Sunday, February 2, 2014

Welcome to the VJ Collective

Every Friday someone from my agency sends out an email to everyone in the company. Emails that are centered around new learnings, timely advice, profound thoughtfulness, or hilarious entertainment. Last October, I was up. We were at the forefront of a courageous agency-wide restructure for 2014. Here's what I wrote and why I'm ecstatic to be the new Creative Director at Vladimir Jones.


First of all, it’s not about you.

Well okay, actually it is about you.

And him. And her. And everything that makes VJ culture the advertising industry anomaly that it is.

Those who have worked for lesser places know what I’m talking about. (Ad veteran tip: Sometimes the grass seems greener elsewhere because it’s actually AstroTurf. And much like The Brady Bunch backyard…it’s all fun and games until Marcia gets her nose broken.)

What makes VJ different? 
It’s the people. The intelligence. The leadership. The juxtaposition of precision and soul. Oh, and the fact that we’re a seasoned independent agency teetering on the edge of becoming a creative powerhouse.

So, how do we get there? You know, the powerhouse part. Do we all have to embrace Dohan’s relentless training regimen? (Well, not necessarily, but don’t make him show you his disappointment stance.)

We unite forces and work together.
We take our places in the trenches alongside talent, strategy and possibility. When a teammate gets entangled in a client force field or marches into creative battle, we selflessly cover them. We don’t make excuses. But, we do take responsibility. No one is in this alone.

We trade expectation for execution.
Unentitled hard work pays off. And over time, you are the one empowering your own future. If you think you should be involved, prove it. If you want your ideas heard, bring them to the table. If there’s a better way to do things, figure it out.

We value collaboration and humility over ego.
Now don’t get me wrong, there’s a time for both solitary incubation and group iteration. But, if everyone shares the same passion and connection to what we’re creating, greater things get produced. Better placements get made. And bigger results happen. So what if it wasn’t your idea or your design or your client—make it better. Add value with your expertise…without any expectation of credit. Because we’re all accountable for what comes out of this agency. And that’s our most valuable currency in the powerhouse quest.

We respect and protect the bus.
VJ is a certified mix of eclectic brilliance, unique skill-sets and personality quirks. Everyone here has an important seat on this bus. So, let’s try not to throw anyone under it. Instead, help them back up. Sometimes people just need a different seat or a new view.

We do this.
And by this, I mean the VJ Collective powerhouse thing. Clearly we have many individual rock stars in this agency. But, what would happen if we truly combined forces and legitimately challenged the advertising world? Well, I have no doubt that we’re about to find out.

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