GTB, the dedicated advertising agency for Ford Motor Co., recently hired Tito Melega as its new global chief creative officer. Melega, 50, comes to the agency after three years as a freelancer. Before that, he was creative director for the Americas at Omnicom's TBWAChiatDay, overseeing advertising for Nissan.
A native of Argentina who immigrated to Indiana at age 19, Melega said he developed an appreciation for the auto industry from watching Ford Rancheros and F-150s around the farm fields of his home country. His first car was a military-green Willys Jeep his father bought for him when he was 16. He spoke with Staff Reporter Michael Martinez.
Q: What attracted you to GTB and Ford?
A: First, the people here are just incredible. Second, the brand itself. I've been lucky enough to work in some of the most recognizable brands in the industry. But when it comes to a brand that really touches your heart in a special way, Ford is really part of the fabric of this country. The fact that this brand was able to break barriers and go all over the world and change the way people live and make people's lives better, that's huge. Third, I read their mission statement. What I understood it to say was they're here to make people's lives better. I'm 50 now and I'm at a stage in my life where I have that personal vision for myself. Everything I've done for the last five to 10 years has been about mentoring and kind of giving back. So that completely resonated with me.
How do you expect to advertise the Ford brand?
For years I heard people talk about mobile first. For me, it's always been about people first. What kind of utility can we bring to their lives? My hope is the kind of work we create here is going to continue this legacy of Ford being able to make people's lives better. I'll be looking at user experience very heavily. There will be ads, yes, and we'll be great at it, but there's also this piece of the equation that's about experiences and getting people to interact with the brand, getting people out of their homes to drive their cars and do something fun and exciting, which is what mobility's all about. It's not about going from point A to point B. If that was the case, we'd all be taking the bus."
How are the concepts of autonomous cars and mobility services changing your job?
My kids (ages 11 and 14) so far haven't shown any interest in getting a driver's license or having that kind of autonomy for themselves, but their favorite trips are all road trips. So mobility is kind of a visceral, universal thing that touches our core. That's something we share as a human truth, to have that freedom to go anywhere. Everybody loves going places. The question of mobility services will become more and more relevant as this new generation grows up.