The great bustard’s flight

A reflection after the CfF Session “Community-building with digital marketing”.  

I met legendary Chacho Puebla back in 2011 while working in the advertising industry. Our agency’s mission consisted of bringing ideas and sharing them globally. In fact, we used to sell fast food to the whole world.

The 15-M anti-austerity movement in Spain was blooming by then, touching the hearts of many Spaniards, including mine.

I quit advertising and moved to Canada for a few years. Over a decade, I learned about Chacho’s life from our occasional social media interaction. I discovered that he left the agency where we met, that he became a parent of twins and that he created a new project called Felicidad Collective, with a focus on social and ecological values.

When I recently joined ECOLISE in December 2022, I found the organization’s goals were very ambitious, yet the resources seemed limited. However, I was empowered to work autonomously and given a lot of space for experimentation, so there was potential for meaningful change.

As soon as I started working on the 7th edition of the European Day of Sustainable Communities (EDSC), along with my teammates and the organization’s national contact points, I immediately thought about Chacho and his not-so-new project. Throughout his career, he had been recognized as the Spanish Creative Director of the Decade in Cannes Lions (aka the Oscars of advertising) and had accumulated over 500 national and international awards, including winning the title of Best Iberoamerican Creative Director twice, as well as the Best Creative Director in Portugal and Spain. I could only offer a modest budget… but I had the feeling that we shared a common purpose.

Luckily, he said yes. Felicidad partnered with us for the EDSC campaign, providing the missing elements necessary to bring our idea to life: a good concept (#JoinTheBigTable) and a good execution (judge yourself!). But regardless of this year’s outcomes, our true challenge lies in keeping this idea alive –a narrative that honors communities’ year-round dedication and remarks the need of celebrating their accomplishments.

I recently read that the great bustard is the heaviest bird capable of flight. One more kilogram and it wouldn’t take off. Metaphorically, it reminds me that when burdens become too heavy, we can’t fly.

I think the EDSC is a good opportunity for communities to reflect on what they have achieved, to showcase the amazing work they are doing locally and to inspire conscious and driven citizens to change the world, one neighborhood at a time. Most important, EDSC is an opportunity to remember that celebration is not only fun but essential to soar.

I invite you to #JoinTheBigTable by gathering around and sharing a meal. I also invite you to take pictures of your celebration, upload them to our campaign’s webpage and share them on your social media channels by letting us know what you are celebrating on 2023.

I’m sure a lot of compelling stories will come, and we can’t wait to share them soon.

Let’s toast for a brighter future for all, together!


PS1. If you would like to learn more about Chacho’s transformative process and his remarkable insights on the power of storytelling and community-building to drive collective action forward, I highly recommend you to watch the recording of the CfF session “Community-building with digital marketing”.

PS2. Thanks to photographer Frank McClintock from Birding in Portugal for letting me use his beautiful image to illustrate this article.



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