Featured Story #22 | Rocknrolla

BPool may have been born in Brazil, but the scenario of the communication industry that gave rise to such innovation is similar all across Latin America. The creative community has been reorganizing and nurturing a rich ecosystem full of talented professionals.

Based in Guatemala, Rocknrolla is one of the agencies that are leading a new era of creative agencies in the region. Founded in 2019, Rocknrolla doesn’t like to follow playbooks. According to the agency, “it’s better to fail than to follow a recipe”.

In this month’s Featured Story, we spoke with Rocknrolla’s founder and CEO, Federico Ahunchain, about the local advertising scene, the agency’s key challenges and the arrival of BPool in the region.

Q: Federico, can you give us a brief overview of the moment the communication industry is going through in Guatemala and Central America at large? Has it changed in the past few years? If so, how?

A: In my opinion, it is happening the same thing that’s going on all over the world. In general, the communication industry never adapted to the actual brand’s needs. Covid made it even more noticeable. They still have big talent structures chained to their computers and monthly payments, they still prioritize commodities like data and media than specialized talent and ideas. They are also charging through shady systems of commissions. In particular, this last special year has promoted the colleagues that were always open to changes, open to move forward and constructing their value proposition around talent and ideas. Luckily, ten years ago we noticed that “the big communication holdings” weren’t trending anymore and now we have a lot of years working and charging for the thing that has more value: innovative thinking.

Q: You’ve had your share of experience in legacy agencies like BBDO and since 2019 you’ve been running Rocknrolla, you own agency. How’s it different from a creative standpoint?

A: I got out of the legacy agencies loop when I stopped believing in them. Facebook already existed, everything had changed, but the advertising agencies that should have lead these changes were the same as they were in the 60s. Everything truly good that I made, I made it in spite of the system, not because of it. It was absurd. That was when I followed my gut and beliefs instead of the “reasonable thing to do” and I walked away from the corner office and decided that I didn’t want to do ads anymore because that was going to be less relevant every day. That was when I founded an idea, I took everything that seemed wrong and did the complete opposite, a new system that incentivized to think in an innovative way to truly help the brands that believe in us. Today, that idea grew and transformed into a group of companies moved by an innovative mindset. Our ROCKNROLLA Group.

Q: BPool is setting foot in Latin American in a very atypical year. In your opinion, what’s BPool’s role in the local and regional communication industry?

A: The first time they contacted us, I thought “this is a megalomaniac madness, I love it”. The way I see it, everything that breaks the status quo and that looks for new ways to solve old problems it’s right and I want to be a part of it.

Q: How has this beginning of relationship between Rocknrolla and BPool been for you?

A: We are still getting to know each other, but like in every promising relationship there is love, empathy, and commitment. I can’t imagine a better beginning.

Q: Last question, you are from Uruguay and have been living in Guatemala for a while now. What are they key cultural components that you have to take into consideration when crafting a creative work?

A: Guatemala or Central America in general, is an amazing place to live in and to work in. Today, 16 after I first got here, I already feel like another Central American. I left behind my yerba mate and I adopted the incredible slow coffee culture. I changed my Uruguayan slang and loved studying the one of every country in the region. Since the beginning, the warmth of people and their ancestral culture full of colours and handcrafted talent made me feel at home. Today, I have no doubt that I belong here.

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