What is the most creative advertising idea you’ve seen recently?
I’m a total weirdo, so I love OVH’s No Nut November campaign. It’s incredibly niche, creative and bold. When brands tap into a cultural phenomenon that is completely unrelated to their product, and find a connection, it always provides great results. The casting, the tonal direction, the delivery and even the voice casting of the mascot is all aligned. I’m surprised the brand was willing to take this risk, but I think it pays off really well. They also did a fantastic job of expanding the campaign with a website and financial incentives to well… nut.
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What website(s) do you use most regularly?
Reddit! My morning routine is checking various subreddits for my various hobbies/news over a cup of coffee, and I consistently lean on peoples’ expertise to solve all of life’s problems. What is this thing on my dog? How do I take down this load-bearing wall? Where can I source Japanese candy in Wisconsin? I don’t even live in Wisconsin. Strangers arguing on the internet can sometimes provide the best answers.
What’s the most recent piece of tech that you’ve bought?
Is it wrong of me to say a Disney Magic band for an upcoming Florida trip, so I can escape the crippling realities of life by jumping head first into the false safety of an imaginary world where mice are the size of men, twenty-eight dollars for a hamburger is normalised, and the notion of unions and economic stability for workers doesn’t exist? Ugh, but I’m excited…
What product could you not live without?
I’m a big fan of huffing various scents throughout the day as a calming element – I know I sound like a fucking nutjob. Maybe ‘smelling’ is better word choice. But the eucalyptus extract from Plant Therapy keeps me sane. I put that stuff in a diffuser constantly, or on a cotton ball in a plastic bag. If I’m feeling overwhelmed, I just take a minute, smell some eucalyptus. or nutmeg, and I’m in a better mental state. I learned how to use aromatherapy during chemo treatments, and it just stuck ever since.
What’s the best film you’ve seen over the last year?
It’s not new, but I recently rewatched Addams Family and Addams Family Values back-to-back, and I forgot how hard a 90s Barry Sonnenfeld movie can hit. They are so twisted in their jokes. Those girl scout cookies… are they made from real girl scouts?
What film do you think everyone should have seen?
This answer will always be Clue. Movies tend to come and go in my mind, but I think this film is the perfect amalgam of absurdity and entertainment. It’s so mindless, yet clever. Mysterious, yet understandable. Comedies thrive with ensemble casts, where everyone takes turns playing the straight person and the funny person. It has three different endings! How many films can claim that? And it’s full of these blunt, flat one liners that remind us films used to be full of concentrated jokes versus weaving nonsensical improv. Supposedly, the only improvised line in the whole film is Clue "flames on the side of my face" piece. If you know, you know.
What’s your preferred social media platform?
I still get the most out of Instagram, and having two accounts helps. My personal account gives me updates on the cool stuff my friends are doing, whereas my business account gives me a great daily update of new ads out in the world. It’s important to limit your time on social media, so I restrict Instagram to pooping time. Hashtag full transparency.
What’s your favourite TV show?
Over the past few years, it’s been I Think You Should Leave. I wish ads would go as far as some of those sketches… if only brands weren’t so scared of taking risks. Tim Robinson weaves nonsensical plots into solid jokes. When I’m pouring water on my steak at a nice restaurant, and I lock eyes with another patron doing the same, it feels like we’re in the same cult. Or when a naked body falls out of a coffin at a funeral, I’m reminded they ain’t got no soul.
What’s your favourite podcast?
I’m obsessed with Oren Kaplan’s Just Shoot It podcast because of the candour and wide variety of guests. I’ve yet to find another podcast that talks about the ins and outs of commercial directing with some really great anecdotes. They are very silly boys. A close second is Flightless Bird, where New Zealander David Farrier breaks down overtly American things… our obsession with water bottles, barbecue, or haunted houses.
What show/exhibition has most inspired you recently?
Bit of an odd choice here, but we go to house tours all the time here in Pittsburgh, our hometown, to explore various types of architecture, and to just observe how other people live. We recently did a house tour in the Mexican War Streets, an unusual neighbourhood in Pittsburgh that looks like you’re in Brooklyn. Some of the architecture styles were so unique, and we always glean a ton of decorating ideas for our own home.
If you could only listen to one music artist from now on, who would it be?
I’m a child of rap through and through, so I could put any Busta Ryhmes track on repeat and be perfectly content. His energy is such a vibe. I secretly know WAY too many lyrics to most of his songs. If you look at me, a 5’8” white dude dressed like a nerd, you’d never know I grew up ONLY listening to hip-hop. I’ll never forget playing a track of his for my Jewish mother when I was 13 and she was like, "That’s fun… that man talks very fast."
If there was one thing you could change about the advertising industry, what would it be?
Accessibility and secrecy; 100%. It feels like there are still a lot of industry standards for agencies and production companies, that a lot of small to midsized places/people don’t know about. Things like AICP bid forms, bid letters, director pitch decks… you learn all of those elements from on-the-job training and execution, but I wish I had more experience with those in my early 20s. A lot of us can’t afford marketing degrees, yet have a lot to contribute to this creative industry. Certain elements are so standardised, so why not just break down the mystery of how to use those tools?
Who or what has most influenced your career?
I was raised to not take life too seriously, so I think witnessing and absorbing the absurdity of the world around me has most affected my career choices. Life is so weird! Nothing makes sense. And it took me a long time to embrace comedy as the track I wanted for myself, but I’m happy I went in this direction.
Tell us one thing about yourself that most people won’t know.
I’m obsessed with roller coasters, and travel the world for them. I love the stats, the design, the look, and of course the ride! We’re called ‘coaster enthusiasts’ and this hobby permeates every facet of life. I’m also fascinated with theme park design, but coasters are at the core of this. I’ve yet to have my love of coasters and advertising intersect however... hint hint.