What’s the most creative advertising idea you’ve seen recently?

Maximum Effort’s Groundhog Lay’s spot was just good, smart creative. First, it’s a commercial, with the product line front and centre, and makes no bones about that in the hook. I loved the way it perverts the rule of repetition, and while four minutes is an outlandish run time, the spot is committed to the conceit, and that’s what makes it good, rather than just amusing. Plus, it’s Ned Ryerson!!

Lays – Happy Groundhog Lay’s

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What website(s) do you use most regularly?

Aquarium Drunkard is a great music journal for both serious heads and people like me, who like to sniff around a bunch of different things. Their mixtapes are also really good, especially the Japanese stuff. The DielineCreative Boom and Design Week for visual stimulation. My favourite rags have gotten too absurd with the political nonsense (New York Post, I loved you so). I have relegated myself to because it’s the only way to keep my blood pressure down. 

What’s the most recent piece of tech that you’ve bought?

I bought a pilates barrel for the office. It’s not computer tech, let’s call it body tech. Our space is small, but beckons to us in the moments where we’ve spent too much time slumped over our laptops. There’s not much to it, but it’s surprisingly versatile. You can stretch, strengthen, work on mobility, break a sweat or just hang over it and feel your spine decompress. It solves all kinds of problems. 

What product could you not live without?

Black breakfast tea. 

What’s the best film you’ve seen over the last year?

I saw plenty of Films with a capital F, but the movie I enjoyed the most was Champions. I saw it on a whim and hoped I would like it, but I loved every second. I’m a sucker for a sports movie with heart and underdogs. I think I punched the air with my fist at one point. 

What film do you think everyone should have seen?

Sunset Boulevard. Not only is it wildly entertaining, it is many things at once - noir, horror, satire, tragedy, camp - and it fires on all cylinders. The experience of watching it feels barely under control, except that it is delivered with such total creative mastery and guts by everyone involved; Wilder, Holden, Swanson, even the damn butler.  

What’s your preferred social media platform?

Instagram. Who needs privacy when you can keep up with your friends, and there is so much dog content? 

What’s your favourite TV show?

I love TV so much that this question feels actually cruel. I will say that I watched the first season of ER again with my daughters recently, and it is a perfect season of television. We fought about the motives of Peter Benton and the morals of Doug Ross just like I did with my friends in 1994, and Love’s Labor Lost [season one, episode 19] was even more shattering than I remember. 

What’s your favourite podcast?

Sound Opinions. I fell in love with Greg Kot and Jim Derogatis, two Chicago rock critics, from the first time I stumbled on their show in the early 2000s on WFUV and they were eviscerating the new Killers record. They both have serious journalistic chops but they don’t come off like know-it-alls. They just love music, and it is contagious. 

What show/exhibition has most inspired you recently?

I am a big fan of Barnaby Furnas, and my dream is to get a biggie of his for the shop. On the flip side, his latest show at Marianne Boesky showed a more intimate and introspective side to his work, which was wonderful. 

If you could only listen to one music artist from now on, who would it be?

Whether I live one more day or 50 more years, I’d have to go with Bob Dylan. There’s 60-plus years of music, including a tonne of stuff he did with other artists, so it’s a pragmatic choice in a way. I don’t love all of it, but even if I’m only crazy for 40% of it, 40% is certainly better than most anything else, and 20% of it is just baffling, so I would never be bored. Plus, you get the breadth: a holiday record, jazz standards, Christian rock if I ever find myself 'saved' and, of course, folk, rock and country. 

If there was one thing you could change about the advertising industry, what would it be?

This business is too hard to break into. I’d like to see more programs like D&AD Shift (btw if you are reading this, D&AD, we’ve reached out and would love a ping back), that create points of entry and attracts people of all different backgrounds. 

Who or what has most influenced your career?

I’ve tried my hand at a bunch of different stuff over the years. The voice I hear in my head most consistently is André Balazs [above], who was my boss many years ago. He’s a hotelier and I work in advertising, but I’ve carried forward many (definitely not all) of the principles that made working with him unique. First, experience is at the core of any offering that matters. Think it through, for real. Second, value relationships over service, over most anything, but try to provide both. Third, if you’re not going to tend to the details with intense exactitude, don’t bother. Lastly, pick the best and most interesting people you can find and create an original environment for them to work in together.

Tell us one thing about yourself that most people won’t know.

I am pretty extroverted about my New York-ness, so not many people know that I was born in the Philippines and came to the US when I was three-years-old. My mother emigrated to New York from Manila after she married my father, and they had my two sisters before me, so I was born a US citizen but, no matter where I am, I always feel like I came from somewhere else. I was watching the reboot of Mr. & Mrs. Smith the other day and there’s a moment where Maya Erskine’s Jane says to Donald Glover’s John, “I always thought I was white to you.” To which he says, “I only say that because it bothers you.” And she says, “It bothers me. It bothers me.” It’s a short exchange, an aside really, but seeing it play out on a screen struck me like a bow and arrow.