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Rafael Rizuto, Dentsu Creative U.S./Hispanic Latam CCO
Dentsu International has hired BBH USA Chief Creative Officer Rafael Rizuto as the chief creative officer of Dentsu Creative in the U.S. and Hispanic Latam.
Along with overseeing the agency’s creative output in those key regions, he will also contribute across creative, customer experience management and media through the agency’s “horizontal creativity” platform that promises holistic creative solutions to clients. (Dentsu Creative’s Hispanic Latam region excludes Brazil.)
Rizuto’s appointment comes on the heels of Dentsu International Global CEO Wendy Clark’s departure, which hit ahead of the company’s restructuring as a single operating unit combining the international group with Dentsu Group’s Japan-based operations.
In June, Dentsu unveiled a massive reorganization that united all of its creative shops, including 360i, McGarryBowen and Isobar, under the banner of Dentsu Creative. That move was spearheaded by Global Chief Creative Officer Fred Levron, who joined the agency from FCB a little over a year ago. In August, Dentsu Creative named Energy BBDO’s Pedro Pérez as the chief creative officer of its Chicago office.
Rizuto arrives with 20 years of experience as a creative leader across markets around the world. He began his career in his native Brazil, later moving to the Middle East where he worked at both Ogilvy and Leo Burnett in Dubai. He returned home to work at Ogilvy Brasil before moving to the U.S., making stops at Pereira O’Dell in San Francisco and then 180 L.A. before opening his own small agency, T.B.D.
Then, in 2020, Publicis agency BBH came calling and brought Rizuto on as chief creative officer. He went on to help lead the agency through a resurgence of creative and business growth. He was part of a leadership team that led the agency to a Standout spot on Ad Age’s A-List this year, with double-digit revenue growth and a client account roster that jumped from two to 11 in 2021.
“It’s incredible the team we built at BBH and it’s an agency I’ll love forever,” Rizuto said. “There’s this cliche with agencies that we need to create an environment where everyone can produce the best work of their lives. I think we should create an environment where people have the best lives so we can create the best work. That’s what we built at BBH.”
Which, Rizuto said, made it hard for him to go. But the challenge that Levron had presented him was too hard to pass up. “There’s a lot of talk in our industry about convergence and capabilities, with creativity kicked to the curb,” he said. “But with Dentsu’s ‘horizontal creativity,’ it’s the artery that runs through everything we do.” Moreover, “I’ve never done anything at this scale, so my gut was telling me this was the right thing.”
Throughout his career, Rizuto has made his mark with unconventional creative ideas that have defied the traditional mold of advertising. Among them were Google’s “Black-Owned Friday” campaign that included a shoppable music video, via BBH. While at 180 L.A. he helped create Boost Mobile’s Cannes Lion Grand Prix-winning “Boost Your Voice” campaign that turned stores into polling places for Election Day, giving underrepresented groups better access to voting, and while at Ogilvy in Brazil, he helped conceive a Hellmann’s campaign that printed recipes on grocery store receipts.
In his new position, he intends to remain as close to the work as possible. “My happiness relies on that, and I’m pretty sure I’ll find campaigns that I can be involved in,” he said. “I’m not that guy who says, ‘Send me the deck before the client meeting the next day.’ I want to be as involved as much as I can.”
“Ultimately, creatives will remember if you helped them create their best work and how you made them feel doing it,” said Levron in a statement. “Rafa is not only a top creative leader, he is also an extraordinarily warm and generous leader. That’s what Dentsu Creative believes the new generation of leaders should be.”
“Rafa has a commitment to understanding clients’ marketing and business challenges as well as multidisciplinary and culturally diverse experience spanning Brazil to the Middle East to the U.S.,” added Jacki Kelley, CEO, Dentsu Americas. ‘This will give our clients an edge, drive new thinking and deliver holistic creative solutions for their businesses.”
Ad Age reached out to BBH for comment on Rizuto’s departure, but the agency did not respond by press time.
In this article:
Ann-Christine Diaz is the Creativity Editor at Ad Age. She has been covering the creative world of advertising and marketing for more than a decade. Outside of the job, she can be found getting in touch with her own creativity.
Dentsu Creative hires BBH's Rafael Rizuto as CCO for U.S. and Hispanic Latam – AdAge.com