Innovation in Advertising at DDB Madrid

In January, students from Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis visited the Madrid offices of DDB Worldwide. DDB is part of the global marketing communications giant Omnicom Group and its Madrid team represents one of the most awarded agencies in Spain.

Through a discussion with project manager director, Oscar Coto, students learned about the central pillars of DDB’s work: digitalization and creativity. Coto showed past projects that underline the role of emotion and empathy in generating impactful campaigns. Among the global brands in DDB’s worldwide portfolios, some of the most important clients in Spain include AUDI, BBVA, Seat, Volkswagen, and Telepizza.

Students toured DDB Madrid’s facilities to observe the connection between the agency’s work philosophy and the physical organization of the space. Unlike many other top agencies, DDB has dissolved the use of individual work and static teams, instead creating teams for projects as they arise. Students said that the office felt more like a co-working space than an agency. The dynamic environment is composed of shared tables and desks with no dividers, designed for active collaboration.

The group especially enjoyed discussing examples of DDB’s advertising work. Two campaigns in particular made an impact not only for their content, but also because they represent two of DDB’s top campaigns and lowest budget projects. The first campaign for Netflix, “Spanish Lessons,” used a well-known character from the series Narcos to teach Spanish through a series of easily recognizable words and phrases from the show. It won the FIAP advertising prize in 2017. The second campaign was “Holograms for Freedom,” used to protest in favor of freedom of assembly and freedom of speech outside Madrid’s Congreso de los Diputados. That campaign received sixteen Cannes Lions awards.

In addition to the February visit with Olin Business School students and other visits and workshops with faculty-directed programs throughout the year, DDB Madrid hosted four University of California student interns between 2016 and 2017. The interns contributed to the development of social media content across platforms, attended TV commercial shoots, worked on product placement projects, and conducted research related to cultural trends among young children and parents to support clients’ inbound marketing strategies.