Third in a Series

Creatives out of Their Comfort Zone: Josh Rose

From Digital Group Creative Director at Deutsch to CCO at PR Agency Weber Shandwick

By Published on .

After a successful run as exec VP-digital group creative director at Deutsch, Los Angeles, Josh Rose decided to embark on an adventure into the world of public relations. A few months ago, he was named chief creative officer at Interpublic Group of Cos. sibling Weber Shandwick.

Josh Rose
Josh Rose

In the role, Mr. Rose is using his decade of digital experience to come up with big ideas for clients in what he deems an even faster-paced environment than ad agencies.

Recently, Mr. Rose told us about his first day of work at Weber, what he's up to on Google+ and more.

Ad Age : Going from a creative shop to public relations is an unusual move. Why'd you make the jump?

Mr. Rose: In 2000, when the bottom dropped out a bit with digital agencies and what was happening, a lot of the best thinking was at the ad agencies, but people were talking less about user interface or information architecture. I really loved my experience at an ad agency in terms of thinking about how digital fits into the total brand message. But I really do think PR is starting to own, and in many cases already owning, the content and conversations and community online. I looked into it and was seeing PR agencies asked to the table in meetings I was in. I was like, "Why are the PR agencies now taking over social?" That ability to think about things at the day-to-day tactical level and insert messaging into those things drives online communities.

Ad Age : What is most different about your current role at Weber versus what you did at Deutsch?

Mr. Rose: I'm chief creative officer of multiplatform campaigns. At the ad agency, it's building around paid media. Here it's around earned and owned media. Ultimately, we're doing the same stuff: thinking about who is the audience and what insights we have about them, the product and brand, and creating a platform to build off of digitally. I think about the campaign concept outside of medium-specific tactics. Here, I don't need to think about what the 30-second spot is .

Ad Age : What's been your biggest challenge in stepping into a new segment of the marketing industry?

Mr. Rose: The biggest thing is PR moves very fast. I have to balance this need for quick ideas with the need for insights and interactions expected in big concepts. There's a natural tension between those two things as the agency starts to take on both things. The business is changing. On the first day of work, I got pulled into two different assignments that were due the next day. Not that that doesn't happen at the ad agencies, but it was a very quick jump into cold water.

Ad Age : Aside from yourself, how has creative talent infiltrated the firm?

Mr. Rose: There are a number of people here from ad agencies. There's a cross-pollination happening these days. Also, I have yet to find a Luddite at the agency. It's very unique to be in a place where everyone seems current. Everything happening in the industry disseminates to the entire network quickly. My largest Google+ circle is one labeled Weber Shandwick.

Ad Age : What type of content and engagement are you working on in your new role?

Mr. Rose: What I might have thought of as social media in the past was a Twitter feed around a character. Social media here is a lot different. There are 50 different ways to look at social media depending on industry, what you're trying to do and accomplish. Today we might do a background for a Twitter page. Tomorrow we might respond to a tweet. The next day it might be to come up with a YouTube channel idea, and the next it might be to reach out to a blogger platform and develop a contest.

Ad Age : Are you dealing with fewer or different egos on the PR side than on the traditional creative side?

Mr. Rose: I think PR as an industry has been able to remain a little less ego-filled than most other agencies out there. My sense is they're so used to making things to communicate messages that aren't their own, so they're more humble that way. There's less of that me-centric look at how the work will make us famous.

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