Publicis Toronto hires Joanna Monteiro as CCO

Joanna Monteiro, one of the top creatives in Brazil, has joined Publicis Toronto as chief creative officer.

Monteiro was most recently chief creative officer at Heads Propaganda, and spent several years in senior creative posts with FCB before that. Her list of industry accolades is long: 41 Cannes Lions, including a Mobile Grand Prix for Nivea in 2014; serving as jury president for Cannes, D&AD, One Show and Clios; and appearances on multiple “most creative” lists.

Hiring Monteiro is part of Publicis’s plan to “double down on creativity as a driver of our business,” said president Brett McIntosh.

While Canadian candidates were considered for the role, Publicis wanted someone with international experience and perspective, he said.

“We have become very much a North American agency that happens to be based in Toronto—45% of our business is actually out of the U.S. now,” he said. “So when we set out to look for a new creative leader, we wanted one that had a global perspective.”

The agency also wanted someone with a history of “contemporary, experience driven work,” said McIntosh. “That combination of technology, innovation, and storytelling… there’s an experience at the core of the storytelling. It’s not just an ad unit, there’s something that’s been created, and she does that incredibly well.”

It’s the second time in recent months a top Canadian agency has found its new creative lead in South America, after BBDO hired Max Geraldo as CCO in March. Monteiro and Geraldo have been friends for more than 20 years, and Monteiro brought Geraldo to FCB in 2012. The pair worked together as executive creative directors, and later vice-presidents, until 2015.

“There’s a lot of commonality between Brazil and Canada,” said McIntosh. “It’s a market like Canada where they have to get incredibly creative to find ways to produce fantastic work. They’re not sitting on U.S. or U.K.-sized budgets, so they are an incredibly industrious community in Brazil.”

Monteiro started as CCO this week, for now leading the team of 70 creatives from Sao Paolo until she’s permitted to move to Toronto.

She said she was not even considering leaving Brazil when she was approached about a job in New York. “I said, no. I would rather stay in Brazil or go to Toronto.” Why Toronto? “My daughter is living there and she’s in love with the city.”

Personal reasons aside, Monteiro said she’s excited about joining Publicis, working on both Canadian and U.S. brands and doing work that connects with consumers in the digital age. “It is a dialogue. You have to talk, you have to have a conversation… You have to have a point of view,” she said.

“When you have to have a real point of view in something, the chances of being creative is stronger, because you cannot be invisible anymore.”

David Brown