GDC Welcomes Diego Cantu
GDC is excited to welcome Diego Cantu as our new Creative Director. With extensive experience in technology and digital, Diego returns to the San Antonio from Los Angeles to lead GDC’s creative thinking and its processes in digital, social media and immersive technology. During his 20-plus years in the creative industry, Diego has held leadership roles at BandwagonMedia as Executive Producer/Head writer, CFM International as Managing Director and Executive Producer, AG Studios as Head of Development and Marketing, Leo Burnett Worldwide as VP Creative Director and Y&R as VP Creative Director. Throughout his career, Diego has worked with numerous notable brands including HBO, Clearly Kombucha and Death Wish Coffee. Diego’s experience also extended to working with Ryan Reynolds on the launch of the actor’s Aviation Gin company, overseeing its social media, product photography and video messaging. Diego also worked with J.J Abram’s film and production company, Bad Robot, serving as head creative for its social platform. Diego’s achievements and awards in the creative industry are numerous and includes a Gold Lion from the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. We sat down with Diego to get his insight on his new role, what he’s looking forward to rediscovering about San Antonio and his desire to make the city a hub for creative talent.
What do you aim to bring to GDC and its clients as Creative Director?
Besides the yada yada 20-plus years of experience and all that boring stuff, I basically want to reignite the team. I want to explore new possibilities in the digital space, mostly a different way of thinking. I’ve realized that advertising today is at a very exciting time, old models which I hated (for a hammer, every problem is a nail) are getting destroyed. New small, nimble shops are getting shots at big pitches. The time to refuel is now and that makes me very excited. I want our work to feel fresh and different. If our creative feels like we worked too hard on it, we should nix it. Do you know what I mean?
When working on Aviation Gin, we came up with this stupid phrase called ‘fastvertising.” This basically means ideas that are great and can be executed, we should go and do them. Be fast, be nimble, be awesome, and put the work out there. For example, if we have an awesome idea that deserves to see the light of day, but we do not have a client for it, let’s go find a client for it, no matter the size, category or budget. Having an in-house, full service digital studio will let us do amazing things. I feel CREATIVITY IS PUTTING OUR IMAGINATION TO WORK.
Who has most influenced you in your career?
So many people, my father was one of them. He was a pioneer in Hispanic advertising. I’ve always respected what he did, and in the short amount of time it took him to get it done. Greg Grunberg has also been a huge influence on me. Everyone knows him as an actor, but he’s this amazing ninja of ideas, a marketing genius, if you ask me. William Goldman has also been a huge influence on me when it comes to writing long form.
What are you most proud of accomplishing?
My 3 kids, no question. They are the best script I have ever written and will probably ever write.
As you return to San Antonio, what are you most looking forward to experiencing in the city?
I am blown away to see how much the city has changed in the past seven years. I love the energy and vibe that downtown San Antonio now has. But I still feel we need more energy in this town. I’ve always said that San Antonio has a “brain-drain” problem. Amazing, creative intelligent people leave San Antonio for greener pastures to never come back and that is an intrinsic problem. I would love to work with our local government and the San Antonio creative industry to overcome this issue. San Antonio should be up there with cities like Portland, Boulder and Atlanta. There are so many opportunities to make this city a viable creative hub for everyone. I would love to see this come to fruition and be a cog in the machine that makes it happen.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
Before my father passed, he told me two things that I carry with me every day and which are almost my mantras:
- Always listen to the lyrics, always
- Choose the mistakes you know you will make wisely
What would people be surprised to know about you?
There are many, many, many to name, but I have two cards that I am very proud of. The first is my Producers Guild of America Card, and the second is frankly stupid, and it was a bet I made with my manager, and that is my MENSA card.