ORADOR: Edson Athayde
TEMA: O erro da reta

Edson Athayde é o publicitário português mais premiado tendo ganho, entre outros prémios, 7 Leões em Cannes.

Curriculum Vitae:

Born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (18/04/66)
Graduate in Media Studies by the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro

Professional Experience:

Worked as a Copywriter for several Brazilian Agencies from 1985 to 1990

1991 to 1995 – Young & Rubicam Portugal
Creative Director and Vice-President

1995 – Young & Rubicam Iberia (Portugal/Spain)
Creative Director

1996 – Lusomungo Media Group
Managing Director, with special focus on Marketing

1998 to 2003 – Edson Comunicação and FCB Portugal (Simultaneoulsy)
Founder and Creative Director of Edson Comunicação
President and Creative Director of FCB

2005 to 2008 – Ogilvy Portugal
Vice-President and Creative Director

More than 300 creative awards and nominations in local and worldwide festivals, including 7 Lions at Cannes.
In parallel with his Advertising career, Edson writes regular columns for several trade and general interest publications, produces music records and manages bands, writes books (7 published to date), presents TV shows, teaches courses and also worked as a political marketing specialist in several political campaigns.


[ Living like Seneca ]

Seneca said: “First go on, then start.” I read this once, I do not know where, and I decided that this would be more or less what I would do from then on.

In a way, all my professional life is a continuation of the same idea: you can be happy by communicating (whatever the means or way of achieving this is by writing books, managing teams of people or creating ads). It was always like that since my first years as a professional adman. I started too young (first job, copywriter, when I was 18), working in different Brazilian cities, in a country of continental dimensions and very different cultures.

After a few years of traveling, working and learning in Brazil, I decided to continue my life journey in Europe. In 1990 I landed in Portugal and decided that it would be my base. First position: junior copywriter at Young & Rubicam Lisbon. I was 24. A year and a half later, after dozens of local, regional and international awards, including the first two Cannes Lions of Portuguese advertising history, I was promoted to Vice President of the company. At Y&R Lisbon I learnt that I could enjoy people management’s, besides creating ideas. I still do. As a consequence of Y&R Lisbon success, I was promoted the Chief Creative Officer for the Iberian Region (being responsible of Barcelona, Madrid and Lisbon agencies). This period, plus two Cannes Lions and dozens of awards in festivals like Cresta, Eurobest, Epica, Art Director’s Club of Spain, London, New York etc., stressed Y&R positive results. In despite of that, half a year later, an irrefutable invitation to be part of the Portuguese Government appeared.

Position? Adviser to the new Prime Minister (for whom I had created and coordinated the campaign that helped him to be elected). I had to quit Y&R. During this government experience I created and executed a project to relaunch the two public television channels, from visual identity to content and programming strategy. This work attracted attention of the Lusomundo Group, leading Portuguese private media group, owner of several newspapers, magazines and radios in the country. They hired me to work as publisher of their main brands. Two years later, in 1998, Lusomundo became the first client of my first own agency, Edson Comunications.

Edson Communications was inaugurated the same day I assumed FCB Portugal presidency. How this could happen is a funny story, but a long one as well. Two years later, the success of the two parallel projects led to a merge, resulting Edson,FCB. I was President and Chief Creative Officer of one of the five largest agencies in the country. Edson,FCB was elected as the most creative agency worldwide by FCB Network , winning the Fairfax Cone Award 2000/2001, plus a few dozen international awards, including two Cannes Lions. Besides my agency job, I learnt new skills by being television show presenter, university teacher and speaker. I also wrote weekly and monthly columns in major newspapers and magazines and published a few books. In 2002, I sold my stake in the company and took three supposedly sabbatical years.

During my sabbaticals I had plenty of time to go around the world, work as a producer of music CDs and shows, publish new books, coordinate political campaigns and live in Brazil for a short time. In 2005, I accepted an invitation to return to advertising.

I became Vice President and CCO at Ogilvy Portugal. I enjoyed three years helping to restructure the agency from the scratch. Ogilvy Portugal became a profitable company and one of the top creative Ogilvy agencies in Europe. Dozens of new accounts and international awards were earned those years, including a Cannes Gold Lion. Job done! I decided it was time to improve my skills in creating contents. So I dedicate a year to study film and writing.

In the middle of 2008, I moved to Los Angeles to enroll into several film courses for a few months. Once I finished I went to Barcelona to write a book, two plays, a film script and a TV serial.

Since then, I went back to live in Brazil, I went back to work in advertising, I returned from Brazil to Portugal, I came out of advertising again, I published two books and now I’m writing my second novel.

I believe that nothing begins, it always continues. So said Seneca. And I agree with him.

Edson Athayde