Today, global creative independent agency GUT announces it has named North America ECDs Ricardo Casal and Juan Javier Peña Plaza to become Chief Creative Officers, overseeing the agency’s offices and six ECDs in Miami, Toronto and Los Angeles, effective immediately. The pair will continue in their role as Global Partners for the GUT Network. Their promotion signals the company’s growth within its creative departments across GUT’s U.S. and Canadian offices, as well as highlights how the agency is continuing to elevate its creative efforts for its clients globally.
“You don’t get any more ad nerd than this duo. Ricky and Juan are so passionate about creativity that one of their hobbies is advertising,” said Anselmo Ramos, GUT’s Co-Founder & Creative Chairman. “They’re also the experts of proactivity, constantly thinking about our clients’ brands and how we can help them constantly be part of pop culture. When I step back and see how long I’ve known them for, and how much they’ve grown over the years, I’m so proud to see them become Chief Creative Officers and all that they’ve accomplished in such a short time here at GUT. Their promotion is directly connected to the growth of our agency and Network because it’s about scale – with almost 500 people and us heading into our fifth year, it was natural for Gaston and I to promote them to this important senior position as it solidifies our commitment to creativity, and helps our gutsies grow, learn and thrive across the U.S. and in Canada, as well as support our clients both locally and globally. They have been part of many of my and Gaston’s career firsts, so I’m looking forward to watching them and their department thrive in this new exciting phase at GUT.”
Since the pair joined GUT in 2019, they have held a key role within the Network, helping with the overall growth of the offices, as well as overseeing GUT’s Creative Board, working closely together with all GUT Partners and ECDs to select, improve, and expand the best ideas of the six offices for all clients globally. They also have been integral to the agency’s biggest achievements alongside its Founders and Partners. This has included growing GUT’s HQ Miami office from 10 people back in 2019 when they joined, to over 100 today, with the Creative Department growing from 5 to 61 across the U.S. and Canada; supporting the agency’s new business efforts alongside Managing Director, Global Chief Client Officer and Partner Carmen Rodriguez, working with new clients in Miami, including SPANX, GUT Miami’s first fashion brand, and Visible by Verizon, the agency’s first telecommunications brand in the U.S. and AOR for the Content Department, which Casal oversees, and more. And they are responsible for building the team and clients in the agency’s newest office in LA that opened on its 4-year anniversary this year on April 9th, with Casal supporting its leadership team.
“We know that culturally-relevant work is what drives brands’ businesses, so in order to help our clients, we want to continue working for our ECDs and creative teams across our U.S. and Canadian offices to help make GUT a great place for them to work and thrive,” said Casal. “Becoming CCOs allows for even more growth for our team and shows the strength of the agency because it helps us further support our U.S. and Canadian offices as a region. After more than 10 years working alongside the Founders and Global Partners, we’re honored to take on this great responsibility, supporting our teams and also learning a lot along the way, especially from Joaco and Nacho, who we always looked up to and learned from throughout our careers.” (Joaquin Cubria and Ignacio Ferioli are GUT’s CCOs and Global Partners.)
For GUT Toronto, the office Peña Plaza also works closely with, the pair also helped open it in 2021 in the middle of the pandemic completely remotely, and helped it win its first AOR, Tim Hortons. More recently, they also supported the Toronto office in winning GoodLife Fitness as AOR, along with brand relaunch work for K-Y Jelly and global projects for Spin Master’s Rubik’s Cube.
“We are on an on-going journey to make GUT the most diverse, creative and influential agency network in the world, and you can only get there when DE&I is at the core,” said Peña Plaza. “Part of how we’re doing this is to continue hiring and supporting our diverse team across departments, and working closely with our ECDs and creatives to nurture them in an environment where we offer the support they need to make all their brilliant ideas happen. We always say we are just two kids from Ecuador who always loved creativity and advertising, so with the responsibility we have as CCOs, we’re going to further our mission to create a culture at GUT where our people have the space to pursue their own love for creativity, have all their voices heard, and ensure that anyone, from anywhere, is able to create groundbreaking work that shapes culture on a global scale that directly influences our clients’ businesses.”
In addition to Casal and Peña Plaza, GUT Miami has also promoted Dean Paradise and Bruno Mazzotti from Creative Directors to Executive Creative Directors; Andy Tamayo, Alexander Allen, Lauren Cooper and Cara Johnson from Associate Creative Directors to Creative Directors; and Junia Parodi from Creative Manager to Director of Creative Operations. The agency also promoted four people to become its new team of Associate Creative Directors, including: Sofia Rosell, previously Senior Writer; Paulo Damasceno, previously Senior Art Director; Tina Assadpour, previously Senior Copywriter; and Daniel Jaramillo, previously Senior Art Director. GUT Toronto also recently promoted both Sophia Kossoski, previously Senior Art Director, and Laura De Santis, previously Senior Copywriter, to Associate Creative Directors.
Peña Plaza and Casal have been working together for over 10 years as a creative team at agencies including TBWA Buenos Aires and DAVID prior to joining GUT in 2019. As two of the most awarded creatives in the industry, they have won over 200 accolades at top global industry award shows, including at Cannes, D&AD, The One Show, The Effies, The Andys and more, including Grand Prix in almost all of them. The pair were also named the number one and two Copywriter and Art Director duo, respectively, at Cannes Lions. Over the course of their careers, they’ve also been named in Adweek’s Creative 100 as two of the “Creative Directors Who Are Completely Reimagining What’s Possible in Advertising,” as well as in Adweek 50, which honors the behind-the-scenes luminaries most responsible for their company’s success. They were also honored as Business Insider’s Rising Stars of Madison Avenue, as well as named Creatives of the Year by Ad Age’s A-List & Creativity Awards.
At Cannes in 2022, they helped GUT become the #2 Independent Network of the year, the first time the Festival had that category. They also won a Cannes Lion Grand Prix, a D&AD Black Pencil and a One Show Best of Discipline Pencil for GUT Miami’s Google “Real Tone” Super Bowl campaign, which was their sixth Super Bowl spot to date. And at Cannes 2021, GUT won a Grand Prix in its São Paulo office for its Mercado Livre “Feed Parade” campaign, which also won a Gold. For Popeyes, GUT Miami’s “That Look from Popeyes” campaign won a Gold, Silver and Bronze at the Festival as well. Lastly, both GUT Miami and GUT São Paulo were separately named as Cannes Lions Track Independent Agency Of The Year in Reach and in Entertainment, respectively.