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Tag : A-List Podcast

The Power of Inspiring Action: The A-List Podcast Turns 3

In the booth with Terri and Sandy (Season Two)

“Have you heard our podcast?”

Yes, we’ve become “that guy.” DiMassimo Goldstein has a podcast. No big deal. (Eyeroll emoji.) In all seriousness, we don’t actually talk about The A-List Podcast that much. Because we didn’t do it to make ourselves famous. We did it because we’re curious about creativity and we’re obsessed with starting conversations. Here’s how it happened:

My friend Lauren Slaff has an ad school called Adhouse. A couple of years ago, I noticed that her Facebook presence for the class needed an upgrade and offered to help. At DIGO, we talk a lot about Inspiring Action and resisting the urge to just make a straight-up ad hawking your wares, so of course my first thought was, “We need some hard-hitting print and banner ads!” It’s amazing how theories become so hard to follow in practice. Duh!

Yes, paid ads are important, but the first thing we needed to do was to get across the difference of Adhouse. As I say in every episode of The A-List Podcast, “[Adhouse’s] philosophy? An ad class is only as good as the professional who teaches it.” At Adhouse, you learn from the people who do the work in the very places where they do it. You literally go to the agency where your teacher works one night a week and show them your ideas. It’s the closest thing to breaking into the business you can get for six hundred bucks.

So a team worked on some ads. They were funny. But mostly they were ads. Clever headlines. Hard-hitting copy. Blah blah blah. And in the end, while they might get some people to notice Adhouse, they weren’t going to be great for the team’s book or for DiMassimo Goldstein. We’re an Inspiring Action agency. It says so in our lobby! We needed to innovate.

A reminder from our lobby at 220 E23rd Street. :)

That’s when we had a bigger idea: Let’s just interview some ad greats themselves, giving the audience a little taste of what it might be like to take an Adhouse class but also getting their ad stories. We eventually settled on their origin stories, partly out of not wanting the show to be too production-intensive week to week but also in an effort to keep it valuable to our core target audience: people who are curious about breaking into the ad industry. We originally planned to do films, but that didn’t pass the production-intensive test either. So we settled on a podcast. NOTE: At the time, we had never produced a podcast. But that’s part of Inspiring Action: Jump and a net will appear.

We began by emailing a few ad friends of mine. Rob ReillyTy Montague and Greg Hahn all said yes. Hooray! Gramercy Post, a sound studio upstairs in our building, offered up their recording facilities. We would patch in the guests, and I would ask them their life story. We would record an intro and an outro, slap some music on it, shove in an ad-read for Adhouse and see what we got. Podcast in an hour.

Before we could pull the trigger, I had to talk to my partners and Lauren (our client) about paying for it. As far as the agency was concerned, it wouldn’t make us much money. Make that (scribble scribble) zero dollars, actually. But we would be learning how to make and distribute podcasts, and we would be getting our name out to a young, creative audience. Also, I’d be connecting our agency marketing team to the PR departments of agencies ten or twenty times our size, who would all want to get the word out about their own creative geniuses. Oh, and we could do it pretty cheaply and with a very small team. They said yes (thanks, partners!) and Lauren was happy to try anything (thank the universe for good clients). So off we went.

That was over two years ago now. We have learned a lot along the way and, as we launch season three on May 9th with Anselmo Ramos of GUT, I am struck by how much has changed, but also what hasn’t. Our format hasn’t changed. We’re still asking the guests how they found this weird career we call advertising. (I’m still amazed I found it myself, to be honest. I still feel like that kid from Jersey with the weird hair.) We still record at Gramercy Post. But sometimes we have the guests sit down in the studio with me now. The experience is different that way. It’s easier to connect to the person but can also be scary. (You have to make eye contact and stuff!)

The guests are from new places. I used up all my close friends in season one and two. Now I am interviewing people I never thought would say yes, and I’m still amazed when they say they listen to and love the show. This season will include conversations with the aforementioned Anselmo Ramos as well as Ricardo Casal and Juan Javier Pena of David, Nick Law of Publicis and Karl Lieberman of Wieden + Kennedy. We’re doing a whole design exploratory starting with Paula Scher of Pentagram and Bobby C. Martin of Original Champions of Design.

New Season. New Guests. (Clockwise from Top, Left: Anselmo Ramos of GUT, Ricardo Casal and Juan Javier Pena of David, Paula Scher of Pentagram and Bobby C. Martin Jr. of Original Champions of Design.

(By the way, we have toyed with doing a sub-pod about young people who just entered the business. (The A-List The Next Generation?) We’re still working on ironing out how to do that, which was an idea we got from some young listeners. But Casal and Pena from David and Dhruv Nanda from Oberland start us off with some new perspectives from the millennial point of view.)

One more difference in the show this year is the music. Ross Hopman, a friend of the agency at Duotone, loves the show and wanted to help out. We were thrilled of course. But we had no idea how great the results would be. In the end, we couldn’t choose one song, so The A-List Podcast might just be the only podcast out there with TWO theme songs. The one at the end is my personal favorite, based on an off-the-cuff joke to Ross: “If all else fails, just give me something like The Muppet Show theme.” God, I hope Kermit doesn’t sue.

It’s a funny thing about an Inspiring Action, but it almost always gives you more return than you bargained for. Our little podcast (with very little advertising to support it) has reached tens of thousands of people all over the world. We get notes and emails from listeners who have been in advertising for decades telling us how the show has reignited their passion for the business or kept them going during hard times. DiMassimo Goldstein has gotten clients asking us how to make podcasts and young creatives who want to work here. And, of course, Adhouse has never had so many applicants.

And so it is my pleasure to introduce you to more amazing ad people. That’s the moral of the story of The A-List Podcast by the way: It’s all about the people you meet along the way. This business is full of thousands of amazing people who get to solve problems for the world’s biggest brands in creative, unheard-of ways every day. They did this by finding people who were doing it and learning from them. Our goal was to get more people to imagine themselves doing the same and continue what the Lion King might call the Circle of Ad. Because whether you are a kid from New Jersey like me or a big brand who needs to reinvent yourself, creativity is the way. All you have to do is start a conversation with the right people.

Have we mentioned that season 3 of our podcast launches on Thursday? No big deal. 🙄

The old guy on the left is me. The cool guy on the right is Dhruv Nanda of Oberland.

The A-List Podcast with Jamie Barrett

On this week’s edition of The A-List Podcast, Jamie Barrett calls in to the studio for an inspiring interview with host and DiMassimo Goldstein CCO, Tom Christmann.

Barrett is the Founder and Executive Creative Director at barrettSF, an agency he launched in 2012. Before opening his own shop, Barrett made a name for himself as an esteemed creative, delivering world famous campaigns for many of the most renowned agencies in the industry, such as Goodby Silverstein & Partners, Fallon, Wieden+Kennedy and Chiat\Day.

In this episode, learn all about Barrett’s life before advertising, when he spent one summer teaching tennis and windsurfing in the French Riviera and the next at a boot camp in Virginia. Hear what he learned working under some of the most iconic names in advertising, why he views his job as a glorified hobby, the importance of great account people, and much more. Full episode and show notes below!

Show Notes:

  • [0:00 – 1:27] Intro
  • [1:28 – 12:22] Barrett reflects on his childhood, talks about teaching tennis and windsurfing in the French Riviera, and talks about his experience spending one summer at a boot camp in Virginia
  • [12:23 – 18:15] His time at Princeton University, aspirations of becoming a sportswriter, and the moment he realized he wanted to go into advertising
  • [18:16 – 29:42] Trying to break into the industry, being denied 15 straight times, and the awesome story of the dinner with Pat Fallon and Tom McElligott that landed him a gig at Fallon
  • [29:43 – 36:00] Barrett reflects on many of the amazing mentors he worked under before ultimately leaving Fallon to take a job at Chiat/Day in New York
  • [36:01 – 39:40] His short yet meaningful time at Fallon, and the transition between being a writer and becoming an Associate Creative Director
  • [39:41 – 50:00] Barrett talks about his different experiences at each of the agencies he worked at, and how they all helped shape the creative he is today
  • [50:01 – 53:56] The importance of great account people, the emotional intelligence required of good creatives
  • [53:57 – 1:01:26] Launching his own agency, why he doesn’t shy away from the word “advertising,” and the meaning behind the agency’s tortoise mascot
  • [1:01:27 – 1:04:14] What he looks for in young creatives
  • [1:04:15 – 1:05:24] Outro

“The A-List” is a podcast produced by DiMassimo Goldstein, an inspiring action agency, recorded at the Gramercy Post, and sponsored by the Adhouse Advertising School, New York’s newest, smallest, and hippest ad school. You can subscribe and rate the show on iTunes or listen along on SoundCloud. For updates on upcoming episodes and guests, be sure to like the A-List Podcast on Facebook and follow host Tom Christmann on Twitter

The A-List Podcast: Episode 019 with Paul Caiozzo

After a short hiatus, host and DiMassimo Goldstein CCO Tom Christmann returns to the booth for another exciting (and hilarious) episode of The A-List Podcast! This time, he’s joined by Paul Caiozzo, an award-winning creative and the cofounder of Office of Baby, a youngish creative independent agency that’s mature enough to work for companies like Google, Etsy, Zocdoc, and StreetEasy. Before starting his own agency, Paul served as the executive creative director at Goodby Silverstein & Partners.

In this inspiring interview, Paul shares the unique story behind how he got into advertising, how negativity is poison, the challenges and balancing act of starting a new business, why creativity is still the core of advertising, and where he sees the future of the industry. Full episode and show notes below!

Show Notes

  • [0:00 – 1:36] Intro
  • [1:37 – 4:59] The meaning behind the name “Office of Baby”
  • [5:00 – 8:08] Looking back on his time freelancing, Paul shares the lessons he learned from being around a variety of different agencies
  • [8:09 – 15:20] The power of remaining positive, even in the face of uncomfortable situations
  • [15:21 – 18:03] How a young web designer from Long Island found himself at a start up in Silicon Valley.
  • [18:04 – 20:25] Paul shares the inspiring story of how a favor for a friend turned into a lifelong passion for advertising
  • [20:26 – 24:20] Packing up his life in San Francisco and leaving to go an advertising school in Atlanta, where he discovered how ideas can be applied to art
  • [24:21 – 28:27] The mentor who convinced Paul to stay in the industry after a rocky start
  • [28:28 – 31:29] What he’s learned from starting a business and how to deal with the challenges that come with it
  • [31:30 – 35:08] Paul shares some of his favorite philosophies he learned working under advertising legend Alex Bogusky at Crispin Porter + Bogusky
  • [35:09 – 38:33] Paul reflects on his time as the executive creative director of Goodby Silverstein & Partners, building a satellite office and selling a vision
  • [38:34 – 40:34] Tom and Paul chat about “global agencies” and how the fragmentation of people solving a problem can be a problem of its own
  • [40:35 – 49:06] The current landscape of advertising, and how even in a sea of data and numbers, creativity still reigns supreme
  • [49:07 – 1:01:29] The future of Office of Baby, the company’s vision, why you should never chase money, and how being kind to others will ultimately reward you
  • [1:01:30 – 1:02:22] Outro

 “The A-List” is a podcast produced by DiMassimo Goldstein, recorded at the Gramercy Post, and sponsored by the Adhouse Advertising School, New York’s newest, smallest, and hippest ad school. You can subscribe and rate the show on iTunes or listen along on SoundCloud. For updates on upcoming episodes and guests, be sure to like the A-List Podcast on Facebook and follow host Tom Christmann on Twitter

The A-List Podcast: Episode 013 with Bill Oberlander

This week on “The A-List” podcast, host and DiMassimo Goldstein CCO Tom Christmann chats with his long-time friend and former boss, Bill Oberlander, the executive creative director at OBERLAND. Bill has worked as a creative executive at many top agencies, including JWT New York, Cossette New York, McCann Erickson, Ogilvy & Mather, and Kirshenbaum Bond + Partners. Working on such global accounts as Microsoft, Intel, Snapple, Target, Coach, Bloomberg, and Nikon. Bill has helped reinvent brands with his iconic and transformational campaigns.

Tune in as Bill and Tom discuss what it takes to break into advertising in New York City, why philanthropy is important for both brands and people, and how today’s creatives can build a portfolio that gives Bill goosebumps.

Show Notes:

  • [0:00 – 2:05] Intro
  • [2:06 – 5:17] Bill and Tom discuss working together at Kirshenbaum
  • [5:18 – 8:23] Bill’s childhood in South Amboy, NJ, attending an all-boys Catholic high school, and dreaming of a future in the arts
  • [8:24 – 13:25] Studying business communications and visual communications at the University of Delaware, and falling in love with advertising
  • [13:26 – 15:17] Moving to NYC, couch surfing, and landing his first advertising gig
  • [15:18 – 19:49] Becoming an art director at McCaffrey & McCall
  • [19:50 – 30:57] Learning the ropes at McCann, working on the Coca-Cola account, and scheduling his first shoot without client approval
  • [30:58 – 35:08] Being recruited by Richard Kirshenbaum as his art director, and faking it until he made it
  • [35:09 – 41:13] Bill’s first big campaign at Kirshenbaum: El Presidente Spiced Brandy
  • [41:14 – 48:49] Reinventing Snapple with the famous “Snapple Lady” campaign
  • [48:50 – 56:49] Working at Robin Hood Foundation, the importance of building brands with purpose, and launching Oberland
  • [56:50 – 61:16] What Bill looks for when reviewing portfolios today
  • [61:17 – 62:44] Outro

“The A-List” is a podcast produced by DiMassimo Goldstein, recorded at the Gramercy Post, and sponsored by the Adhouse Advertising School, New York’s newest, smallest, and hippest ad school. You can subscribe and rate the show on iTunes or listen along on SoundCloud. For updates on upcoming episodes and guests, be sure to like the A-List Podcast on Facebook and follow host Tom Christmann on Twitter