My name is Gregorio Urbina. I was born and raised in Costa Rica but professionally I would say that I grew up in Chicago. I spent 8 years there at agencies both big (FCB, Arc Worldwide, Y&R) and boutique (Ten35, common ground), before taking a blind leap across the pond to Amsterdam last year. I had never been before moving here, but its siren song of creativity and diversity had been calling me for years.
Freelancing here has been interesting. From what I can tell the government does try to help freelancers, but the tools that they provide are all in Dutch and my 101 language level is not equipped to take advantage of them. However, I think that weakness has probably been my strongest edge over the rest of the local freelancers. I may not have much more than passable Dutch, but I have more than a decade of professional experience in English. That means I can help clients out if they don’t want to settle for Denglish (Dutch English, which is definitely a thing). So far, most of what I’ve done here has been longer copy (website overhauls and blog posts for example), which tend to be the kind of remote projects I prefer at this time. It allows me to work from wherever so I can make my daily workspace a different corner of the city (or continental Europe for that matter).
From my portfolio, I would say that I’m most proud of the Live Holiday Card for two reasons. From a creative standpoint, it was a low-cost, quick-to-execute, unique solution to a brief every creative has had to deal with before: the agency Christmas card. Personally, it felt like a moral win because it initially received more naysaying than support. However, as my partner and I fought for it, enthusiasm grew and by the end, everyone was onboard and brainstorming ways to make it bigger the following year as an agency staple clients could look forward to.
Currently, I’m working with Ten35 in Chicago on Courvoisier USA’s social media presence. They’re trying to target a younger, more millennial audience and are shifting ATL dollars to Instagram. I’m helping them define their strategy, voice and approach, developing a posting calendar and crafting the actual copy.
Right now I’m thrilled to be in Amsterdam, but I know that repatriation to Costa Rica is in the cards. Time will tell when that happens.