You Won A Lion, He Won An Emmy: The Ezequiel Consoli Story
Put some respect on this Associate Creative Director's name. He won't say it no mo.
Ezequiel Consoli is an Emmy award-winning Associate Creative Director who has two focuses at this point in his career — doing purpose-driven work that has an impact, and making sure that his work/life balance is how it should have been years ago when he came into the industry.
“I will say I admit I wasted a lot of my younger years developing my professional life and forgetting that my actual life was outside of work,” he says. “This work-from-home situation was a full on slap on the face about that, and I really used these past years to give and grow value in that side of my life.”
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Consoli grew up in Argentina — specifically, the town of Quilmes, where he was immersed in the creative arts such as singing, writing, and dancing. He moved to New York when he was 18 years old and studied graphic design before deciding to pursue advertising full-time.
Now, he’s an experienced Art Director with an Emmy under his belt for a short film that started as a personal project but ultimately became a powerful benefit for the National Alliance on Mental Illness. He’s also founded his LLC EC, Gay Creative — a creative initiative that he plans on building an entire team for to continue taking the industry by storm.
Here’s Consoli on pursuing advertising, winning an Emmy, EC Gay Creative, and more.
What brought you to the world of advertising?
I think when I took my first class in advertising, it became extremely clear the power and influence this industry has. I started looking back at when I was young and very influenceable and realized that the things I saw on TV, the billboards I saw, and the music that I listened to, were truly what shaped me. Today, I try to keep a lot of my passion projects to be purpose driven so even if I have to work for big companies and brands to stay economically alive, I can still say that I used my creativity for good.
You have a couple stints as an intern. How did these experiences shape your early career?
At the beginning of my career I was so incredibly curious and thirsty to try absolutely everything. There was also this weird competitive thing about completely trying to get every single possible opportunity I could so I would actually do about two internships per semester. To be honest, I regret nothing, because I met so many incredible and talented people and made connections that have been so useful to grow in the industry.
I thought I wanted to be a book cover designer at first so I interned for Rodrigo Corral and Steve Attardo where I got to use a lot of my design skills and conceptual thinking. Then I interned for the creative director of New York magazine, Thomas Alberty, for a cold brew brand which was, literally, so much fun. Then I went to Matte Projects, where I did brand work for the infamous FYRE Festival which, looking at it now, I should have known from day one that it sounded too good to be true.
I went to Mother NY where I met my best friend Vanessa Hopkins and because of that I will be eternally grateful to that place, on top of the many amazing people and talent I shared a home with. Then lastly, McCann NY where I ended up staying until I became mid-level.
What’s been your creative philosophy that’s carried your career?
It’s funny because my instinct has always been the same and all these agencies I worked for sort of slowly kept pushing me away from. But, I’ve always kept coming back to it, and, I have to say, every single piece of good work I've ever done was because I went back to that philosophy.
And that is…to just stay human. Sounds cliche, but I have never, not once, been able to run away from my emotional side as a creative. Every single time, I come back to a personal insight, experience, or something that a friend of mine or family went through. I tried to run away from being an emotional man my whole life until I figured out that there was so much freaking power in being emotional and open and raw.
What’s the story behind winning an Emmy?
It started in the first two months of the pandemic when everyone was completely lost, and so was I. I was lonely, sad, and creatively dry. I realized pretty fast that so was the rest of the world. And I slowly sort of noticed that there was something quite powerful in that loneliness so I started writing — like I always do.
I got a script together, ran it by my copywriter Kyle Harrison, and then we shifted some things around and pitched it to my friend Ezra Hurwitz who was the director. I swear that in two days, he passed it around and collected Sarah Jessica Parker, Sufjan Stevens, and an incredible roster of others. The team grew so fast and it felt as if everyone was desperate to make good work and let emotions out.
We donated the piece to the National Alliance On Mental Illness and let them use it to raise awareness and money for their organization. They are so incredible and help so many people that it only felt right to do so. There are just so many people in this piece of work that I will say winning the Emmy just felt like the cherry on top.
What’s been the best lesson that you’ve learned so far?
I think maybe a lot of people learned this one in the past couple of years. It’s okay if work is just work sometimes. I'm honestly so passionate about this industry and I have always been. I believe in it and want to make sure it gets better. But at the end of the day, I will say I admit I wasted a lot of my younger years developing my professional life and forgetting that my actual life was outside of work.
This work-from-home situation was a full on slap to the face, and I really used these past years to give and grow value in that side of my life.
If you work for a company or someone who makes you believe otherwise, let me tell you right now…they are bullshiting you. They are abusing you and they are, probably, part of the problem. I will never forget those people who made me feel like shit for putting my family or friends first. I lost a lot of people to this industry, and I will never allow myself to do so again.
My boundaries with my job are crazy high. I will always get the work done, but you don’t get me to cancel a friend or family dinner that’s important to me over a last minute ask. Honestly, if you are reading this, please…make sure you have a similar mindset and put your life first. The industry will never change if we don’t all jump on this boat. I have done this and my career is even better than it was before.
What’s been your favorite creative project that you’ve worked on?
Pride Train. No doubt. It was my first piece of work in the real world and it became viral on the first day that it went up. Plus it was completely illegal. It was such an exciting project from day one and it really taught me absolutely everything I know about social media and making work that makes people feel something.
To this day, people still remember and are mind blown when I tell them that I was one of the founders. Plus it grew over the years in different ways.
It is a little sad that I’m not part of the team anymore since I got crazy busy with work and wasn’t able to provide as much time and dedication as I once was, but it’s still going and has become a platform for way more than just the LBGTQIA+ community.
What’s the story behind EC GAY CREATIVE?
I’m gay! It sort of started as me being funny, but then I realized I’d rather get out of the way that uncomfy moment when you first take a client as a contractor and you don’t know what their opinions are on gay people. I would never want to work for someone who can’t handle my sexuality and I'm definitely too old to deal with that kind of stuff in my career anymore. Plus, I have sort of a reputation in the industry for a lot of my work about pride and for being an honest creative.
What do you want to accomplish during the next phase of your career?
I think I'm fully ready to start my own agency. I'm a believer that age doesn’t make a good creative anymore. Not ageist because I love my older people, and they have taught me the world. But I do hate the perspective that someone my age isn’t ready to start their own agency. The industry has changed — so has the world.
Also, if I'm being honest, I think people my age are better bosses, business owners, and creatives for today’s world. We care a lot more about attention to detail on the human side of things, and the purpose of it all.
I sort of started my own thing right now, so I'm just hoping I can start having my own team soon. I'm on my way there. I'm also starting to write a TV show and a book. I am not sure where my career will go next but I'm just vibing honestly and really enjoying my freedom as a freelancer. I'm really happy and thankful with where my life and career are at.
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