3 More Senior Leaders From David Miami Make the Move to Gut

Ricardo Casal, Juan Javier Peña Plaza and Carmen Rodriguez have all joined the Miami startup

From left: Juan Javier Peña Plaza, Carmen Rodriguez and Ricardo Casal. The trio officially joined Gut, the latest battle in the talent war between the agency and David Miami.
Gut

Gut, the independent agency founded by Anselmo Ramos and Gaston Bigio, has hired three more senior leaders from David Miami, the agency Ramos and Bigio helped co-found in 2011.

Two of Ogilvy-backed David’s most awarded creatives, Ricardo Casal and Juan Javier Peña Plaza, are joining as partners and executive creative directors three months after revealing that they left David during the Cannes Lions. Additionally, Carmen Rodriguez, David’s head of account management, is joining Gut as a partner and its first chief client officer.

“Gaston and I are very happy to have Ricky, Juan and Carmen join Gut,” Ramos said. “They are part of our dream agency, and we believe that, together, we’re better and we’re going to generate great work.”

The latest moves come as Gut continues its spree of recruiting several David leaders, including Paulo Fogaca, Ignacio Ferioli and Joaquín Cubria. Fogaca joined as Gut’s chief operating officer, while Ferioli and Cubria became partners and chief creative officers in Gut’s Buenos Aires office.

“Stefan Sagmeister (of Sagmeister & Walsh) said that cycles in the creative world last seven years,” said Casal. “In our case, we wanted to refresh our careers, and we felt like the cycle at David had finished in the best way possible. We learned most of the things in our careers at David.”

All told, the Ecuadorian creative duo that started at David in 2012 in Buenos Aires before moving to Miami in 2014 amassed a staggering 67 Cannes Lions. They developed ideas including Burger King’s “Whopper Neutrality” and the Grand Prix-winning “Google Home of the Whopper,” which hacked Google Home devices to promote the chain’s signature sandwich.

Additionally, this year, Casal and Peña Plaza led the teams responsible for three Super Bowl ads, all for different clients: Budweiser, Burger King and Kraft-Heinz frozen meal brand Devour.

Another component in their decision to leave was, according to Peña Plaza, the feeling of getting a little too comfortable in their roles, even though they continued on an upward career arc at David. (The duo had been promoted to the associate creative director level in 2017 and then vaulted to executive creative directors in 2018.)

“We accomplished a lot of things we never even dreamed of accomplishing,” he said. “We reached a stage where we wanted a new challenge and [to get out of] a comfort zone. With an independent agency, you have much more responsibility from a creative and business standpoint, and we wanted to grow in that area.”

Rodriguez spent a year and a half at David and previously held roles as an account director at F/Nazca Saatchi & Saatchi, DM9DDB and Brazilian agency Africa over a period of 11 years. In her mind, one of the bigger draws of moving from David to Gut was a sense of familiarity and camaraderie.

“Working with people you love makes it even more exciting,” said Rodriguez. “That was a huge driver, but also [looking at] the Gut project and what it means to the industry and to us was also very appealing. It has a huge future with endless possibilities.”

Despite the move across the city to the upstart indie, both Casal and Peña Plaza were complimentary toward the agency that helped build their reputations.

“Most of the things that we know about this career we learned at David,” Casal said. “We couldn’t be more grateful, thankful and happy with what we did there, but we felt that we needed to move on.”

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