Former colleagues of longtime McCann Erickson leader Marcio Moreira remembered him today as a loyal and sensitive creative force who brought an international joie de vivre to the U.S.-based global agency.
Moreira, a 44-year veteran of McCann who started as a film projectionist at the agency’s Sao Paulo office and rose to vice chairman of McCann Worldgroup before retiring in 2011, died Wednesday of complications from heart surgery in Boston. He was 66.
Moreira held many roles at McCann and its group of specialist agencies—a tenure that was interrupted just once by a year in marketing at Columbia Pictures in the late 1980s.
The Brazilian served as creative director for Latin America, regional director of the Asia-Pacific region, worldwide chief creative officer and chief talent officer, and, along the way, worked at offices in Lisbon, London, Copenhagen, Frankfurt and New York. Accordingly, he embodied McCann’s drive to become one of the biggest global players in advertising.
In a joint email to McCann staffers, CEO Harris Diamond and global president Luca Lindner described Moreira as a “true giant in the history of McCann” whose name has become “synonymous with global creativity.” But to those who worked with him, his personal qualities and creative passions stood out most.
“He was hugely creative and hugely sensitive at the same time,” said former Worldgroup CEO John Dooner. “His creativity was not just in the world of advertising, but [also] in the world of music, where he composed and produced jazz albums. He was an incredible chef and, at the same time, a prolific writer. So, his sensitivities, his emotional sensitivities—which you always saw—and his softness shined through all his creative avenues that he excelled in and he excelled in all of them. And that’s magical.”
Dooner added that Moreira had a “great joy of life,” explaining that he “understood, appreciated the finer things.”
To Phil Geier, former CEO of McCann parent company Interpublic Group, Moreira was gifted at the art of persuasion—a skill that served him well inside the halls of McCann.
"He was more than a creative person, he was a people person. He knew how to handle people. You need that anyway when you're managing creative people, but he also was able to do that with others as well," Geier said. "He had the skill to get people to bend and agree. And that was special."
In addition, Moreira was exceptionally loyal—not only to his agency and Interpublic—but also to global clients like Coca-Cola, Nestlé, Unilever and General Motors. And quite often, business relationships became simply friendships.
With Coke in particular, Moreira was “omnipresent in Atlanta and he constantly had those people’s interests in mind,” said Gunnar Wilmot, former head of global accounts at Worldgroup.
Inside McCann, Moreira developed strong bonds as well, especially among creative staffers because he “had their back,” Wilmot said. “He was very popular and beloved person in the company, particularly outside of the United States.”
More broadly, former Worldgroup worldwide account director Peter McGuinness saw Moreira, whom he knew for more than 20 years, as one of the “greatest talents and personalities” in advertising.
“Marcio was a creative and curious soul with great wisdom, generosity and courage,” McGuinness said simply. “He will be missed.”