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ARF Brings You Cannes Lions 2015

An Award-Winning, Book-Publishing Black Belt

PJ Pereira, Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer, Pereira & O’Dell.

With a strong background in technology, PJ Pereira started his career as a programmer when he was just 13 years old and self-proclaims that a certain quality of geekiness runs through his veins.

Pereira noted that when he first came to Cannes about twenty years ago, the assumption was that advertisers could simply buy a consumer’s attention. With consumers being bombarded cross-platform, advertisers need to fight harder to stand out. Interestingly, this gives rise to the power of a really good idea and subsequently, good creative that convinces the consumer to spend more time paying attention to a particular product.

There’s a difference between creating an idea and finding the opportunity to release that idea—and that’s where big data can come into play.

It’s clear that Pereira has a knack for finding the right opportunities, having won the 2013 Cannes Lion Cyber Grand Prix for “The Beauty Inside” presented by Intel and Toshiba. In addition to the Cyber Lions Grand Prix for Best Digitally led Integrated Campaign, the charming campaign received a Gold Cyber Lion in copywriting, two Silver Cyber lions for Best Video and Best Community Application, a silver Promo lion in durable goods and a bronze Direct lion in consumer goods.

“For me, it’s less about winning the award and more about the award being an indication of being on the right path.”

When Gayle asked Pereira to tell his story, we learned that his martial arts training allowed him to develop a heightened level of discipline that allows him to enjoy the process of improving.

His passion for writing resulted in him being the best selling fiction author in Brazil and accolades that ask if he is “the Next J.K. Rowling?” after he published a trilogy of books now in negotiations for a movie deal.

Ultimately, he identifies himself as an advertiser, and one with a particular zeal for taking enormously complex problems and understanding how to solve them. He likens this to Martial Arts: “ it’s fun to take on someone bigger than you and find a way to beat them.”

“I take a lot of pleasure on those big, impossible challenges. The more difficult the better.”

Pereira’s prediction for the year ahead is that the idea that every creative brief is going to change the world is turning into cliché. He feels that advertising is not about following trends and that fresh ideas following a creative discipline will begin to reemerge.

Check out more in the video interview, brought to you by The ARF in Cannes Lions 2015.

PJ Pereira has achieved a career-long list that includes over 100 international awards including 4 Grand Prix at Cannes, an Emmy, and has authored a trilogy of books which is now in negotiations for a movie deal. Fast Company recently named Pereira & O’Dell “One of the Most Innovative Companies in Advertising” and the agency ranked among both AdAge and Creativity’s ‘A-Lists’. The agency operates under the mantra “What if advertising were invented today?” which alleviates all distinctions between forms of media as the agency is constantly looking at the tools they are given to tell a story.

He presented a MasterClass at the Cannes Lions Festival: Why Advertising (Alone) Won’t Get You Too Far.

PJ will be speaking at ARF’s event at Facebook Headquarters: How Advertising Works — How Technology Makes It Better.