Interview by Professor Mark Allen
Ask any advertising student (or professional) to name who’s on their career bucket list and most likely you’ll find Apple near the top. In the same league as brands like Nike, Volkswagen and Coke, the creative heavyweight from Cupertino consistently pumps out ads that are just as revolutionary as their products.
This September, Apple released its much-anticipated iPhone 11 Pro with a seriously beefed-up camera. To show off the device’s impressive new video capabilities, Apple asked TAI alumnus, Diego Contreras (’08), to create a short film for the official worldwide launch at the most recent Apple Keynote. With an iPhone 11 Pro and an extraordinary amount of talent, this is what he produced:
The new iPhone camera is incredible, no doubt. But one thing is even clearer to me: I still don’t expect my videos to look anywhere near this good—that is, unless Diego Contreras happens to be holding my iPhone.
I’ve kept up with Diego and his career ever since he was an art direction student of mine back in 2006–08. In addition to being a unique creative talent, he’s one of the kindest people you’ll ever meet. Whether it’s dinner when we find ourselves in the same city or giving advice to my advertising students via Skype, he always makes time in his busy schedule to catch up and give back.
One of my fondest memories of Diego was how he always found a way to have fun while working so hard. When he returned to our program as a senior, I asked him to lead our Fall Startup Meeting—our annual gathering of creative students after returning from summer break. Diego kicked off the event with a crazy video he shot and edited of him and a few other creative students wreaking havoc at a local grocery store on motorized carts. He even hosted a goofy awards show, featuring trophies that he made himself. He gave me the Vidal Sassoon Best Hair Award, made from an empty bottle of shampoo that he spray-painted gold. It was very much like Diego’s own version of The Dundie Awards. The point here is that Diego spent a ton of time creating a bunch of completely unnecessary content and made-up awards in order to foster a culture of fun and creativity around hard work. More than 10 years later, I still see the effects of Diego’s contribution to the culture of fun, hard work and camaraderie in our program.
Since graduating from SMU, Diego has worked for a truly impressive list of agencies. He started out as art director at Crispin, Porter + Bogusky in Boulder, then went to Anomaly in New York. He became an associate creative director at BBDO and then launched out on his own as a film and commercial director, currently working with Reset Content in LA. In light of his momentous project for Apple, I caught up with Diego and hit him with a barrage of questions:
Continue reading “ALUMNI UPDATE: Producing the iPhone 11 Keynote Film”