Lucia Mendoza

Head of Innovation & Design, Dentsu Creative, Mexico

Dear Young Creative,

When I first started in advertising, I looked at the people who became judges at Cannes Lions and didn’t even consider the possibility of one day being there. I thought that to have a seat at the table, you needed luck and nothing else.

I soon realized that I was wrong, and although it does take a bit of luck, I think what really gets you there is creativity. By this, I’m not talking about the big ideas that win awards and that everyone celebrates for a year. I am referring to the creativity of every day, every minute, the type of creativity that is fed by curiosity to find a new solution and a new way of looking at what’s in front of us. That creativity that encourages you to wonder if there is a better way to do something; creativity charged with a passion that encourages you to say your ideas in front of everyone and makes you forget about anything else. This type of creativity gives you the strength and will to understand people and do something good for all of them, in all the different ways possible.

I feel great excitement to be a Cannes Lions awarding jury this year. I am honored and grateful for this recognition. Since the opportunity was presented to me, I have been reflecting on the great work that we do in the creative world. Thinking about what separates good from great work, the work that creates culture, that is bold enough to explore uncharted territory, the type that makes a real and lasting difference for people.  When it comes to creativity my approach is to always put people at the center. I think about how ideas can help people in their daily lives. This can be for entertaining, inspiring, providing service or even offering an opportunity. It’s about creating something that can have a positive impact for people in their own context. As marketers, we have an important role in the world: helping brands create meaningful ideas and connect consumers with their most valued desires and needs. To achieve this, the key is to have empathy; we must always make sure that we are putting ourselves in other people’s shoes and stay present for the moment that society is living in. 

To say that advertising can create change in the world can sound like a big thought or ambition, but it is possible. It depends on how much a brand or a creative believes in their ideas and the impact it can have.  The creative industry is competitive, and we are constantly comparing ourselves to those next to us, using them as a benchmark, when the only benchmark should be ourselves. At the end of the day, what has helped me get to this point is the support of others. Sharing my knowledge and working with other great creatives that have supported me is the reason I am in this position in the first place. So, I leave you with 4 pieces of advice that have helped me throughout my career:


Always listen before you say anything. Listen to whomever you have in front of you, across, next door, above or below. Listen to those who might be different than you and make sure you pay attention to that person who you never thought you would want to listen to. This skill will allow you to gain a different perspective and might change your opinion on things before moving forward.

Believe in your ideas.

Imposter syndrome is real. To be a successful creative, you need to be able to believe in your ideas and in yourself without judgement. Believe that your next idea can be even better than the first.

Ask for help.

When you don’t know if you’re doing something right, ask for help. When you don’t know if this is the right place you should be in, ask for help. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or question the moment that you’re living in. Someone else might have the answer or be there for you to discover what it is you truly want.

Feed your brain.

Don't stop studying or expanding on your knowledge. Don't stop asking questions, keep looking for an answer. Continue exploring, make sure you are meeting new people and getting out of your comfort zone. Travel, see new places, explore new sites. Read new books that you never thought you would want to read. Listen to podcasts that you never thought you would want to listen to. Creativity applies to any profession; therefore, you must keep feeding your curiosity and you might discover your true passions along the way.


Lucia Mendoza