Fede Garcia| The Innovator 25 North America 2022

Fede Garcia

Global Chief Creative Officer

New York

“In PR, innovation is the ability to break new frontiers, to take a step into the unknown, to cross the line between what has been done and what hasn’t.”

After 25 years in the ad industry, Fede Garcia found a new kind of home at BCW, which he joined in 2021 as the agency’s first global chief creative officer. In the relatively short time since, Garcia has been behind conversation-changing campaigns aimed at stopping gun violence, crafted with the kind of high-impact earned-first creative that doesn’t come out of advertising shops. Among Garcia’s most notable efforts: Joaquin’s First School Shooting, a children’s book to explain gun violence to “childless politicians.” Patricia Oliver, whose son Joaquin was killed in the Parkland school shooting (and founded the organization Change the Ref), delivered copies of the book to Capitol Hill, encouraging legislators to read the book aloud on the congressional floor. US Rep. Katherine Clark, a Massachusetts Democrat, did so. Less than a year later, Garcia and his team targeted another audience – gun owners – with War Stories, a multi-faceted campaign created in partnership with the organization Brady that positions assault weapons as weapons of war. Since its April 2023 launch, War Stories has earned 346m+ impressions, and was featured in a live video and commentary on CNN’s Inside Politics.

How do you define innovation?
In PR, innovation, to me, is the ability to break new frontiers, to take a step into the unknown, to cross the line between what has been done and what hasn't. It's taking a leap of faith into uncharted territories, pushing boundaries, limits, and frontiers, forward.

What is the most innovative PR or marketing initiative you've seen over the past 12 months?
'Mammoth Meatballs' for Vow, made by Wunderman Thompson.

In your opinion, which brands and/or agencies are most innovative in their approach to PR and marketing?
When it comes to agencies, I'd have to say GUT and Grey Argentina. And then, it's not necessarily a brand but an NGO: Change The Ref.

Describe a moment in your career that you would consider to be innovative.
When I took a leap of faith and left the comforts of working in my hometown, Buenos Aires, and took a job in the (quite literally) other side of the world: Tokyo.

How do you get out of a creativity rut?
Get out of your house, the office, the city, the country. Change scenarios. Go for a walk, run, a drive, a motorcycle ride. Put yourself in a different headspace. Focus on something else completely. Read a book, or watch a TV show, or a movie. Something completely unrelated. Unconsciously, the brain will do its job and unstuck itself. You just need to let it breathe.

What advice would you give to the PR industry around embracing innovation?
To not think of innovation as a tech issue. To think of innovation as a new way to get brands and clients to where they need to go. Sometimes it could be something as simple as changing the way we approach our projects, by casting our teams differently, by bringing in different talents and abilities.

What would you be doing if you weren't doing your current job?
Probably teaching. If I couldn't do what I love to do, I'd probably be talking about it.

Which book/movie/TV show/podcast/playlist/other cultural source has provided inspiration over the past year?
The Bear. The Offer. Murders in the Building. Succession. Billions. Ted Lasso, of course. I believe that what we do is essentially storytelling, and great storytelling is what inspires me the most these days.

How can the PR and communications industry harness innovation to make more progress on diversity, equity and inclusion?
I think that what the PR industry needs the most is, above all things, diversity of thinking. So I believe that it should go the other way. We should harness the power of diversity, equity and inclusion to become a more innovative industry.