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Creative Leadership @Meta

When I joined Facebook's Creative Shop in 2014, the platform had just launched mobile video ads. My task was to turn Facebook into a rich creative platform that drove a ton of value for advertisers through mobile ads people loved. Partnering with creative agencies, CMOs, media planners and Facebook product teams, I led the development of award-winning mobile ad creative and strategy that delighted people, delivered great results for businesses, and transformed the advertising landscape.

On a platform where every ad is skippable, how do you earn people's attention? To build the foundation of the mobile video economy, we spent considerable time and effort understanding our audiences. Can we earn attention by giving people more of what they want? What do they love to watch? How do they express themselves? Are there groups and subgroups of people we didn't even know existed? As a creative leader, it was my role to support my team as we explored uncharted creative territory.

In this campaign for Tecate, we looked at the online behavior of young, Latinx men in America. It was clear that they had different ideas about masculinity than their parents' generation. More interested in macchiatos than machismo, this audience was expressing themselves in totally new ways—like memes and emojis—and talking about their lives differently than previous generations. Building on this behavior, we created a campaign that celebrated unique new ways of self-expression, and exaggerated that expression into absurd and entertaining short video. As we learned so often in those early days, understanding your audience and building something just for them led to great results for everyone.

Another lever we pulled to delight people was personalization at scale. We built industry-leading campaigns and creative strategy that leaned into the wide variety of interests and passions people were exploring on Facebook. We devised modular creative structures that could support the creation of thousands of video ads, each one built to resonate with people based on what they've expressed interest in. This groundbreaking approach paved the way for the future of relevance-driven mobile ads. Working closely with Saatchi LA, I framed the creative opportunity for collaboration: our creative framework and their production expertise combined for a seminal mobile ad campaign.

It's hard to imagine, but at some point ads on Instagram were not a thing (what did we do with all of our expendable income?). In 2015 Instagram ads launched, and we partnered with lots of enthusiastic brands and agencies to build work that captured attention and delivered delight.

In partnership with Disney, we prepared to launch the re-boot of the Star Wars franchise with Instagram ads. Before we got started, we looked into platform data and discovered something surprising: on May the 4th of that year, more women were talking about Star Wars than men. Investigating the interests of early 30's women on Instagram, they loved fashion and design images more than any other category. Looking at the art direction and design of the upcoming film, we noticed a really strong overlap between the visual language of the film and the styles on Fashion Week runways—why not hire a fashion photographer to capture the costume design of the film? We hired photographer Julia Noni to photograph the costumes just as she would any other fashion brand, and created one of the most successful Instagram ad campaigns of the year.

Live video on Facebook quickly became more than just an in-the-moment broadcast channel. Viewers and creators cleverly misused Facebook's reaction buttons, giving people an opportunity to shape the content they watched in real-time by assigning actions to each reaction button. We rolled with this organic behavior and devised creative structures for brands so that they could reward their audience with Live content that could be written and directed by the viewers themselves. We partnered with Lexus and their fans to customize a car in real-time, with input from viewers shaping the customization.

The more time I spent with creative teams and advertisers, the more I realized how big of a shift we were making in the industry. In a mobile world in which every action was measurable, we could build much more resonant creative for people just by including them in our creative process and observing performance. This approach now extends into work with creators, AR, and emerging platforms: the mobile creative revolution is driven by understanding our audiences and working with them to build great work.

As the creative world evolved to bridge the real and the virtual, I had an opportunity to uncover more creative territory and inspire my team to build more forward-thinking work for clients and internal teams. We built the first-ever mixed reality website to explore the creative potential of the immersive web. Partnering with the internal Quest team, we built an unparalleled web experience that displays the amazing quality of immersive experiences on the web.

We knew that headset experiences could be really powerful, but what about experiences that combine VR and mobile? We partnered with the internal Social Good team to build a cross-platform experience for FEMA that helps people stay safe in case of a house fire. This experience demonstrates the potential of connecting people across devices when they share a common goal. This project was launched through local community groups, to ensure that people that don't own VR headsets could have a chance to participate and keep their households safe.


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