Recently, I spoke with Marcelino Alvarez who knows the importance of remaining authentic, relevant and staying within context, considering he has already founded three companies since graduating Duke University in 2002. Yearning for city life and sun, he began as a production assistant at Zoom Culture in Miami, which was a video streaming site similar to YouTube and built for college campuses. His time at Zoom, which is now non-existent, helped him cultivate his production skills and ultimately landed him a broadcast production job at JWT Miami.
Marcelino's great smile:
It also could've been due to the fact that his first language is Spanish and he was able to understand the subtle nuances of different types of Spanish. A Cuban accent greatly differs from a Mexican or Spanish accent and there is a delicate way, which Alvarez understands, of putting each one into context. For example, a Ford commercial running in southern Florida, targeting Cubans but spoken with a Spanish accent would not reach their audience.
After speaking with him about his incredible ad + production journey through Zoom Culture then JWT to Crispin and then across the country to become the Executive Interactive Producer at Wieden and Kennedy. After that it didn't take long for him to start building businesses left and right; co-founding Gorlochs and Safecast, though his primary focus today is Uncorked Studios in Portland.
He gathered skills and forged alliances at every stop. Besides founding Uncorked and Safecast, Alvarez is most recognized and admired for his work at Wieden developing the Chalkbot:
In my own words:
What problem does this solve?
People (potential customers) are able to feel connected to the cyclists and cancer survivors by texting positive affirmations to the Chalkbot through Livestrong.org, bringing together key audience engagement on a global level.
Who will use this?
Tour de France viewers from around the world, cancer survivors/patients/family members, cycling enthusiasts, Nike/Livestrong lovers. It's an all-age thing, all-language thing, gotta love it.
Where will they use it?
They will use it where ever they are because it is a mobile powered system, hence the beauty of mobile, it is everywhere (there is mobile access).
What is its value?
The Chalkbot can bring people from around the world together through one connected experience. It also brings free media coverage (news, blogs, facebook, magazines) to the Nike powered Livestrong Chalkbot, demonstrating Nike's dedication to innovation.
How can we make it more meaningful?
By connecting it to Livestrong's fight against cancer.
The idea originated within the walls of W+K, at the desk of Adam Heathcott and James Moslander, and was an incredibly risky idea that required about a billion logistics that Alvarez was responsible for. The Chalkbot team had to figure out what type of paint they could spray throughout the streets that wouldn't actually cause cancer. Marcelino spent days searching for some obscure paint that was completely safe, apparently they are hard to find.
Fun Fact: Marcelino actually crashed/passed out/went crazy due to taking 6-7 espresso shots per day for about three weeks in a row. Whoops.
His final advice for us: A very good way to get better is to mess up. Always experiment (Chalkbot and Disrupt). We need to fail to grow (Fail Harder).