Creative Close–Up: Lucas Sfair, Co-Founder and CD at CANJA Audio Culture
Updated: Sep 23
Okay. Creative Close-Up (aka: CCU) is our new column featuring various people from the international field of creative industries. We're trying to get to know their backgrounds, their inspirations, their takes on creativity, on advertising, on "life" – and other mundane things. We hope these articles are going to be instructive, educational and fun to read. And yes, these texts will be in English, for certain technical reasons (i.e. convenience and practicality mixed with laziness to translate them into Hungarian).
The next person in our series is Lucas Sfair, Co-Founder/Creative Director of CANJA Audio Culture.
Lucas is a born musician. He started to work in advertising as a copywriter – then decided to follow his passion for music, and founded CANJA Audio Culture with Filipe Resende and Edu Karas.
Over the past three years, they have won 32 Cannes Lions - including Titanium, GP for Good, Film Craft: Best Use of Music & SFX, Radio and Creative Effectiveness. In 2017 they produced the 3rd most awarded campaign in the world: The Refugee Nation, with Ogilvy NY, which won Best of Show on One Show. In 2019 CANJA Audio Culture was named “The Music & Sound Company of the Year” at the LIA (London International Awards).
Lucas is the first audio producer who became the President of Paraná’s Creative Club (CCPR). If not producing anything, he's a voice over artist, singer and songwriter.
Where were you born. And why? I was born in Curitiba, capital of Paraná, in Brazil, probably because I'm a lucky guy. I know my hometown is far from being the center of the world's attention, but here I've found just the right people to work and be with: my work partners and most of my collaborators live here and are the best ones to develop our business. They're also the main reason why Canja currently works a lot for the USA and Europe. And, of course, here I've found my wife, my family.
What was your first encounter with creativity?
I remember having fun singing all day long when I was little. It started when I was around six years old and my hobby was writing parodies of my favorite songs. By the way, it still is! So when I grew up I knew that whatever I chose to do as a full time job it had to be about creativity, and that made me get a degree on advertising. What is most important lesson you want to teach your son/daughter?
Know people and know yourself. Go after your dreams and don’t bother everyone around. That’s it. Life can be easy if you work hard. Just be interested in everything, respect everyone and take good decisions that make you happy and don't harm anyone. It’s easy if you try. Wait, that’s what Lennon said.
If you had a time machine, where would you travel? Why?
I would go to the 60s, just to see how I would react to The Beatles and all the unpredictable beatnik stuff that was happening those days. A lot of music experiments were just about to be made. It could have been fun, but I don’t really know how to live without all the technology that we have nowadays.
What has the Covid-quarantine taught you?
That I like being home. I used to take planes every week to São Paulo and also traveled 3 or 4 times per year for festivals around the globe. It's really exciting indeed, but living in your comfort zone isn't that bad all the time. It also thought me that people are closer to each other than they seem to be.
What was the most important lesson you learnt from your mother/father?
My mom likes to help everyone, always making people feel that they are part of the family. She’s a very good host! I think that I may’ve learned something about it.
Who's your favorite hero of fiction?
Spider Man. He’s colors are the same as my soccer team, red and blue, called Paraná. Lately It’s almost a fiction team too, unfortunately.
Sweet or salty? Elvis or The Beatles? Beer or wine?
Salty. Beatles. Beer. Easy! But I love sweet, Elvis and wine too.
The greatest invention in the history of mankind? The trouser pocket is definitely among them. What's the most beautiful word? Yes, WORD. When i was little I watched a cartoon of a cowboy named Lucky Luke. Luke is my name in the English version. I always liked the word Lucky. I will choose this, although there is a Portuguese term called “Saudades” that is very difficult to translate and has a beautiful meaning. It would be something like "I Miss You”, but deeper.
What's your favourite traffic sign?
It is wonderful when the green light of the traffic light comes on. I'm very hyperactive, I don't get along with things that need to wait.
What's your karma?
I think it's having to work too hard for things to work out. Amazing how everything requires a lot more effort than it seemed to work out in the end. At the age of 20 I released a musical album and I thought that from there the success would come. I spent the last 10 years making music every day and now, at 30, despite many achievements that I am proud of, every day is a new challenge. We don't even have time to celebrate our victories right, because on the same day we are already in a new war.
What do you consider a mile-stone/defining moment in the history of advertising? The moment that most defines advertising is always tomorrow. That's why the industry debates so much about trends and formats all the time. We’re always on the move and it’s funny to think that a few years ago the Offline and Online world was so divided by the creatives. It looks like what’s happening today between Health & Pharma and other categories. There is a Health agency called Area23 winning a lot of awards in the main categories, such as innovation. In short, it may be that we are undergoing a historic transformation now.
The most boring thing in the world?
When I was a kid the most boring thing in the world was my big sister. Now she is super sweet to me. Nowadays, the production deadlines reminds me of my big sister when I was younger.
Is there a defining moment in your own carreer?
I started my career as a copywriter at an agency. Everything I touched became a jingle. But the productions weren’t so cool, so I thought I could get better results if I did it by myself. I dreamed about becoming the next Washington Olivetto, but I gave that up to start my own company. It sounds simple, but I know how deep that moment was. After that, another key moment for the success of CANJA Audio Culture was the project The Refugee Nation, by Ogilvy NY, which won 19 Cannes Lions in 2017. We were responsible for the anthem and all the case studies. It designed us as an international music production company and it was super important to me.
Finish the sentence: For me creativity is...
… an art and a science. it can be applied in several areas, from laboratories to constructions. It’s about seeing something different from than usual, be it a solution or even a problem. after all, all solutions begin with a problem. and we need to be good observers to see them. but creativity is very broad. a painting may not solve the practical problem in someone's life, but it can make you feel something you've never felt before. creativity is a tool to manipulate and provoke emotions. That’s why I love music: I believe it is art all the time, even if they say that advertising is not art.