Gabriel Araujo | The Innovator 25 2016
GabrielThe Innovator 25:

Gabriel Araujo    

VP/Executive creative director 

Little George & Ketchum   


"I believe the future belongs to the agencies that inject diversity of thought into their people and their process. "


Araujo moved into PR after 15 years in advertising, working with Ketchum to create a full service agency within the Omnicom umbrella called Little George. The firm already rolled out one of the most innovative projects in South America — “Safe Stories. Turning the Page on Zika," the world's first mosquito repellent storybook — an interesting tool in combatting the region's public health crisis. 

Describe what you do.
You know, everybody is thinking in ideas that works only for one or two platforms and are forgetting the main role of the agency, which is think in the idea first to choose the platform later. The highway is beautiful and creatives need to enjoy the ride, work together, and bring light to the worst briefings. I’m transforming something scary in beautiful stuff, through ideas, technology and experience. In the end, the audience will share what they felt, not what we want they sharing.

Where are you from/hometown?
I was born in Ribeirão Preto, a country town in the state of São Paulo - Brazil

Where are you based now?
São Paulo - Brazil

In what area of marketing/PR do you see the most innovation?
Creative storytelling & content — there's a creative need to do things with commitment. A good idea can be love at the first sight. A good idea is natural, it's a necessity, culture and logic touch. Passion is the best currency to make good ideas happen. I can see all these ingredients when we talk about content. Content is changing the way brands communicate with the audience and this is gold for every creative on earth. Innovate through surprise.

How would you describe the communications/PR industry's level of innovation?
Lagging the others. I believe the future belongs to the agencies that inject diversity of thought into their people and their process. We have to be open to whatever happens. It’s exciting to me it's not just about media anymore—it is about innovating and telling unusual, fresh stories all the time. To craft the big ideas we need to support our content, we need to build upon the insights that come from brainstorming and perfect the sort of polishing necessary to take good ideas to the next level. Or we will continue to have great ideas without [the ability to properly execute on them].

What is most important for the PR industry to do to foster more innovation?
New hiring practices/criteria
How do you define innovation?
As I said before, a good idea is love at the first sight. A good idea is natural, it's a necessity that culture, logic, need to touch. Innovate through surprise. Innovation is not about tech, it's about providing a good experience in a different way.

Most innovative PR/comms campaign you've seen in the last 12 months?

What brands and/or agencies are most innovative when it comes to marketing/PR?
I think P&G, Nike and small brands like Saltwater Brewery are doing a great job. When it comes to agencies. I think Ketchum is doing a pretty good job. And I can credit REI and Droga 5 with outstanding work.

Describe a moment in your career that you would consider 'innovative.'
I can describe the last one, when I created "Safe Stories, Turning the Page on Zika." “Safe Stories” is the world’s first repellent storybook. We used nanotechnology to develop this new type of mosquito-repelling product, which contains a natural, baby-safe repellent made of citronella, clove, and neem oils. It took four months of trial and error to convert this formulation into a varnish of microcapsules that could coat book pages – pages that are designed to entertain children while protecting them. The microcapsules are stored in the book pages. And whenever the pages are turned, the repellent is reactivated, creating a six-hour window of protection that extends up to 2 meters from the book itself. Tests show that the book is effective in repelling mosquitos for 3 months from the time a page is first turned, depending on the frequency of use. All of this to make children’s nights safer … and give peace of mind to their parents. I think it's pretty innovative.

Something — not PR/marketing related — that is innovative.
Of course, innovation belongs to everybody. One of our partners an olfactory company just developed a way to have smell into smartphones. I can tell you more in person.

Please give our readers an idea of something that can inspire innovation — this can be a book/movie/podcast/activity/article.
Great ideas are everywhere. If I can provide a tip around it, will be it: Be curious. There is no formula to innovate, it comes from the capacity to understand human behavior and necessities and provide something really useful for each one.

Least favorite time of day?

Most innovative place in the world? This could be a city, a venue, a neighborhood, etc.
Vila Madalena, São Paulo- Brazil. the neighborhood where you can find everything, hippies to geeks, and all the possibilities to feel amazed by something.

I started to work when I was 8 years old to help my mom. I used to sell pizzas in our neighborhood. After that when I was 14, I started to work for a film production company, and day after day I realize that this is something I really love. But not just the production side, but at that time I wanted to know who were the guys behind the idea. and I discovered the amazing world of creative agencies. since then I've been working for agencies all over Brazil and the world.