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IHAVEANIDEA.ORG > articles >  Ten Years of IHAVEANIDEA: Toasts and Roasts from Everybody Not Named Ignacio


Ten Years of IHAVEANIDEA: Toasts and Roasts from Everybody Not Named Ignacio

Posted on September 29, 2011 and read 3,249 times

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Back in the fall of 2001, a plucky Costa Rican kid with an unusual name and little more than big dreams started something called “ihaveanidea” in the frigid enclave of Toronto, Canada. His mission was simple: to change the advertising industry for the better.

Who would’ve thought it would last this long and go so far?

Today IHAVEANIDEA is bigger and better than ever, with a worldwide reach, a phenomenal Portfolio Night, its own global award show in the Tomorrow Awards, the Giant Hydra project and more. Ignacio Oreamuno, that Costa Rican kid, is still hard at work. So hard, we’re not even sure he realized it’s been going on for ten years.

With that in mind, the IHAVEANIDEA team took it upon itself to reach out to our friends and supporters over this past decade and get their memories and well wishes for the journey so far…

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nat small Ten Years of IHAVEANIDEA: Toasts and Roasts from Everybody Not Named IgnacioNat Salguiero
Editor/Content Manager
IHAVEANIDEA


I was fortunate enough to meet Ignacio before IHAVEANIDEA was even a twinkle in his eye. I admit I found him a little intimidating at first; the tall, foreign guy sitting in the opposite corner of our ad school class, who had already lived in countries I had to yet to visit, spoke at least three or four languages and always had the right, creative answer that the teachers were looking for. Basically, he was the younger version of  the smart, quick-witted guy we know today.

After awhile I began to hear about a website he was rumoured to be working on. Of course there was a bit of buzz with our other classmates; here’s that same guy building from scratch what, for most people, was a very complex thing. I think we all seriously started to wonder if this guy could do just about anything.

And then one day I heard the now infamous “YOOOOOOUUUUU’RRRRE FFFFIIIRRREDDDD” in the unmistakable voice of Yosemite Sam. Old IHAVEANIDEA readers may remember it was the “Boss” video that was on the very first IHAI main page.  It was on that fateful day, on our way to the TTC, that Ignacio turned to me and out of the blue asked “Hey, I’m making a website, want to join?”.

That video gave way to ASK JANCY, A Night with Neil French, nine Portfolio Nights that have gone by in a blur, Schmoozes and trips to award shows.

But IHAVEANIDEA isn’t just made by some mad programmer listening to Metallica into the wee hours of the morning. It’s made by us, the advertising community. From all of the young creatives that we’ve helped and (I hope) inspired over the years along a sometimes bumpy road, to the great and generous advertising leaders, legends and “soon-to-be’s” from all corners of the globe.

Honestly, I can’t even remember a time when Ignacio and IHAVEANIDEA haven’t been part of my adult (I use this term loosely) life. He’s not just the cool kid with the accent in the corner anymore. I think that everyone who knows or is acquainted with Ignacio can agree that he’s touched us in some special (but not naughty) way. Not only has he shared his passion, drive, joy and vision with us, he has also shared a decade of friendship.

The moral of this story is: if a Costa Rican randomly asks you to “join his website” in the middle of a busy Toronto street, do it. It just might change your life.

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Nancy Vonk and Janet Kestin, Co-Founders of Swim and former Co-Chief Creative Officers of Ogilvy Toronto. Most IHAVEANIDEA fans know Nancy and Janet as “Jancy”, stars of IHAVEANIDEA’s long-running advice column “Ask Jancy.” Fewer know that they were Ignacio’s first bosses in the ad world.


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Dale Roberts, AKA The Cranky Writer. Dale was the very first person interviewed in IHAVEANIDEA’s Creatives section. Old school IHAVEANIDEA fans will also remember him as “Dr. Ad”, who ran a column geared to helping students and juniors improve the work in their portfolios.


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Terry O’Reilly is the Founder of Pirate Radio & Television, and one of the most esteemed radio copywriters in the world. Pirate was one of IHAVEANIDEA’s very first sponsors, and its King Street East studios played host to the Toronto leg of the very first Portfolio Night.


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Brian Howlett is the Chief Creative Officer of Agency 59. A long-time IHAVEANIDEA fan, Brian and his agency helped create IHAVEANIDEA’s first ever student competition. The winners were announced at the very first Portfolio Night.


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Paul Lavoie is the Chairman of TAXI, and a long-time friend and supporter of IHAVEANIDEA. TAXI’s Vancouver office once hosted Portfolio Night, and the entire TAXI network put Giant Hydra through the paces in its early stages.

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brendan small Ten Years of IHAVEANIDEA: Toasts and Roasts from Everybody Not Named IgnacioBrendan Watson
Educational Director
IHAVEANIDEA


Meeting Ignacio seems like a lifetime ago. Back in 2002 had I stumbled upon a little website called ihaveanidea. There was something about the scratchy logo and the green-on-black type that the site had in those days that really drew me in.

At the time, IHAVEANIDEA was looking for an “Events Editor”, somebody to cover the local award shows, workshops and social gatherings. Being a recent grad without an agency to call my own, I emailed the company with the hopes of getting into all of the best industry parties. I was blown away when I promptly received a reply from the company’s President himself, asking me to meet at a local coffee shop the following day.

I arrived early at the coffee shop that day, wearing a freshly pressed shirt and carrying a copy of my resume. Nervously I waited for the man with the funny name to arrive. “This interview could change my life,” I thought… and it did, when a Spanish man wearing a Hawaiian shirt and the shortest shorts I’ve seen sat down next to me. This was Ignacio Oreamuno, the President of IHAVEANIDA. Sure, he wasn’t the Brooks Brothers power suit wearing President I had imagined, but what he was pitching wasn’t either. He plainly stated “I’m going to change the industry. Do you want to help?”

I soon realized that IHAVEANIDEA was basically just Ignacio. There was no office, there was no staff. It was just a guy with a dream, who was looking to build a small army to bring it to life. I don’t know if I was mesmerized by the pattern on his shirt or what, but I signed up. There was something so honest, insightful and clear about his mission that I had to go along. And honestly, I haven’t looked back since.

Ignacio always said that he wanted those who volunteered with the project to get out as much they put into it. However, I’m indebted to him and IHAVEANIDEA because I believe I received way more back than I ever put in. Through Ignacio’s mentoring nature and desire to help people, I got my first big break, and I couldn’t have done it without him.

Ignacio is a constant source of inspiration, and a reminder that we don’t need anyone’s permission to create the industry we want to work in. He’s the President and Founder of something that will always have a special place in my heart, but more importantly he’s my friend.

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Mariano Favetto is an artist and film director in Buenos Aires. During IHAVEANIDEA’s early years, Mariano was the CCO of Saatchi & Saatchi Canada. A HUGE supporter of IHAVEANIDEA, Mariano could often be seen wearing IHAVEANIDEA T-shirts which he had customized with his own illustrations.

Mariano is also responsible for the intro image at the top of the page. Seen here in better detail, the image is an amalgam of Ignacio, David Ogilvy, Che Guevara, Don Draper, Janet and Nancy, Neil French and the IHAVEANIDEA team.


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Alek von Felkerzam is a Senior Art Director in Toronto. Back in 2003, he was the star of IHAVEANIDEA’s “The Alek Journals”, where he was given 30 days to land his first advertising job. IHAVEANIDEA fans around the world followed Alek’s every move and musing, from updating his portfolio to planning and executing crazy stunts to get the attention of creative directors — all done in a pre-Twitter/Facebook/Foursquare/YouTube era.


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Michelle Planche is the Executive Director of Paradigm Events. From Portfolio Night to the various parties and screenings IHAVEANIDEA held in its early years, Michelle’s expertise and experience was crucial to our success, and she remains a close friend of Ignacio and IHAVEANIDEA to this very day.


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Martin Ouellette is the Founder and Creative Director of Commun in Montreal. When IHAVEANIDEA first moved operations from Toronto to “La Belle Province”, Martin quite literally put a roof over our heads until we found a place of our own. Martin’s hospitality knows no bounds, and he remains a close friend of IHAVEANIDEA.

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heidi49 Ten Years of IHAVEANIDEA: Toasts and Roasts from Everybody Not Named IgnacioHeidi Ehlers
Founder
BLACK BAG Career Central


While I was also invited to create a short video, I’m not an actress, I’m a writer.

To this date, you still hold First Prize for the most compelling and inspiring cold call, that ended with me WANTING to meet you.
Of all the cold calls I have received, yours is still the best.

To this date, you have made me make one of my Top Three most difficult business decisions.

To this date, you and your team have astonished me with your consistently “right on for right now” ideas.

To this date, I am proud to have been your first ever (unsolicited) sponsor.
What I saw then, I still see now.

I wish you and your team and everyone involved with ihai, a Happy Re-Birthday.

Happy 10th Re-Birth Day to You.

I say Re-Birth because in the past ten years, I have seen ihai, evolve, change, relaunch, reinvent and be re-born many times.

I’m sure you’ll continue to evolve and grow and inspire us with your energy, enthusiasm, intelligence and excitement for our industry.

Happy Happy.
I wish you all the best.
Always have, and always will.

_________________________


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Rick Boyko is the Director of the VCU Brandcenter, IHAVEANIDEA’s longest continuous sponsor. Much more than this, Rick has been a tremendous friend to Ignacio and the team, and has opened so many doors for IHAVEANIDEA over the years. Eick also does an excellent job of making fun of Ignacio, and vice versa.


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Steve Hayden is the Vice-Chairman of Ogilvy Worldwide, and one half of the team who created Apple’s “1984″ spot, AKA the greatest ad ever made. Steve has been a long-time fan and supporter of IHAVEANIDEA (even before we covered him and Lee Clow at adchemistry back in ’05) and was instrumental in rallying the Ogilvy troops to make Portfolio Night 8 take place in an astounding 39 cities around the world.


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Rei Inamoto is the Chief Creative Officer of AKQA and the first ever Chair of the Monster Judges of the Tomorrow Awards. Through that intense but oh so fun ordeal, Rei has become a great friend to Ignacio and IHAVEANIDEA — so great he can make a video filled with non-PC inside jokes entirely in Japanese.


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And now for something completely different: Ted Royer, ECD of Droga5; Joe Sciarrotta, CCO of Ogilvy Chicago; and Luke “Hey Whipple!” Sullivan, all IHAVEANIDEA fans in their own way.


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And well, it just wouldn’t be a proper look back at the last ten years of IHAVEANIDEA without a word from Neil French: advertising legend, author, raconteur, and not the biggest fan of the city of Toronto.

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brettcreditpic Ten Years of IHAVEANIDEA: Toasts and Roasts from Everybody Not Named IgnacioBrett McKenzie
Chief Writer, SBN2
ihaveanidea


I vividly remember the first time I met this Ignacio guy. It was back in late 2002. I was still in ad school at the time, but that particular day I was volunteering at an industry event, registering people at the door as they arrived.

“Hello, my name is Ignacio Or-r-r-reamuno.”

I raised an eyebrow. Now that’s not the kind of name you hear everyday, even here in multicultural Toronto. I half-expected to be whisked off to some island to have my fantasies fulfilled. I took a mental note and then continued on with my duties.

The very next day I was back at school, working just outside of the open door of the program director’s office, when I heard a familiar Montelbanesque voice coming from within. Sure enough, a few minutes later, the same guy I had met the day before came out. We recognized each other and introduced ourselves. It turned out that this Ignacio guy was talking to our professor about this website that he had started called ihaveanidea. I had heard of it, but it was still in its very early stages at the time. Ignacio told his goal of creating an archive of knowledge for ad industry types to add to and learn from, and asked if I was interested in helping out.

“Yeah, yeah, sure,” I said, in as non-committal a tone as I could muster.

We kept in touch, but nothing was really asked of me, and I never saw Ignacio again until the following February at the very first Portfolio Night. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but when I arrived at the King Street East location with my book under my arm that frosty evening, I was blown away by what I saw. It wasn’t just all of these awesome CDs to meet, it was having the ambiguity of Ignacio’s vision crystallize before my very eyes.

Towards the end of that evening, we chatted about having me help out with the site. My “yeah, yeah, sure” was a lot more genuine this time around, and two days later I was behind the scenes at the judging of the Bessies.

Fast forward to today, and ihaveanidea has grown to “just this thing” to a globally renowned industry resource, particularly among young people. We’ve travelled the world – including the Clios, D&AD and multiple trips to Cannes – and met so many legends that we can now call friends. We’ve helped thousands of young creatives get their first chance to shine via Portfolio Night, and have been plagued by the ihaveanidea Travel Curse more times than I can remember. And while I give a big hats off to my longtime colleagues Nat and Brendan, past ihaveanidea-ers like Mimi, Jay, Stephanie and Rafik, and newer ones like Alfred, Sean and Brianna, none of this would’ve been possible without the vision, determination, and yes, friendship, of Ignacio.

I guess making fantasies a reality wasn’t too far off the mark.

Cheers to ten years.

_________________________


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And finally, Ignacio’s original junior partner and boss… his brother and his mom.

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Want to send your own kudos and memories to Ignacio and the team? Post them below in the comments section, or write to Ignacio directly at ignacio@ihaveanidea.org





  • Anonymous

    Over 10 years ago some unknown, charming guy named Ignacio called me up out of the blue and literally said ” I have an idea”. 
    I can honestly say that this site changed my life (and career) in so many ways. Congratulations to all of you. Wishing you nothing but success and happiness always.
    Ronnie Lebow


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