My life in advertising: Mauricio Sabogal
27 June 2011
The newly-elected president for world markets at UM and Initiative talks to Josh Colley about his background in research and audience measurement and his move into the creative world of advertising.
When the second Festival of Media LatAm pitches up in Miami this October it promises local and global insights into one of the world’s fastestgrowing regions. One person who can already lay claim to understanding this mix is Mauricio Sabogal, recently appointed to handle UM and Initiative’s activity across emerging markets.
The Colombian’s career began in his home market in 1989, when he landed at data specialist Nielsen. Over the next 10 years, he rose to the position of director of media services for Latin America to handle all the people meters and deployment across the region.
His research background puts him in the perfect place to deal with the demand for accountability. “Before it was easy because it was just simple statistics. Now, you need to specialise in data to deliver analysis. With digital technology you can analyse different single sources and merge data across different geographies.”
Sabogal’s time with Nielsen helped him create a dialogue with media agencies and vendors, which led to him entering the advertising world. In 2000, Mindshare appointed him to run its business across the Andean sub region. Then, three years later, Sabogal went on to set up an OMD division for Latin America. In just two years, he established independent offices in 19 countries to quadruple OMD in size.
Far from being a number-cruncher, Sabogal’s time leading the Worldwide Creativity Council at OMD underlines his credentials in the world of creativity.
Here, he also oversaw one of his proudest moments, with OMD Chile becoming the first Latin American agency to claim the Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions Awards in 2004 for its ‘Star Wars’ campaign for Cristal Beer. Sabogal believes his success is built upon his recognition that local markets require a flexible approach and specific attention. He believes that a common mistake that global industry executives make is a failure to tailor their products.
“When you visit these countries you see that the resources aren’t the same,” he says. “So you have to deliver a product to the client that is similar to established markets but is adapted to the local data, methodologies and talent. The way people think and the availability and flexibility of the media is very different.”
Sabogal now oversees a group of markets that account for almost a third of Mediabrand’s revenue, putting him in a position to aid the global expansion of Latin American thinking.