The U.S. Hispanic Young Lions Competitions 2021

The creatives teams were briefed by the Facebook team, who partnered with Círculo Creativo USA, offering their support by sponsoring this year’s competition in the search for the teams that will once more represent the US Hispanic Market at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

On Thursday, Círculo Creativo will share the creative with the jury and the search for the best team will be on its way. Who will the jury be for this edition?

We have 5 amazing and very talented, award-winning, renowned jurors.

  •     Pucho Mentasti, an internationally recognized and award-winning director
  •     María “Maru” Bernal, VP Creative Director at FCB Chicago
  •     Beto Nahmad, Executive Creative Director at VCCP Spain
  •     Benny Thomas, Lead Global Planner at Facebook
  •     Fabio Seidl, Global Creative Director at Facebook  

“It’s an honor to have so much talent in our jurors, and we can’t wait to see our young creatives thrive at this competition,” says Flor Leibaschoff, President of Círculo Creativo USA.

“Flor, our current Círculo President, was the first winner of the USH Young Creatives. Today she and the Facebook team were briefing the teams. Talk about a role model for the next generation of USH creatives!!! It’s certainly a matter of great pride for me as one of the founders of Círculo!” says Luis Miguel Messianu, Chairman of Círculo Creativo USA.

If you want to know more about our amazing jurors, please read below.

Pucho Mentasti

Pucho is an internationally recognized and award-winning director who has garnered an outstanding reputation in the advertising industry. He is heralded as an exceptionally gifted artist who continues to be one of the most sought-after directors because of his artistic excellence, creative capabilities, and technical acuity.

Pucho has an impressive list of major international awards for his directorial efforts, including a Gold Lion in Cannes Lions’ 2014 edition for his work on the Coca-Cola spot, “Ser Padres.” He has also won 4 Lápices de Platino and one Lion for “Iconic” in 2011 and a 2008 London International Silver Award for his television commercial for the California Milk Processor Board, among many others.

Pucho has worked with some of the world’s leading brands, including Sony Music, Columbia Pictures, United Airlines, Coca-Cola, Toyota, Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Nescafé, Comcast, Nature Valley, Honda, Tecate, and Nissan, among many others.

As a result of his outstanding achievements, Pucho was ranked 2nd in the best director in the world category in the Gunn Report.

More recently, Pucho was part of the Film Craft Jury at Cannes Lions and he is a director at Parana Films.

María “Maru” Bernal

Maria Bernal (Maru) is currently the VP Creative Director at FCB Chicago.

Maru began her career as an Editorial Designer and photographer at a few magazines in Mexico

Her more than a 20-year-long career in advertising began at Leo Burnett Mexico. In 2002, she moved to take a job at Leo Burnett Chicago, making that city her new home. Since then, Maru has worked as a creative leader for a varied client roster in the Mexican, LATAM, Hispanic, and General U.S. markets.

Throughout her career, Maru has put together and led creative teams that have helped their clients attain outstanding results. Her work has been recognized at the Cannes Lions, Clio awards, London International Awards, D&AD, The One Show, New York Festivals, Kinsale Shark Awards, Radio Mercury Awards, Epica Awards, Webby Awards, ADDYs, Communication Arts, Lürzers Archive, Wave Festival, El Sol, FIAP, El Ojo de Iberoamérica, ANA and Effie Awards, among others.

Brands: Cox Communications, Allstate, P&G, UnitedHealthcare, Kellogg’s, Purina, Marshalls, Feeding America, Mazola, Wrigley, Mexico Tourism Board, Chicago Latino Film Festival, Corona, Tecate, Brahma, Jack Daniel’s, JPMorgan Chase Bank, McDonald’s, Disney, Toys“R”Us, and Philip Morris.

With her extensive experience in the U.S. Hispanic Market, Maru continues advocating for diversity and inclusion and firmly believes that the more diverse a team is, the better its ideas are.

Beto Nahmad

Beto Nahmad kicked off his career at Argentinean agency Agulla y Baccetti. He then worked for several multinational agencies in Spain, like Publicis, DDB, JWT, and Delvico. Eight years later he moved to Madrid to become the Executive Creative Director and Director of the Innovation Team at DRAFTFCB. He currently directs the creative side of VCCP Spain, the Spanish division of one of the top 3 agencies of the United Kingdom. In just 2 years, VCCP Spain became one of the most awarded Spanish agencies at the Cannes Lions, El Sol, CdeC, Fiap, El Ojo de Iberoamérica, Caples, Laus, and Genio, among others. Beto holds a degree in Media, studied Film and Advertising in Buenos Aires and, in his free time, writes and directs short films.

Benny Thomas

Benny Thomas is the Lead Global Planner at Facebook, responsible for B2B creative marketing strategy across the Facebook family of apps. Over the last 30 years, he has run research, built integrated global marketing campaigns and helped businesses grow through creativity. Beginning as a copywriter, Benny led creative and strategy at some of the world’s leading agencies in Asia and the US, including TBWA\CHIAT\DAY, Crispin Porter+Bogusky, Young & Rubicam and Lowe Lintas on brands such as Best Buy, Infiniti, Netflix, Bacardi, Sony, Unilever and Microsoft. He has won creative and strategy awards at Cannes, the Jay Chiat StratFest and the Effies for his work on PayPal, LG, Pedigree and Charles Schwab. He has spoken and taught at academic and industry venues and contributed to industry publications.

“Art is not what you see but what you make others see.” – Edgar Degas

Benny is passionate about bringing a cultural vision to business strategy, mentoring the next generation of thinkers and stirring up creative ideas. He is proud to hail from the state of Kerala, the most literate corner of India, and is constantly trying to live up to those standards.

Fabio Seidl

Fabio Seidl is the Director for Global Creative Development at Facebook, responsible for campaigns and experiences all around the world for brands such as Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger, and more.

 His career spans three continents, from his native Latin America to Europe and the US. Before joining Facebook, Fabio worked in agencies such as DDB, VMLY&R, and 360i in NY; Leo Burnett Chicago; Ogilvy and Africa Sao Paulo; and McCann Portugal.

 As a creative, Fabio won more than 20 Lions in Cannes, several awards at The One Show, D&AD, Art Directors Club, Webbys, CLIOs, and London International Awards. He was part of the team that led Ogilvy Brazil to Agency of the Year in Cannes and to stay in the top 3 for three years in a row. His work was featured as the most awarded in the world for two years in a row by the Gunn Report and received the award for the best creative director of the United States by El Ojo de Iberoamérica.

Fabio has served on several juries and as a speaker in international shows in the US, UK, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Portugal, Poland, Costa Rica, Paraguay, and South Korea.

Besides his work with advertising, Fabio is a musician, writer, and teacher, but his favorite occupation is being the father of his lovely Valentina.



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