You might call BBH N.Y. Creative Director Jesse Juriga a bit of a scammer. He landed his first job in advertising at Droga5 after telling a little fib while he was a student at Creative Circus to Droga5 Exec Creative Director Ted Royer. "He did the 'come-by-the agency-if-you-are-ever-in town' thing," he says. "I lied and said I was going to be in New York a few days later. I used the last of my student loans to book a flight to NYC to meet with him. Luckily for me, one of the art directors was on vacation and Ted asked me to help out."
Then, Juriga showed his masochistic colors. "It was my birthday, and I worked all day until 2 a.m.," he says. "They hired me a month later."
He went on to work on much of the agency's memorable work for Puma, including the Cannes Film Craft Grand Prix-winning "After Hours Athlete" which introduced Puma's new kind of competitor--the night owl. "I had the privilege of working with [fellow Droga5 creatives] Amanda Clelland, Tim Gordon and Kevin Brady on that project," he says. "We were very sensitive to making sure it felt like something the viewer already knew and had experienced sometime in life--in order to remove the cynicism that usually comes with nightlife work. The stars aligned and [director] Ringan Ledwidge worked his magic."
Last year, Juriga joined BBH New York, where he's helped to make Google one of the brand world's best storytellers with the waterworks-inducing campaign "The Web is What You Make of It," featuring spots such as "Dear Sophie," based on a real Google employee's personal project for his daughter, and the uplifting "It Gets Better," showcasing journalist Dan Savage's eponymous project to send messages of hope to LGBT teens.
"Real people are doing amazing things with the open web every day," Juriga says. "The challenge is to share their stories in real, authentic ways that express what it means to be alive in 2012." As for which is his favorite, "I have a soft spot for 'Sophie,' but I still claim somebody is chopping onions behind me every time I watch 'It Gets Better,'" he says. "When 'It Gets Better' aired on TV for the first time the entire team watched it together," he recalls. "I don't think I took a breath for 90 seconds. To be able to translate such a basic human idea into a feeling, I was more proud than I had ever been. People were chopping onions all over the place."
Today, Juriga continues his work on Google Chrome--and remains inspired by the people around him. "When I am with people I love and respect, I'm going to do my best because they want me to succeed and I want them to succeed," he says. "It's the best cycle to be trapped in. I'm lucky enough to have had that at Droga5, and to have it again with my awesome team at BBH."
Jesse Juriga-More to Know:
On collaborating with Google Creative Lab:
Collaboration is the perfect word. They are by no means a client, but a true partner. There are no "Don Draper" presentations where we unveil ideas. It's a conversation that turns into work. We have each other on speed dial. . .or speed-gchat.
A kid from India found his mother after being separated from her after 15 years or something by using Google Maps! There's a guy out there PRINTING human tissue! I can see my nieces and nephews every day by clicking a button on a phone! Ryan Gosling is real! Humans are awesome. I think it's pretty great to be alive right now.
What He Does for Fun, Outside of the Job:
I wish I could say I design furniture or play in a band in some Bushwick basement, but that just isn't true. I'm a social beast. My favorite place in the world is anywhere my friends are. So I do that. I hang out with my amazing boyfriend. I talk about reality television. I drink coffee and walk around the neighborhood. I listen to music too loud for my own good.
What keeps him creatively recharged:
If He Weren't in Advertising:
I'd still be telling stories, probably as a history teacher--which I'm pretty sure I will do eventually.
Little Known Fact:
Dr. Sanjay Gupta, on two occasions, has confused me for his kids' babysitter.
Check out the full list of Creativity's 2012 Creatives You Should Know.
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