Season: 1   |   Episode: 6

Úrsula Mejía Melgar
Diversity, Inclusion and Sustainability in Advertising

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This week on The MCA Prodcast Pat Murphy talks to Úrsula Mejía Melgar, Marketing Director Southern Europe at the world’s leading premium drinks company Diageo. Úrsula is responsible for the strategy, marketing and innovation for the company’s portfolio across categories and markets in the region. A food engineer by training but a marketer by trade and heart, Úrsula has built a career at Fortune 250 companies including Procter&Gamble, General Mills and Mondelēz International. She is a passionate, purpose driven executive with 25 years’ experience across geographies and industries, a diversity and inclusion advocate and a voice for ESG as a business accelerator.

In 2022 Úrsula developed a highly acclaimed ad for J&B whisky which saw a grandad exploring his gender through make up, only to then later use his understanding to support his transgender granddaughter. Úrsula explains the challenges she faced in creating such a brave ad, how she got it approved at Diageo, how it was received by audiences and the impact it ultimately had on the brand.

Pat and Úrsula explore some of the considerations for advertising and production more broadly when it comes to Diversity and Inclusion. Úrsula also explores sustainability from a brand perspective; how can you lead a business’ values with regard to sustainability and how do those values inform marketing and advertising production decisions.

Úrsula reflects on her heritage as a Mexican immigrant into the United States, how this has shaped her career and who inspired her in life. She recalls the incredible story of how her grandmother opened a school so her aunt could attend school, later attending a prestigious university and founding a society at that university to support disabled students.


Watch Úrsula’s favourite ad:  Spanish Christmas Lottery 2014


Hosted by Pat Murphy

Connect with Murphy Cobb and The Prodcast:

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Pat Murphy:

Hi, and welcome to the MCA Prodcast, your fix for everything innovative in advertising production.

I’m Pat Murphy, and I’ve been working in this industry for more than 35 years now. I’ve seen a lot of changes, but know, there’s plenty more around the corner. Each week on the podcast, you’ll get to hear from one of the movers and shakers who’re shaping the world of advertising production for the future and we’ll dive into some of the key challenges facing our sector today and how we’re best placed to overcome them.

Today you’re going to meet Úrsula Mejía Melgar – Marketing Director, Southern Europe for Diageo, a food engineer by training, but a marketer by trade and heart. Úrsula has gained experience for over 20 years across categories, markets, and Fortune 250 companies, including my old advertising school P&G. General Mills, and Mondelēz on there as well. Traditionally, she’s trained with a full skillset of marketing and general management. Well-traveled, having held positions in Latin, USA and Europe. Delivering step changing solutions and business growth for several global billion dollar brands.

Úrsula is a woman on a mission and is passionate for new possibilities, purpose led marketing, and challenging the status quo. Úrsula, welcome to our humble Prodcast.

Úrsula Mejía Melgar:

Oh, hi Pat. Lovely to be here with you.

Pat Murphy:

Thank you very much. I have to start by congratulating you on the J&B Christmas ad, which you developed in Spain last year. A powerful decision, the champion, I think of real purpose. If people haven’t seen it, it’s a story that sees an old man borrowing his wife’s makeup to explore his expressions of gender. He tries several times to get the perfect look and even uses a bus stop poster to compare the details of the eyeshadow he wears. When his family come over for Christmas dinner, the old man recognises that his grandchild Alvaro needs some support. The old man then takes Alvaro into another room to help his grandchild with his makeup and put his practice to the test. When the pair eventually remerge, the family had taken aback by the majesty of Ava’s appearance, who is then welcomed by the family as Anna.

When I first saw that ad, it gave me a bit of a tingle. But actually it’s beautifully produced, beautifully directed by Gabe as we know. But the one thing that went through my mind Úrsula, was how on earth did you get that approved inside at Diageo? What were the challenges for you?

Úrsula Mejía Melgar:

Well, obviously it’s a very brave ad. We put it out. At the time, there was also a lot of controversial conversations in Spain because the transgender law was being discussed in Congress, and we didn’t plan it like that, but it, it happened to be like that. So it was highly controversial and, and we made a public issue very visible. So the beauty of, Pat, is that the journey started with the repositioning of J&B. J&B is the brand that has existed in Spain for many years, over 50 years, to the point that many Spaniards believe it’s a Spanish whiskey, even though it’s obviously a  Scottish whiskey. And it’s a brand that it’s highly democratised in the sense that everybody knows how to pronounce J&B. It’s very well distributed. It’s very accessible by price. It’s highly recognisable. And historically it’s been, it’s been a whiskey that that has stand for, for celebration for the night – a very well known brand. Millions of cases sold over years. But it’s true that in the, in the past few years, the brand eroded, and mainly because celebrations do not mean the stain that they meant in the eighties or in the nineties, or in the two thousands. 20 years ago, the way consumers celebrated that we all celebrated has changed dramatically.

And the repositioning for us started with a journey of ensuring that we break down the barriers for celebration. And those in most of the time mean that you sometimes don’t feel welcome to be part of the celebration, either because of your gender or your racial ethnicity or your own circumstances. And we wanted to break down or to start or contribute to society by helping break down the barriers that many people see and feel when it comes to celebration.

So there are many, many cohorts or subgroups that are discriminated when it comes to celebrate, whether it’s at a nightclub or even within families. So it can be a as extreme as the family environment all the way up to the, the social life that any city can offer. So we wanted to, to be very evident about it and our journey for, she really started in the summer with a different initiative that it was called Small Village Pride. And that started because 13% of the population from the LGBTIQ+ cohort in Spain live in rural areas. All the rest move to the big cities with the intention of anonymity, of acceptance, of kind of being able to portray who they really are and they live, live their lives as they really are whether gays, lesbians, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersexual.

So we wanted to bring pride to where it’s most needed, which is in this multi-regions in Spain. And that’s how our journey started. And I think that was the first step to be accepted internally at Diageo as a brand that was going to be repositioned like that.

So we took the pride celebration that in Madrid, as you know, it’s one of the biggest around the world, and we took it with a float to small villages, and that was very well received because we asked the villages to raise their hand if they wanted for us to come. And we got over a thousand requests in the span of only three weeks of villages that wanted us to come to their, to their towns and celebrate with them. And that was the indicator for us that there was a very powerful message that we could deliver, which is celebration is for everyone.

So we partnered with a lot of very important people, with a director in Spain, who is Eduardo Casanova, an actor and a director to help us with the ad for that. We didn’t do a cast of actors. We decided to partner with real people that wanted to, we wanted to portray their stories, whether from a transgender standpoint or from a gay or lesbian standpoint, people that have been advocates for the community. And those were the ones that we portrayed. So that was the first step of the journey, Pat.

And then when it came for us to deliver a Christmas ad, we knew we wanted to be the response for that. So what, what is the people in the villages feeling? What, how were they receiving this message and what’s the change that we wanted to see in the world?

So obviously a Spanish grandfather which has been kinda like a male dominated society for many, many years. A little bit patriarchal, if you will. We still have a monarchy here in Spain. It’s the image of the, the tradition. And to soften a grandfather to accept his transgender granddaughter for who she’s is, the best message we could put out a message of acceptance, a message of love. And because the starting point is reality, I think it’s been very well accepted at Diageo. Also because at Diageo, we believe in equality and equity for everyone. So that’s the starting point, and this is how it came to be.

Pat Murphy:

And when you finished the ad, and it broke, obviously it went viral, but in Spain specifically, what was, what was the reaction to the ad?

Úrsula Mejía Melgar:

It was crazy. We never expected it to gain so much momentum. So we put it out on the afternoon of December 3rd.

To begin with, Pat, when we saw the piece internally, the first edit, you know how productions are, sure I cannot even tell you about it. So you know, you get that first edit from the agency, you know you have something powerful for, but when you see it with the lighting, which is just gorgeous in that ad. The choices on, on the editing that, that Gabe and the agency brought to us were truly outstanding. And everybody was crying in the room because the message was so powerful. And even though we knew what was coming in the ad we knew it was powerful.

So we put it out on YouTube. We wanted to see the organic reaction because before we actually went out on paid media, so we wanted to give the ad a good five days of organic visibility to see how it transpired, you know, we wanted to, to feel how people reacted to it.

And we put it out on Twitter and on with, with a YouTube foundation, and it went crazy. Within 24 hours, we got a million retweets and visibilities. And what was more interesting is that very famous personalities started to talk about it on the right side of the politics in Spain, on the left side of the politics in Spain. And they were both very positive. The extreme right and the extreme left were reacting positively.

We got massive celebrities posting things like, ‘I would love to work for you guys’. It was fantastic to see people. And of course by December 3rd, a lot of people are in a Christmas mood. So that was very, very powerful.

Pat Murphy:

And how has it impacted your sales on the, on the brand?

Úrsula Mejía Melgar:

Yeah. Well, you know, we’re, we’re in a long-term journey. Of course, we’re seeing the, the benefit of the ad.  J&B is a brand that it’s going through a full revamp when it comes to pricing, to promo. So an ad alone cannot move the, the trajectory that we have seen for the past 10 years. So it’s taken us a little bit of a while to really translate this into the momentum that we want to see. But for us, what was the most important thing was to just make the statement, make sure that people understand as a brand who we are. And you know, it’s funny because we started the journey by saying, we want to be the most inclusive whiskey brand in the world. And in one presentation, I stood up and I scratched the world whiskey, and I said, ‘we want to be the most inclusive brand in the world’, period. And that changed the statement for everyone, that changed the mindset, because this is just the beginning for us. And I’m sure I’m certain we are in the journey for the most positive trajectory for the brand, and we’ll keep on working behind it.

Pat Murphy:

And in your opinion then, why is it so important that brands connect on a deeper level than just product benefits?

Úrsula Mejía Melgar:

Absolutely. I mean brands not only have the power, but have the responsibility to change the world. There’s a number or statistic that I love to use, which is the amount of money spent behind media and advertising, production and media is twice the size of the money invested behind TV and, and movie movies production. That is, because of course, in, in advertising, we need to put a lot of money behind the media to ensure the visibility, but that speaks by itself! We are making pieces that people get to see, and that means that the messages we convey are super important, not only as a reflection of society, but also in depicting the society we want to see in depicting the society we believe people should see.

So that in itself is, for us the starting point. The fact that brands can change the world, advertising can change the world, and I believe that everyone involved in advertising, development, production, and media from wherever we’re standing, we have the chance to change the world. In this particular case, when it comes to the LGBTIQ+ community from the agency that has the creativity to the agencies we partner with, to, to gather the insights, to get the right people, to get the right talent, all the way to the production and the people we partner with, to drive that production to the message we convey to the media that we buy. Because we can also support small businesses with the media that we buy. It’s an end to end chain of benefit and of support and visibility and voice. And I think that’s, that’s our responsibility as advertisers, that we create and promote an industry that not only portrays the message in the final piece, but that carries on that message through everything that we do and everyone that we touch with our projects.

Pat Murphy:

When we were talking last time, I think we mentioned the fact that we didn’t think that governments were ever gonna solve these issues. So it is a responsibility for big business like ourselves. And I was reading Paul Polman’s book, I dunno if you’ve read that, It’s called Net Positive. When he was at Unilever, he took a very strong position on purpose-led advertising before he left. And he came under a little bit of fire as well. People thought that it wasn’t always relevant for all the brands. What are some of the challenges for marketers when considering D&I sustainability in advertising strategies?

Úrsula Mejía Melgar:

Well, I think many brands try to do advertising as something they do, not something they are. So to me, the foundational change needs to happen at the core purpose of the brand, and it needs to start with a belief from the company that that’s part of the initiatives and what the company really wants to do. So in the case of Diageo, I’m very proud to say that our ESG agenda, it’s completely intertwined with our business agenda, and they are only one.

So we have six must-dos as part of our, our performance as a public company. The first three are completely related to the traditional financial must-dos that any company will have in terms of financial growth, profitability, etc. But the next three, which would be most four, five, and six for us, are completely related to our ESG agenda, which derives from the United Nations sustainability development goals.

So it’s very much in line with the direction that the world and many countries are trying to take. It’s true that as corporations, we have that responsibility because we carry on many messages. We deliver products that oftentimes have very high penetrations, and we work across markets.

In many cases, large corporations like ours operate and sell products in more than 150 countries. So we have a responsibility, we have many employees who charge the starting point. And our, our most, from an ESG standpoint at Diageo, are first and foremost to promote positive drinking. Moderation is at the core of what we do, and obviously not about drinking, much more about drinking better. That’s very important for us. The second one is about the social impact we can have through the entire line is inclusion and diversity and inclusion means better societies. It means fostering a climate in which everyone can thrive, every stakeholder that we partner with from suppliers, whether it’s small farmers that produce the grains that we use, all the way down to the companies that we use to advertise our products end to end in the value chain. And the third is about environmental sustainability. And to me, these messages, it’s not something that the brands should say, but it’s something that the brands should be. So it’s about bringing, at the core, it’s about that purpose-led advertising, but from, from embedding that in the brand. And I guess in is a very good example because you and I talked about Dove as the as the example of that they’ve had with real beauty for being a purpose-led brand, changing how society behaved towards female appearance and female body perception. And I think what they’ve done has been a journey of commitment that has worked very well for them. And we hope what we can put out from, not only from a J&B standpoint, but from all the brands that the Diageo has, like Johnny Walker, like Bailey’s, like Tanqueray, we can obviously build purpose led communications that are as entertaining because I think advertising has a role of being entertaining as relevant for everyone.

Pat Murphy:

I read it with a very great interest in the article you did with Forbes Magazine, that the biggest challenge you see from marketing a company like Diageo is in leading your brands from a sustainability point of view, we’ve just touched on sustainability. How do you see that translating then into both the advertising message, but also how you approach the advertising and production content?

Úrsula Mejía Melgar:

Well, that, that’s a very good point. I think you know, when you talk about environmental sustainability, we have different scopes, scope one, two, and three, and these scopes is what’s related, what you can control, right? So scope three oftentimes is related to the things that you don’t have in your control, but you can partner with vendors and providers that are equipping you with a reduction of the carbon footprint, who are much more conscious about how you drive your practices, whichever those are. They could be about production, they can be about producing in a much more sustainable manner, whether it’s from the location that you choose, the, the number of days you use the equipment, the amount of people you need. You can think about every single aspect in the value chain of a production of an ad to be conscious about what’s gonna have the least impact, but also the greatest benefit, because sometimes sustainability is also about ensuring that communities can thrive, and that that is about who, who you can bring to the table to produce the ad to ensure that smaller businesses also are viable in our industry.

Pat Murphy:

Do you think that the right kind of questions get asked in the pre-production stages about those kinds of things because there’s a whole range of technologies now that can help reduce the carbon footprint. Do you think the agency thinks about those things? What do you think the industry needs to do?

Úrsula Mejía Melgar:

No, <laugh> The bold and simple question is no, the right questions are not being asked. If I, and if I had one ask to your audience, and to every person responsible for this is let’s bring those conversations to the table. And it’s not only environmental sustainability, sustainability across the board, it’s about who are we working with and what are we doing it. To be honest with you, I think in advertising and in marketing, in in corporations, we are always, I mean, time is our biggest enemy, right? So maybe the biggest advice I would give everyone is when you allow yourself the time to ask yourself those questions, you will have much greater ability to answer them in the right way and proceed in a much more conscious way. So you need to ask the questions, but you need to act with sufficient time so the questions can be asked and you can make the informed decision.

Pat Murphy:

Going back to the J&B that you made before Christmas, I understand that you delivered also on a, on a rather tight budget, which goes to show that great storytelling doesn’t need to cost a lot of money. Also we’re seeing new production techniques like virtual production, which, you know, we talked about last time emerging now, which is facilitating the pressure to do more for less whilst delivering great creative. What pressures are you seeing from your side and how can the advertising community help?

Úrsula Mejía Melgar:

Well, you know, I think there, there are many factors that drive the commitment from everyone to deliver with new techniques at better cost. I think it all starts with the relationship you can have with your agency. To me, the relationship with client agency should be one of, of seamless integration solid challenges from, from both ends and a joint agenda in terms of not only the output, but also the how, how it’s going to be that output and those conversations need to happen not only through our pre-production meeting.

I think it needs to be fluid. I think it needs to be open. I think the agency needs to be part of understanding your end-to-end strategy as a company, as a brand – well beyond ‘here’s a brief, here’s a response, here’s a ppm, here’s a shooting, here’s an Ad’ It’s the subtleties that happen behind, and within all those meetings and all those steps, what are gonna make the difference?

And I think that’s why spending time with the agency, sitting together at the table, breaking bread, as we will say in an informal way, sharing your concerns as a client, sharing your ambitions, sharing your dreams. I like to talk about dreams because we as humans I think we, we have passions and we have intentions, and then, then the magic happens. But you need to show up with the vulnerability. You need to show up with the intention, and you need to be well willing to co-create, to learn, because there’s a lot of learning to happen in this space. And to hear the experts and, and part, for example, you’re, you’re an expert in this space. So I think we need to bring more of these experts like you to the process to help us learn, to help us understand what’s available and to hold our hands and take us into the next era of advertising production.

Pat Murphy:

Well, I hope I get the chance to do that with you.

Let me dig a little bit deeper into your background, if that’s okay?  Let me get a bit personal with you. When we last talked, you said you were very proud Mexican immigrant into the United States. Has this helped you form your views on fairness, do you think, in the industry?

Úrsula Mejía Melgar:

Absolutely. I think there are maybe three pavolo moments in my life pat that have, and I didn’t connect the dots until very recently, because to me, it’s just part of who I am. It’s, it’s, it’s my fibre, you know, it’s like this is who I am. But then when you realise what you’ve been exposed to, you understand how, how the world operates, how discrimination can happen, how we can address it. So I’ll give you three very simple examples. The first one is, it’s in my family. My, my grandmother had four children. One of them, my mom, obviously that was the last, but my Aunt right before my mom was born, who was three years older, was born with a disability. Her legs were not fully formed, and she had a tumour that was growing inside of her.

It was a benign tumour, but it, it grew like, like ivy. So it was not removable. And, and my grandmother knew that her daughter’s days were tapped in a way. We, what made it maybe a little bit more dramatic is that my grandfather was a doctor. And in spite of him being a very well recognised doctor in the Mexican society at the time, there was nothing he could do for his, for his daughter. So my, my aunt went through surgery in the first instances in her life, and then when she came to be five years old, and there was no school that at the time were talking in the fifties in Mexico, this was a time in which people with disabilities were hidden. They were relegated from the family in many cases they were placed in institutions, or they were fully separated from, from the family life.

There were no schools that will take in a child in a wheelchair. So my grandma, and this is pivotal moment, I think, in the narrative of my family and the narrative of who I am as a person. My grandma decided to buy the house next door and open up a school so her, her daughter could go to school. And I think that was a pivotal moment of, of faith and truth and owning your, your truth and offering the best that you can do, obviously, for your child. But that was a big statement. So my aunt was able to go to school because my grandmother opened, you know, the little school next door to her house for my aunt, and obviously for other children, and many children joined.

And when my aunt was ready to go to school, at a later moment she joined a school when she was about 11 years old, but she had a foundation of, of education that allowed her to reintegrated into society so that when she managed to get to university, she founded for one of the largest universities in the world, which is UNAM Mexico.

She was the founding member and president of the disability association or Association of Disabled People for, for, for the university. And that promoting inclusion and diversity from her own standpoint. So when, when you see that story of how supporting one person becomes really a starting point to support a full community, it’s just gorgeous. So that would be the first one.

The second is I moved to the United States at the time of the September 11 attacks. What that meant was that it was very hard for me to get a working visa. So I found myself not, not working, and I decided to be a volunteer teacher of English for Mexican immigrants, mainly, mainly illegal immigrants that were in the States. And they, they didn’t speak any English. So I was a teacher for them.

I hope I did well. And the stories that I heard bad from those immigrants having to cross the border, what they exposed themselves to and then how they progress when you learn the hand and you teach them English one of them told me that he was a dishwasher at a restaurant, and the moment he graduated from the English classes, he was able to become a waiter. And that’s progress. And that for his family meant a lot because he, he was making more money that allowed him to become legal because that that job was supporting documentation, proper documentation. So you see these stories and they’re amazing.

So when I was able to join General Mills, I started off in traditional marketing doing, you know, work for, for the brands there, but then I had a massive opportunity, and again, another pivotal moment and one of those that you, you jump at and you, you are forever grateful. So the CMO of General Mills, who was Mark Addicts at the time, one of the best marketeers I’ve seen in my entire career Mark Addicts gave me the opportunity to start a multicultural marketing unit within General Mills. And we started off by offering people information, information that General Mills had, because it’s, it’s a very purpose driven company. So there was information about breast cancer, or there was information about cholesterol with Cheerios. And we made that information available for Hispanic consumers in the United States. And that translated into significant business, because when you lend a hand, I, I always felt like I was like a dual ambassador, bringing the messages from corporate America to Hispanic consumers with the intention of supporting them, providing access to information about schooling, about health  ans wellness. And when you make that information available, you getting returned the business.

And so we had a platform. It was a beautiful platform that started off as a little pamphlet and evolved into a full 360, with segments on TV, with a magazine that was distributed for free, very much at large, a million copies at a time with coupons. But more than anything, what was fully fulfilling was the letters that I got from consumers. Letters saying for example, from a wo from a 54 year old woman, I will never, never forget telling me how she had diabetes. And the doctor always told to do exercise, and that she thought that doing exercise was only about going to the gym. And she was not educated that way. I mean, you can imagine a traditional Hispanic woman raised in a small village in Mexico. Going to the gym was completely out of her repertoire, but when she learned it was about taking walks, eating mindfully, she was writing me because her health was changing, her health was improving.

And like that, I have many examples, many, many examples. So these stories changed you, these stories at least they have impacted me massively to, to understand that the positions that we hold in corporations can truly make an impact. So absolutely my own personal journey of being an immigrant myself, a woman, a woman in business, a woman at this point in a traditionally male dominated business, and working for a company that supports and empowers not only women, but purpose led operations it’s just fantastic. And it’s a, an amazing platform for me to convey the message to support others and hopefully to, to deliver an invitation to all other corporations to do the same.

Pat Murphy:

And then there’s, of course, Christina, your CMO at Diageo, who’s just been named WFA Global Marketer of the Year 2022. I’m guessing your values are pretty similar. Yeah?

Úrsula Mejía Melgar:

Absolutely. I, I have to say, Christina is another one of the best marketers I’ve met in my career. But beyond that, I can say that Christina is just a beautiful human being. She’s the type of person that will listen carefully, will empower people to be at their best will understand where the company needs to be, not in a sassy way or, or in like, like with flair, but in a very consistent business orientated society, integrated way. And I think she’s, she’s at the core of what we’re doing at the core of the ‘permission’, and I put that in quotation for us to do this type of advertisements, like for J&B because she empowers me and the team, like she does all the other Diageo marketing units around the world, not only recognises it, but celebrates it! But when it’s even better is that the support goes beyond that. And now she has been featured in, in over 75 countries in across the world, in newspapers, on tv. And so it’s resonating with a lot of people, and that speaks highly of how the empowerment that a person like Christina does for, for her teams around the world can create a wave of impact worldwide.

Pat Murphy:

So you’re creating an environment actually at Diageo that is actually really exciting and people want to work for with so much changing in the world. What is the one bit of advice you would give to a young Úrsula coming into the world and marketing today, wherever they are from the world, whatever kind of part of society? What’s your key piece of advice?

Úrsula Mejía Melgar:

I would say trust your gut and align yourself with your own purpose. It doesn’t need to be the same for everyone, but I don’t think everyone needs to be behind the same initiatives that we are doing here at Diageo, or that all brands need to do the same, but I think every person is, is born with a purpose, and that purpose is felt in your gut. I was telling my children, I have a, a 17 year old daughter Sophia, and a 14 year old son, Emilio. And I was telling them the other day: I’m a chemical engineer. But I’ve never worked as such. When I finished my career, I wanted to be in the science communication, you know, in Spanish, it’s called the communication of the sciences.

And I knew deep down that what I wanted to do was communication. I was grasping, grasping science as the message, but the reality, what I wanted to do is make information accessible to the world. And I only discovered that after university. I mean, I think I, if I were to go back and maybe I would’ve studied something different – more towards the humanities side. But anyway you do the best with what you have. You align with your purpose. And to me, that intent and that the, the, the incipient leaders in all young people, business leaders, I mean, when you listen to your core and you, you, you say that from who you are, that is very impactful.

You know, I had a manager, <laugh> at a time maybe eight years ago, who had a year end review told me, she said it like this, ‘your happiness overwhelms me. And I don’t know if you are professional enough because you’re always happy’, <laugh>. And she put me on a performance improvement plan.

Pat Murphy:

Oh my gosh, that’s crazy.

Úrsula Mejía Melgar:

I still, to this date, I cannot believe that. But that was because my optimism was not conveying professionalism. And once I got over that little period of my life that was frustrating and sad and anxiety was through the roof, I realised ‘I’m going to be who I am’. If it’s a good fit for the company, fantastic. And if not, I’m going to go and do whatever I need to do. But that was a pivotal moment. So the message to a young Úrsula, and the message to anyone out there who is looking to have a meaningful and a fulfilling career is think about your career as part of your life. Don’t separate it. Start from your core. Be who you are, follow your passions, and the magic will come. I promise.

Pat Murphy:

I’m totally a hundred percent right there with you. Actually, I’m still doing the job today and can’t believe I get paid to do this <laugh>. Cause it’s the stuff that I’ve always loved doing. And someone might find me out one day, but I totally right there with you.

So before we go, Úrsula, well, one question we always ask our guests is what is their favourite ad of all time? What’s yours?

Úrsula Mejía Melgar:

Well, my favourite ad of all times, it’s an ad for Loteria in Spain. Loteria is, is the, the annual sweepstake that takes place – the lotto where people can win a lot of money, the jackpots. And this is an ad that I think it’s from about 2015, but it depicts a man that forgets to buy Loteria. And the tradition in Spain. And this is something that I have only seen in this country. And remember, I’m Mexican, so I’m not from this, from this country, but I think it just shows so well how society behaves in Spain is Latoria the same number? You know how you have like the series and then you can have the little, the, the smaller pieces from that series are bought amongst families or friends, because the notion is that if one wins, we all win.

So when you see that ad, you will understand why this is so powerful, because this is about a man who, who forgets to buy his loteria ticket and his community wins, and he’s fully devastated because he didn’t get his, his little lotto piece. So while all of his friends are becoming rich, he’s not. And what happens, I’m not gonna tell you. So you have to see the ad!

Pat Murphy:

I’m gonna have to watch it.

Úrsula Mejía Melgar:

It’s just beautiful. And what the reason why I like it and is it’s very human. It conveys a powerful message, but it depicts society at its best. And that’s why I love it.

Pat Murphy:

I’m sure everyone is looking forward to seeing that it’ll be on our website. So Úrsula, I think we both share exactly the same values. I could talk to you all day long. <Laugh>, I wanna say a huge thank you, huge thank you to you for being on our Prodcast today,

Úrsula Mejía Melgar:

Pat, it’s been a pleasure and looking forward to next time. Thank you so much.

Pat Murphy:

I wanna say big thank you to the amazing Úrsula Mejía Melgar for taking time to talk to me today. It’s been a real insight into her world of purpose-led marketing, specifically Diageo, bringing fairness, equality, and sustainability into what we do and how that ladders also into production.

To find out more about the MCA Prodcast, please head to where you’ll find details on all my guests, links to their favourite ads and full transcriptions of all the episodes.

If you’d like to feature on The Prodcast or have any comments, questions, or feedback, please email us

I’m Pat Murphy, CEO of MCA. Do come and connect with us on LinkedIn or Instagram, of which all the links in the notes for this episode will be there. We’d love to hear from you.

Thanks again to Úrsula, my team at MCA and to my production team at What Goes On Media.

Thanks for listening. See you next time.


Úrsula's Favourite Ad