Tiago Bastos: ‘A motivated team is invincible’
Posted on 2024 Jul,05

Get to know of some of the GCC’s best creative leaders through this specially tailored ASKED & ANSWERED questionnaire designed to learn what are top agencies’ creative kitchen made of. They come from diverse horizons. They trace their professional trajectory— where they grew up and how they landed in the GCC. Tiago Bastos, Creative Director, You Experience Dubai explains what caught his heart in Dubai and how magic can happen when diversity and creativity combine.



Where did you grow up?

I'm originally from a super small city in Brazil called Juiz de Fora, with almost 20 years of experience across a wide range of local and global brands. Since a very young age, I was never afraid of changes and adapting is probably one of my strongest suits. As an award-winning creative, I'm proud of my work and even prouder of not being an ass kisser.


What made you pick Dubai?

I wanted to experience working abroad and many opportunities came along quite quickly. New York, London, Amsterdam and Madrid were amongst the options, but I could never live in a cold place especially with heavy snow.

At a certain point, a close friend approached me with an opportunity to work with him at Geometry, now VML. We vibe together pretty nicely and I was super happy there.


How would you explain your job to a taxi driver?

I’m an advertising creative director. That means I’m responsible for creating and presenting campaigns to clients, pitching new accounts to the office, managing deadlines but most importantly, I love to focus my energy on making my team grow and push them out of their comfort zone. I always say: go bold or go home.


What makes Dubai so attractive for creative talents?

Dubai offers the perfect place for any profession. It's a safe city with a great lifestyle and the weather is just perfect. Now, Dubai has shown such a great and open potential for creativity. Reason why is because we're now seeing our work winning many different festivals around the world.


What do you love most about Dubai?

The infinite possibilities of trying something new every opportunity I get. Despite many prejudices out there, I prefer to invest and believe that clients here are looking to be challenged. They want to be on top, the first and the better in everything they do. How not to love that?





How do so many cultures work together to create successful campaigns that speak its own language and fit so many cultures at the same time?

That’s a great question. I would put all my money on the assumption that creatives are all pirates. At the end of the day, we all want to steal people’s attention and hijack traditional platforms, but specially, tabous. We want to break the mold and push society forward. Sure, different backgrounds, from different cultures and countries play a super important role. I was like to tell my team to look for the problem, to find something that pisses them off and after we find the problem we sit together to solve it… Each talent with their own set of skills… A motivated team is invincible.


Do you find it easy to work on campaigns that flex a cultural nuance truly distinct to the region, delivering the kind of hyper relevance that you may have struggled to land in a western homogenized culture?

Honestly, as a Brazilian, I’m more than used to being adaptable and flexible to many types of cultures. In Brazil, people from the south region are completely different from the north. I don’t see any place with homogenized culture, but I’ll admit that in some countries I feel some sort of veil that masks the true reality of things. Here, in the MENA region, it is no different. Something that really caught my heart in Dubai is that mutual feeling of caring and helping each other. We need to talk more about that!





Why you think advertising awards matter so much?

Creativity festivals are important to me because they push harder on creatives all around the world to be the best of the best. The cruel part is relating awards with salaries. It is not a fair game, and we all know that there's a ton of politics behind it.

That said, let’s put that aside for a second, right? What really matters in awards and festivals is that it allows everyone to share their work, learn from others and use that in their own work. The possibility of being close to great names in the industry and potential clients is exciting too.


Your take on this year’s Dubai Lynx?

This year was great. So many great ideas and important conversations took the stage. It’s amazing to see and be part of such a fast transformation of a regional festival like Lynx. Every year is better than the last. Bigger ideas, bigger clients, bigger budgets. As a grand prix winner last year, I want to come back to that stage every time now. LOL :)


The one award every creative or agency wants to win?

The Grand Prix in Cannes for sure but one that always hit me hard is the D&AD Black Pencil. The D&AD Festival is way more selective and harder to win compared to Cannes. As a dreamer, I’ll never quit trying to win one.


Your top three awards...

D&AD, Cannes and One Show.


One of your favorite creative projects that you didn’t work on that was awarded at the Lynx and that you admire?

The one and only Liquid Billboard from Adidas, for sure. Not only because I have lots of friends from Havas that worked on it but because it ticks all the boxes when it comes to awarding such a level of creativity. It’s a beautiful campaign, with such strong regional culture insight.


Could you name a recent project you are proud of and think deserves to be awarded?

That’s a tricky question, huh? But I’d say my latest project that I worked on before I left VML. It’s the STC Baity Battle, a game we created exclusively for Ramadan synced the game with real-time to help gamers remember mealtime. A true problem in the region because gamers usually lose track of time while playing and with that, they also forget to eat during Suhoor or Iftar, right?