“We just knew for the brands that we work with, in order to give them cultural relevance, there are talent-rich areas outside of the agency world, where creative people might come at something from a little bit of a different starting point and a little bit of a different angle,” Patton said. “I think smart brands are always looking to zig when everyone else zags. We take that same approach to our creative offering; we're not afraid to break some agency norms in order to bring something different.”
While Krall hasn’t been assigned to any specific accounts yet, the agency will put him on projects that cater to his strengths, Patton said.
Ideally, he'll work with "brands that tend to be a little bit more script-driven, play in the comedy space, creating big ideas," said Patton.
Dagger CEO Mike Popowski also said the hire is important from a geographical perspective.
“I think we got extremely lucky to hire somebody who lives in Atlanta," Popowski said. "Sometimes it feels like the center of the creative universe is in L.A., New York, or Chicago. With somebody like Al, who spent most of his career in New York, and now having somebody like Lance who spent most of his career in L.A., I think it's really interesting. We'll call it a one-two punch for these guys to be in Atlanta with the growth that we've got.”
Ad Age spoke with Krall on his decision to enter the advertising world and his experience in the entertainment industry. This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.
How did you end up at Dagger and the ad industry in general?
I think the pandemic did so much for so many people, as far as you have all that time to internalize and think about what direction your life is going in. I came out at the end of it feeling like I wanted to make a change and have a new challenge in my life. I wanted it to not just be lateral. I wanted it to feel very new.
I'm a son of a Navy pilot and a CIA spy, So I've lived all over the world my entire life, and I've never settled anywhere longer than six months to a year. I'm used to constantly evolving, moving, and changing. I've been in the entertainment industry for 20-plus years and within that, I evolved. I started off as an actor and then a producer and director and writer. The latest version of it was being an executive producer and a TV developer. Outside of becoming a studio head or something like that, which I had no desire to do, I feel like I've touched everything there, and I really wanted to do something new and different. But I do have a skill set and abilities that I didn't want to just throw away. And then, like total kismet, I got a call from Al. We started talking, and here I am.
Did you have a favorite ad growing up?
My favorite commercial growing up, hands down, it’s still my favorite commercial, is the Mean Joe Green commercial with Coca-Cola. I remember seeing that on TV, and just going, "Wow! That's a great commercial." Commercials were always the thing that got in between the fun stuff. But that was the first one that made me think, "I want to see that commercial again." You didn't have the internet back then so you had to just wait for it to come on, but it just made you connect with the kid. It also made you see Mean Joe Green in a totally different way. I was a marketing major in college until I changed my major to film and theater, but it's always been a thing that I've wanted to do.
You own your own TV development company [Picture It Productions]. Do you anticipate still working on that on top of your role with Dagger?
My TV development company is more like my side hustle now, like how some people sell hand-knitted sweaters on Etsy. I just sell network television shows as my side hustle. I consider Dagger my full-time job.
What does Pitch It Productions focus on?
We source IP-related stories, basically ideas outside of L.A. and New York. We use that as inspiration for scripted television shows. So we pair real-life stories with real-life Hollywood-level writers in L.A. But we’re trying to tell stories from a different perspective outside of the coast. I think there’s an under-representation of points of view on TV, and we are looking to fill that void.
Do you see any potential kind of crossover?
We'll see. Maybe. I know I'm a crossover and I’m here.
What do you feel you can bring from your experience in the entertainment industry?
From a creative standpoint, I think storytelling is storytelling, and comedy is comedy. I've been working in that world for a really long time, and I've worked in different genres. I've done everything from single-camera [production], which is more subtle and more character-based, to multi-cam like “Last Man Standing,” where it's like, joke, joke, joke, joke, joke. I've also developed dramas, aspirational stories and dark stories. At the end of the day though, the one thing that you're trying to find in all of those is authenticity, a real character, a point of view that you understand immediately when you're watching the show.
Those skillsets obviously translate into commercials. You want to connect with the character that you're watching in a commercial, or you want to connect with the emotion that a commercial is trying to put across. The more authentic it is, the better. There are definitely times where I'm watching a commercial and I'll start tearing up just as I would be tearing up to "Sophie's Choice." As far as leading the team, I’ve worked with creatives on multiple different projects and they had multiple different skill sets, levels of industry experience, and it was important to be nimble.
What was your favorite acting gig?
I have a favorite acting gig and it was because it taught me that I didn't want to be an actor anymore. My friend Adam Goldberg, who writes "The Goldbergs," cast me on this show called "Breaking In." The acting job was a blast, but he also hired me as a writer. I would go to set and I would act with Christian Slater and Megan Mullaly, and I was having fun on the set, getting nice food and being pampered. But in between that, when I wasn't on set, I'd go up to the writers' room and we would be writing the show. And I was amazed at how I could not wait to get off that set and back into the writers' room.
I love how I felt when I came home after working with writers, and just using my brain, less worried about makeup and my hair and all that. It really changed my life because I'd done writing before and I'd done acting. But I never really did those at the same time and I never worked with a writing staff before. It was kind of the last time I put any pressure on myself to be an actor. It put me on a trajectory where I was producing and writing, and I've never been happier.