Ray Dorcely Jr. on stepping back and giving women the space to tell their stories

The BBDO account director discusses his New York Fashion Week collaboration with celebrity stylist Jason Rembert, led by the voices of female consumers

Published On
Feb 12, 2021

Editor's Pick

To wrap up the second week of our Black History Month program celebrating creative excellence, Guest Editor Storm Smith has tapped Ray Dorcely Jr., a multi-faceted account director at BBDO New York who has overseen brands such as Foot Locker at Dunkin.’ He started his career in pharma advertising, steering projects for clients including Genentech and AbbVie.

Outside of the job, he has unleashed his creativity as a self-dubbed “creative architect,” working on freelance projects in the fashion world. His collaborations include the Dior “I’m Your Man” social effort, the Jason Rembert x Diesel “For Successful Living” campaign as well as another project for Rembert, which he shares here. A born and raised New Yorker, Dorcely Jr. has skills on the field as well. He played Division One football at the University of Albany, where he earned his Masters of Science in Organization Communications.

"Raymond's plate is often full," says Smith. "His focus is monumental, and his leadership is majestic in leading and creating Footlocker's work with the team. Regardless of how full his plate is, he will never abandon two imperative roles: ally and advocate. This allows him to show up with his unconditional support for the BBDO IDEA & IDEA advisory group and BBDO BIPOC+ Women and Non-Binary Safe Space. Raymond will ensure that you are being acknowledged and seen. He will show up for you like T'challa shows up for Wakanda. Because of his tender and graceful spirit, we show up with King Raymond Dorcely Jr."


Ray DorcelyIn 2019 I made the decision to start creating my own work and collaborating with like-minded peers to tell stories I felt needed to be told. My good friend and celebrity stylist, Jason Rembert, was gearing up to have his first-ever runway show for NYFW that fall at Spring Studios. Jason's story and what he wanted to communicate via this campaign was so clear, more precise than any brand brief I’d ever received. He wanted to celebrate women—all women, and provide a campaign that they could see themselves in. I was blessed enough to have Jason trust me with running the campaign for him from model casting and video content to even the runway show. I helped him, along with his team, bring his vision to life.


Mind you, I was doing all of this while having a full-time job. There were days where I barely slept, and there were also days I was taking long lunch breaks to have meetings with IMG to align on the production of the runway show. To me, it was all worth it! I was creating something I believed in and supported wholeheartedly. It was so fulfilling that I didn't mind the lack of downtime I had during that period. My favorite part of the project was the video content we created to help tell the campaign story. I reached out to an upcoming visual artist Noemie Marguerite to help bring this campaign to life through a video piece.

As a man, I knew there was only so much I could bring to the table in telling this story. To be genuine and authentic to the audience, I knew I needed a woman's perspective and collaboration, which Noemie provided. We created a teaser and launch piece that we filmed during model castings. We held open castings with no mandatories at all; we wanted representation from all women.

During the castings, we would ask the women if they felt comfortable being interviewed, and we would bring them off to the side to have my sister, Lisa Dorcely, ask them the simple but complex question, "What does it mean to be a woman?" 

I must say I learned so much through that experience and felt so privileged to watch those interviews and hear women be vulnerable enough to share answers that were led by their experiences.

Through that experience, I learned how important storytelling is. The job of the storyteller is to be as authentic as possible, and in some cases, that may mean you are not the sole narrator. Inclusion is so important—whether you're telling a story of a specific race, sex, or religion, you are doing yourself and your audience a disservice if you don't surround yourself and learn from those you call your audience.


Feb 12, 2021
Client :
Jason Rembert

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