Who is a creative that you admire?
Well, every week I admire a new one. Last week, it was a mechanic from Les Franqueses. This week, it’s a nurse from Hospital Juaneda. I’m amazed by people who apply creativity in a field other than creativity itself.
What book could you read more than once without getting tired of it?
“¿Dónde vamos a bailar esta noche?” by Javier Aznar. In fact, it’s the only book I’ve read twice.
Any advice for future creatives?
I think it should be the other way around: What advice do young creatives give us?
If you were to be born again, would you choose to pursue this career?
I don’t know, honestly. But I would have liked to dedicate myself to this 40 years ago.