'WE DO NOT SEPARATE ADVERTISING FROM LIFE' JORDAN MCGRATH'S EXECUTIVE CREATIVE DIRECTOR DESCRIBES THE JOY OF WORKING IN "AN INTIMATE PLACE, A PLACE OF TEAMS, OF FRIENDS, OF MENTORS..."

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Some things change.

Agencies do not stay the same.

They just get so old there's no one left to remember.

I am old enough to remember.

I knew Helmut Krone.

I know Pat McGrath and Gene Case intimately.

I can talk to them.

They still work here.

Gene has taken sabbaticals.

Pat has taken vacations.

No one has taken a powder.

I myself have been here for 23 years.

A young freelancer with a big belly (now a first-year medical student at Harvard).

Time flies.

I have done my best work here.

Not only in the creation of advertising but in the creation of a functional workplace.

One where wisdom, humanity and intelligence reign.

Where great teamwork is the norm.

As is trust and mutual admiration.

I did not do this alone.

Gene, Jim and me.

JMCP has a creative philosophy that is not just a creative philosophy, it is a human one.

We do not separate advertising from life.

When Gene Case ran this creative department

there was great and natural emphasis on smart.

The people were smart. The work was smart.

The solutions were elegant in their intelligence.

There was high wit in the halls.

When Jim Jordan ran this creative department,

the word was words. The fewer the better.

Jim loved to hit you in the head with language.

A slap with a powerfully turned phrase.

If you liked it, you liked it.

If you didn't, you still couldn't forget it.

Jim showed no mercy.

I have nothing to subtract.

Smart is what I have always been "too" for my own good.

Words are what I write,

and I couldn't do that without them.

But I have been a human being long enough

to know that emotions are more powerful than reason.

That the feelings evoked are more powerful than the sum

of the images and words that evoke them.

Think biological imperative.

Think huge and endless.

Think intimacy. Think connection.

Think love. Think war. Think passion. Think sex.

I have been a human being long enough

to know you have to know

what is style and what is substance.

And how to use style to sell substance.

And how to outlive style.

How to trade it in for what is fresh and functional.

Again and again. Otherwise, it's Hi! And bye.

I am not kidding around.

I have been in advertising all of my adult life.

I believe in all the things I have said.

In teamwork. In love. In honor and honesty. In connection.

In the benevolent use of power.

In passion. In the power of intelligence. In the power of empathy.

I did not know or believe all of this when I was 20.

Home of the

I have been called brave.

But, like a certain breed of creatives, I have always been too afraid to be anything else.

There is nothing we hate more than bad work.

And there is nothing we fear more than doing it.

A good creative director teaches.

By example. By explanation. By brute force.

People don't line up to listen. A creative department is a little like a nursery.

Everyone wants to "do it myself." The impossible job has always been

to give people a reason to listen. I like impossible jobs.

This is not a little shop of horrors.

JMCP is an intimate place.

A place of teams. Of friends

A place of mentors and mentees.

A place of rolled-up shirt sleeves, two of which are mine.

The creative director of this place still creates. What needs to be done, we all do.

And often we do it together. "Gasp."

But then who gets the credit? Who cares.

Advertising is, after all, an anonymous business

full of people yelling "look at me, look at me."

It is not always a pretty picture.

JMCP does not run on fear.

We do not compete with each other.

We compete with our competitors.

As some psychologically astute person once said,

"There's enough competition when there's no competition."

I think it was me.

An advertising agency is not a free country.

There are consequences to our actions. How far can you go?

How hard can you push? How long can you plead your case?

Where can you take a brand that has never been there before?

On Sesame Street, they call it sharing.

If we are not our clients' friends, who are we, and why should they bother?

Creative work is not done by a creative department alone.

Clients know their products better than we do. This is why they need us.

We are in this together.

If you ignore, you will be defeated.

If you disdain, you will be defeated.

If you do not see this as a team task, you will ultimately be defeated.

Process, Schmocess.

You call it what you want. We call it Disciplined Freedom.

First we listen. To our clients. To our customers.

To the gatherers of facts and fiction. To the facts. The fiction.

We process mountains of information.

We stuff our conscious and unconscious minds.

We absorb. We internalize.

Then we listen. To ourselves.

We use everything we've ever learned,

heard, noticed, known, felt, experienced.

This is the people component. The great leap of faith.

The thinking part. The creation of human software.

Everyone calls this process something.

We call it Disciplined Freedom.

But the truth is experience + information = insight.

However you say it, that's all there is.

Advertising is a job. A discipline. It is not a religion.

If you think it is, you need something.

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