S’more product lead & Ad Club honoree Regina Guinto on the influencer-fueled future

Interview by for The DRUM

Regina Guinto, head of product design at dating app S’More, has been named one of the Advertising People of the Year by the Advertising Club of New York. Guinto opens up about building a career she’s proud of, finding inspiration and mapping the future of the marketing industry.

Every year, the Advertising Club of New York, often abbreviated as Ad Club, honors some of the top talent in the industry in its ‘Advertising People of the Year’ awards. As part of this year’s honors, S’more head of product design Regina Guinto has received the ‘Young Pro’ award.

Guinto spent the early part of her career with ad platform Jun Group, where she started as an account coordinator. Over the course of six years, she worked her way up the ranks, eventually taking the helm as director of creative strategy. In this role, she worked with major clients including McDonald’s and Fendi to design digital ad experiences. Guinto also led creative strategy for Jun Group's two sister companies, mobile marketing platform HyprMX Mobile and digital consulting and data management firm APG, before taking on her current role at the dating app startup S’More.

The Drum caught up with Guinto about fostering diversity, the future of influencer marketing and what marketers can learn from Tom Brady.

What do you consider your biggest professional achievement? What do you think put you on the road to receiving Ad Club’s ‘Young Pro’ award?

I’m most proud of the inclusive and diverse teams I’ve hired and surrounded myself with. My colleagues are from all walks of life — different countries, cultures, those without formal higher education, those making a career change, veterans and so on.

Everyone brings a fresh perspective. Diversity of thought is key for business growth. I think that growing up as a first-generation American and a minority has given me that empathy to advocate for the underdog, the new talent, the quieter voices.

A diverse workforce is still not the norm, so we need to keep having these conversations and keep supporting each other.

What advice would you offer to younger marketing and advertising professionals interested in pursuing a similar career to yours?

Growth takes time, so don’t feel like you need to land that ‘dream job’ right away. Career paths are rarely linear. I needed a few years of experience before I realized what I wanted to do.

Each role will help you figure out your strengths and weaknesses — so stay curious, be open to new ideas, and you’ll find out where you excel as time goes on.

And don’t forget to value every single person who comes along your path. You never know when you might run into each other — maybe next time they’ll be a client, partner, or potential employer! Keep in touch and be kind to everyone.

What inspires you?

I’m inspired by the level of creativity coming from the next generation of artists on TikTok, Instagram [and other platforms]. We’re in a creative-first world where creating content, videos and sharing personal stories has truly become mainstream — with new design platforms and trends popping up every day. As a designer, it keeps me on my toes and consistently motivates me to learn, improve and evolve my skills.

Can you share one big prediction for the future of our industry?

It’s super exciting to watch influencer marketing evolve, and I believe we’re heading into a future where everyone will be an influencer in some capacity. But if everyone has one million followers on TikTok and becomes an influencer, then that would mean no one is actually an influencer.

Brands will have to adjust and figure out a way to vet for and work with authentic people. Maybe that means working with people who are IRL influencers. Maybe that means figuring out a new way to measure engagement and new success metrics. Whatever it is, I hope it’ll bring back some of the authenticity that can be lacking in social media today.

What’s one thing — whether personal or professional — that may surprise people to learn about you?

I’m a huge sports fan. From football and basketball to tennis and gymnastics, I truly love watching and learning from all types of athletes. Sports culture can get a bad rap in the creative field, but if you take the time to appreciate what these men and women are able to push themselves to do, you really learn so much.

And no, I may never have the athletic or mental strength that Tom Brady has to stage a fourth-quarter comeback in the Super Bowl, but I can apply that train of thinking to my professional and personal goals. Success and positive results always come from hard work, consistency and a dash of fearlessness.

For more about the Advertising People of the Year awards, click here.