We all get that one feeling that should be trusted above all. Most likely felt from the pits of our stomachs and accompanied by a big decision, a gut feeling means something. Whether it’s an innate sense of intuition or another guiding force, it isn’t the sort of thing that can be dismissed or brushed off. This inner feeling helps lead us down certain paths and helps us steer clear of others. When it comes to advertising, this gut feeling can get confused. Most advertising agencies embrace a similar formula and struggle to stray from it. But with a particular focus on gutsy ideas and enthusiastic collaboration, the Gut Agency looks to put this inherent feeling into every project they tackle.
“Gut is advertising made by people who love advertising. A lot of the time, people enter advertising to pursue different passions, but for us we are in it for the advertising,” tells Ariel Abramovici, one-half of the Executive Creative Director duo at Gut.
Together he and Bruno Acanfora have built the Los Angeles branch of the Gut Agency and are looking to change the way people expect to interact with advertisements. Having worked together in advertising for almost 20 years, they rely on risk-taking and honesty to create campaigns. “We want to make things that make people want to not only talk and think about but make them feel something as well,” adds Acanfora.
So far, the duo has helped bring to life ad campaigns like “The Self Love Bouquet” where DoorDash embraced Valentine’s Day by offering a bouquet of flowers that included a sex toy, a Vans winter campaign where giant Vans sneakers walked their way through New York City, and “Call of Duty: Veterans,” the most successful charity race to date–all within the video game itself.
“Bringing two worlds together is sometimes how good ideas happen and when you mix them something unique happens–running a marathon and video game or putting a sex toy in a bouquet,” shares Acanfora. “These clients loved the idea because of the simplicity. We love to tell an idea in one line and if they don’t feel anything, we immediately move to the next idea.”
In addition to their eccentric campaigns, the Gut Agency embraces unconventionality at the beginning of each of their processes. The standard process of acquiring clients and coming up with campaigns usually entails a large team working on a project for around a month and then presenting it to the client’s board of executives when the campaign is finished. But Acanfora explains, “We [Gut] invite them [their clients] to our kitchen, and we start showing them our first thoughts and they see the things that aren’t fully cooked. They start to form an opinion and when we finally present the final idea to them, and they are usually so much happier with the final product.”
From their pitching process to their office culture, Gutsy culture prioritizes people overall. As a self-described “People-first agency,” they prioritize their people first, then their work and clients. Anyone within the company can pitch to the founder–something they feel comes back to their Latino culture. Hailing from Argentina, Abramovici and Acanfora explain that Americans can have “too many filters” and “want people to be more upfront and outspoken in the workplace” especially when collaborating.
“If people are happy then they will have great ideas. If they have great ideas, then clients will be happy. Happiness is the fuel for ideas in our case,” shares Abramovici. “When people feel safe in a space they come up with more gutsy ideas. We have been working in this industry for a long time and we see a lot of colleagues drop out or get burnt out. But we always get our sanity from being happy in the workplace and encourage our people to feel the same way.”
Above all the honest office culture is rooted in the pair’s friendship. Abramovici and Acanfora first met in Argentina at the very first advertising agency they worked in. It was 2005 and they were only 20. It was an instant connection. They clicked both personally and professionally–an immediately, inseparable team. Within this partnership, they followed opportunities from Argentina to Chicago, then New York, until finally coming to the West Coast with Gut. From the very beginning, they have built a strong relationship that relies on the confidence to tell each other when they don’t like something and when they love something.
“We have always worked so well together because we have the same taste, passion, and drive. We have even shared the same vision since we were young and now we are not so young and are still a team,” tells Acanfora. “We never wanted to become bosses and stop facing the white page. We wanted to stick together and keep coming up with ideas together.”
As Executive Creative Directors, they find themselves having to divide and conquer, but they always find time within the day to catch up with each other. They often start their day by grabbing coffee together in the morning or at the end of the day–always finding time to reconvene as a team. Within this constant search for a gutsy idea, they are never afraid to take a project to the next level.
Abramovici shares, “This is just the beginning. We will grow and keep doing bigger projects at Gut, but we will never lose the simplicity of being honest and valuing being gutsy.”