shots Cannes 2024 Focus
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PJ PEREIRA, CO-FOUNDER AND CREATIVE CHAIRMAN OF PEREIRA & O'DELL, IS A REVERED FIGURE IN THE ADVERTISING INDUSTRY, KNOWN FOR HIS INNOVATIVE STORYTELLING AND IMPACTFUL CAMPAIGNS. A multi-award-winning creative leader, Pereira has earned accolades including Cannes Lions, Clios and an Emmy, marking him as a visionary in modern advertising.

His groundbreaking work on Intel and Toshiba’s The Beauty Inside campaign won an Emmy and set a new standard for branded content, celebrated for its emotional depth and interactive storytelling.

In 2023, PJ was named Chief Creative Officer of the independent agency network, Serviceplan Americas, with his output showcasing his unique talent for blending creativity with technology. In 2023, Pereira released a novel called The Girl From Wudang, about artificial intelligence, martial arts and immortality.

Pereira has continued to push the boundaries of advertising. As an icon and innovator, he discusses his 30-year festival attendance, his envy of Barbie, and his secret Brazilian alter-ego.

What’s your favourite piece of work from the last 12 months?

One of my favorite pieces from the past year is the Apple "Fuzzy Feelings" campaign. I love the craftsmanship and the blend of techniques, but more than anything, it tells a compelling product story through a character that feels naturally integrated.

How long have you been coming to Cannes, and what’s your fondest memory of the festival?

I’ve been attending Cannes for thirty years, every year except during the pandemic. My fondest memory is receiving the call that we had won our third Grand Prix for “The Beauty Inside.” It was an unbelievable moment and a feeling I’ll never forget.

Are awards important?

Awards are incredibly important for two reasons. First, they are the essence of marketing for our industry. If you're in the business of building brands, winning awards is a way to build an agency's brand. Even if you choose not to participate, that decision itself is a statement in your brand-building strategy.

Second, award shows are a discipline. Striving to be one of the best agencies in the world and having your work be competitive sharpens your skills. Even if you don’t win, the attempt to win makes you better.

If there is one thing you could change about the advertising industry, what would it be?

If an alien landed on Earth during the Cannes Festival and tried to understand our society through the ceremonies, they would think we have no problems left to solve—and that's not reality. It concerns me that we're engaging in purpose-washing to win awards without truly contributing to the causes we promote. We need to approach purpose-driven work with more seriousness and a stronger commitment to real results.

Who or what has most influenced your career and why?

The biggest influence on my career has been the generations of interns and young professionals in this industry. They inspire me the most and are the ones I want to spend time with. Many of our interns and young creatives have gone on to start their own agencies or join other firms and win Grand Prix awards. Their naivety and excitement remind me why I joined this industry in the first place. There’s no bigger inspiration than that.

What piece of work makes you think, ‘I wish I’d made that’?

The Barbie Movie is a piece of work I wish I had made. We were among the earliest players in branded entertainment, and seeing one of the biggest movies at the box office being a branded film, done with such flair, makes me wish I had been a part of it. I was President of the Entertainment jury the year the LEGO movie came out, and although they didn’t enter, I wish they had.

Tell us one thing about yourself that most people won’t know...

In Brazil, where I’m from, I'm known as a writer, not as an ad-guy. I have multiple bestsellers and once outsold Paulo Coelho, who wrote "The Alchemist," for a month.


Over the course of this week we will be celebrating some of the people who are at the heart of advertising's creative landscape, those who - whether creatives, directors, producers or other craftspeople - have made a lasting impact on the business.

Alongside specially commissioned portraits, taken by photographer Julian Hanford, we will be asking our subjects about the work they most admire, both new and old, what Cannes means to them, and what they might change about the industry if they could.

This interview series was created with...



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Icons + Innovators. PJ Pereira, Pereira & O'Dellshots