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Sergio Alcocer is president and chief creative officer, of LatinWorks. His progressive vision for multi-cultural marketing has made it one of the hottest creative agencies in the country, resulting in groundbreaking and award-winning work for brands such as Chevrolet, Anheuser-Busch, Mars, Wrigley and Domino’s Pizza.

Before joining LatinWorks, Sergio held positions in Mexico, Venezuela, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic for Leo Burnett and Young & Rubicam. As a creative leader, he's helped LatinWorks win several awards, including five Cannes Lions and served as a judge at the 2011 Cannes International Creativity Festival. While at LatinWorks, Sergio’s most notable achievements include the creation of the number one television commercial for Super Bowl 41 (Bud Light’s “Classroom”) and the second most liked TV spot in the US in 2009, according to Nielsen, (Starburst’s “Llama”).

02.28.12

Seeing Music

Do you have a degree and in what field is it in? I always knew I wasn’t going to have a traditional, tie-wearing, professional job. I received my bachelor’s in political science because my parents wanted a diploma on the wall. I enjoyed my college years without the pressure of worrying what I was going to do afterwards because I started working at an ad agency my second semester of college and never looked back. Years later I completed my EMBA in creative leadership at the Berlin School of Creative Leadership, part of Germany’s Steinbeis University.

What’s the strangest request you've received from a client? There have been so many it’s hard to choose just one. But if I had to pick one it would be when I was working in the Dominican Republic in the 1980s and the owner of a bank asked me to design the obituary for his mom. But his mom was still alive in the hospital, so we didn’t have the exact hour of death for the ad. I was asked to wait in her hospital room until she passed away, so we could finish the ad and run it over to the newspapers for next-day printing.

If you weren’t working as a designer what would you be doing? I’d be an ex punk sensation playing small gigs in Eastern Europe or a Mexican senator.

From where do your best ideas originate? My best ideas originate when I’m listening to music; I find it very visual. I read that David Lynch describes the visual mood he wants to achieve for a scene by playing music (“this scene looks like Schostakovich's Fifteenth Symphony”). I understand exactly where he’s coming from.

How do you overcome a creative block? Experience is the best antidote. The more you do something, the easier it becomes. I’m usually working on multiple projects at a time, so if I get stuck on one thing, I work on something else; when I come back to the original project (usually after some sleep) I see things more clearly. Being tired is the enemy of creativity.

What’s your dream project (not client, but project)? I would say my dream project would be a full rebranding of the Catholic Church.

Do you read creative outlets other than graphic design? Everything can be a creative trigger. Literature, music, dance, comedy, film... and life itself. I’m an avid reader and an obsessive music fan—my vinyl collection is world class. All I do and everything I think about has to do with my passion for creative.

What’s your approach to balancing work and life? I don’t actually have an approach. My passion for life encompasses my passion for my family and my passion for my craft. I can’t separate them. There are not enough hours in a day to live two lives.

What product/gadget can you not live without? My glasses. I can’t see anything without them.

What’s your favorite quote? My favorite quote has to be the best answer I’ve heard to the oldest question: “The meaning of life is to give life meaning.”

Do you have any advice for people just entering the profession? Find a good mentor, work your butt off and don’t worry about making money because it will come if you’re talented, humble and patient.