Creatives 2009: Joyce King Thomas

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Joyce King Thomas
Joyce King Thomas
To be a great creative person today, you have to be open to anything. You have to come to every project with zero preconceptions of how you're going to solve the problem. Advertising is in total, absolute flux right now. The mediums we use, the way we make money, the way agencies are organized. Nothing is stet.

What we do today is some kind of hybrid of advertising, communication, ideation and conversation creation. Ultimately, it has the same goal of persuading consumers to behave differently. I'm not about the past. Advertising, or whatever you call what we do today, is way more interesting now. What has always been most interesting to me about this business is that, at its core, it's about changing someone's mind. The biggest challenge agencies have today is juggling the need to be financially prudent and the imperative to move forward.

When I worked at a tiny agency in Tulsa, Oklahoma I wrote a brochure for a new apartment building that ended up in the One Show. That was encouraging.

I don't have a lot of regrets. But when I first moved to New York, Jay Chiat offered to "give me a shot" at Chiat Day. I wanted full on respect and admiration (at 25, what was I thinking?) so I didn't take the job. I learned two things: Take chances and don't worry so much about what people think of you. I try to learn something from every person around me. I'm learning about technology from the great geeks who've joined McCann: Faris Yakob, Alessandra Lariu, Matt O'Rourke, Ed Brojerdi. I'm learning about being brave from my agency partner, Lori Senecal. My two sons teach me to have fun and not take things too seriously. Nina DiSesa taught me the most about leadership. She never demanded power or respect, but she got it.

I think I'm good at connecting with how regular people feel. It's fun to see people using MasterCard's Priceless format at a ballpark or in a magazine article or even on Twitter to express themselves.

What I really wish I'd created is Twitter or As far as advertising, I'm envious of the Nomis "Damn Boots" commercial because it's clever, insightful and so different from what other athletic shoe marketers are doing. I also love the Coca-Cola commercial about the meeting between the oldest man and the newest baby, created by McCann Spain. It makes me cry. I love work that makes you feel something.

If was starting over again, I might be a lawyer. I love to argue. I'm inspired by the things that humans create: paintings and photography and great films and beautiful architecture.

The absurdity of life makes me laugh. I'd leave my husband for John Stewart.
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