The ad that put Leonardo in the picture

As an engineer you’d expect getting behind the wheel of a new model car would cause Leonardo Machado to analyse the engine and handling, performance and design. However, the opportunity he got caused him to evaluate his work/life balance.

It came about in the strangest of ways. A cousin of Leonardo’s who was working for the Discovery Channel had recognised his profileas finger-print perfect for an upcoming ad campaign. Leonardo was deep into a meeting when she rang and with other conversations and thoughts flying around the room, he semi-blindly agreed to her request in order to get back to business.

He totally forgot about it until two months later when she rang again to say that ‘they’ wanted him. ‘They’ turned out to be Volkswagen and the car, the latest version of the Jetta, their family compact. Protesting that he wasn’t an actor, she said the concept was more documentary lifestyle. He was in it,

right up to the gearstick, a glossy two-minute snapshot of his life, family man, business man – sort of James Bond without the girls, guns or gimmicks, and where the Aston Martin is a Volkswagen.

The car’s contribution to the movie was focused, but almost incidental, a wonderful bit of subtle, not-in your- face marketing. It was about values in life. As a statement the Jetta came across as the sensible way to get about with quality of build giving it a mild hint of class.

New view on creative folk

Back at Maersk Training in Rio de Janeiro, where he is the Managing Director, Leonardo would reflect on the approach – gone are the days of hard-nosed sales through cold calling – it’s about your product speaking for itself, it’s about a complete picture.

So there he was, an engineer, not an actor, in front of a wall of technicians and a mountain of equipment and definitely not in his comfort zone. Through his profession he was structured and precise and yet here he was in a world of impulsive creatives.

‘What surprised me was that it was so organised. I mean as a preconception I thought they’d all just talk about bullshit and things, not be organised at all and that they are going to do creative things every five minutes – it was nothing like that. We worked 14, 15 hours a day stopping for lunch at 3 pm, three days in a row. I never felt so energised again as with a new challenge.’

After the final clapperboard had clapped and the director had announced WRAP, Leonardo had a new focus, not just on the

commercial world, but on life in general.

The content of the final cut movie surprised Leonardo. It was a bit like a special mirror offering an insight into this life and lifestyle.

‘There was a message for me, listen you can take the next step as a leader of a team. I felt that my life was not that boring, when I saw the movie I thought, hey I’m an interesting guy. I started to think we have so many young people here in the office and I started to think about them and their careers and also linked to their personal lives because it all makes sense when linked together, and I could see the whole picture of this in the ad, a combination and balance of everything that makes it work.’

Nice as the Jetta was, Leonardo’s private life, although focused, didn’t dramatically change. He happily drives home in his Hyundai.