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Why creatives need to question everything

The mantra ‘question everything’ is perhaps the very soul of creativity, and the quintessential essence behind your greatest breakthroughs


In this backstage chat, the CMO of Hyundai Motor America Angela Zepeda, and VP Comms at Disney Tori Fernandes discuss how embodying this mindset led to an unprecedented collaboration, delivering unrivaled results that continue to drive Hyundai from challenger brand to industry leader.

What message do you want the audience to act on?

Tori Fernandes: Be bold, take risks, and really reimagine your ideas and projects before they get off the blocks.

What should the ad industry worry about?

Angela Zepeda: There’s a lot of disruption happening again, and brands need to think about where they should put most of their efforts. There’s incredible technology at play and platforms coming out but at the end of the day it’s how you can connect with your customers in an authentic way with the most storytelling. So sometimes it’s more about editing and making decisions of where to be other than being everywhere. I think that’s one of the things about the industry that makes it very complex. It’s a challenge more than a thing to worry about but it’s important for brands to figure it out.

How do you measure the impact of questioning everything on Hyundai’s performance?

Angela: We have a lot of measurement that we look at against everything, but on this campaign we wanted to see demand metrics rise. So that was things like search, visits to website, how people were shopping for our car. Those are high action types of metrics that show that people are interested in the car. But we also look at longer-term metrics like our brand metrics.

There was low on Hyundai Tucson when we started the campaign. We wanted to see awareness grow and the opinion of the car get bigger and those were things we looked at over time.

Earlier this year, Tori tweeted: “Lies have speed but truth has endurance.” How do you base truth in how you talk to Disney’s customers?

Tori: The key in speaking truth is being authentic. Making sure you come from a place of vulnerability. People can see through talking points and lies. Trust your brand’s voice. Trust the trust consumers have in your company. Disney has a lot of brand equity, so our die-hard fans know when we’re not being truthful to them.

What is the biggest challenge to creativity in the next couple of years?

Angela: The biggest challenge is doing breakthrough work and keeping up with the volume that we all need to produce. The quality may suffer with the quantity because need to be always producing. We need to get that right.

What is your definition of creativity?

Tori: Being creative is being yourself, being bold, taking risks, and being vulnerable. Part of my job is asking a lot of questions. People are afraid to ask questions, but I will not let you leave my office until I really understand It. It’s about getting to know things a bit more and not being afraid to ask those tough questions. I think that will take you to the next side of creativity.

As the official Canadian representative of Cannes Lions, the world’s most prestigious and coveted advertising and marketing awards, The Globe and Mail will provide insights, ideas, and takeaways from panels and keynotes over the next five days.

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