The agency was born in January 2000. Argentina has almost always been in the midst of some sort of financial crisis but, without a doubt, the worst has occurred in the past 25 years. We started out as only five people, but we believed and trusted that our family would grow. And we knew that no matter how, where or when we developed, we needed to find an inspiring place to make it happen.
All other agencies where I had previously worked had been located in the centre of the city, and it was customary for the creative directors to send us on two- or three-day trips to the beach, countryside or some other open space to give us the opportunity to relax and think for a few days.
As we often work at weekends in Argentina, the trips sometimes fell on Saturdays or Sundays. I had already been toying with the idea of setting up the agency in a location that was inspiring in and of itself, so that we would be able to think and work every day in an open, outdoor space and take advantage of Buenos Aires’ temperate climate all year long.
At the same time, I felt we needed to develop an agency with enough personality to serve a dual purpose – become a successful hotshop, while simultaneously supporting Saatchi & Saatchi, the global network.
Finding a place to settle into took some time. It had to be spacious enough to allow us to grow, without giving the five of us the impression that we were in a house too big for us to fill. Above all, we needed to find somewhere that inspired us. So we decided to leave the downtown area behind and found ourselves a stable 20 kilometres outside the city near the San Isidro racetrack. This was an area that, 12 years ago, had no offices at all. Homes alternated with stables, horses roamed the streets and the fresh air came with a distinct smell of farmland.
We knew from the start that our entire team had to be creative. Not only the creative department, but the entire company needed to benefit from an inspiring location. We wanted everyone involved in our projects to contribute their talent and creative input. So we got to work and converted the stable into a single-level office with an open courtyard at its centre, surrounded by trees, natural sunlight and the stone patio.
The surrounding offices were the original stable stalls and all opened up to the exterior space, inviting in natural light and the smell of freshly cut grass. The buildings surrounding the central patio created naturally shady nooks and crannies to sit on a bench, get some fresh air, have a maté, eat some lunch with co-workers underneath the trees, get inspired, de-stress and, above all else, spend time with one another. Our now nearly 100-employee team is truly diverse and, when these individuals connect, an incredibly enriching exchange is formed.
We’re exactly where we want to be. However, there’s nowhere in the world big or inspiring enough to allow us to do what we aspire to do every day – to produce ideas that embody the spirit of Saatchi & Saatchi: nothing is impossible.
That’s where La Campana comes into play. It’s an annual ceremony where employees nominate a co-worker who inspires, motivates others and never gives up. We named the ceremony La Campana after the bell that adorns the stable.
Every year, a goldsmith forges the new winner’s name into the bell. The bell summons us all together to chat, share our votes and choose the employee who makes us all feel like nothing is impossible.
Pablo Del Campo is the chief executive of Del Campo Saatchi & Saatchi