“Is that an Irish Bróg I hear?”
This is usually the first sentence out of anyone’s mouth following me uttering a word!
I was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland. I recently swapped Dublin’s fair city for the bright lights of New York City. I was offered a position as Head of Digital Engagement with BigBuzz Marketing Group. I classify myself as one of the lucky ones.
Ireland has been a casualty of this recession more than most nations.
While I watched many friends leave for the Southern Hemisphere, I left of my own accord for an opportunity to reach for my dream:
To work in advertising in New York City.
Way before Mad Men, I wanted to be a “Mad Man” – to face the creative challenge of selling someone an idea. I happened to see the potential in social media early on, and spent years developing a creative – and functional – understanding of pretty much everything in the social media space.
In today’s market, that’s what gives me an edge.
This is where creativity comes into things. I swear there’s a point to all of this.
When I got asked to blog for Creative Week, I wanted my first blog post to give insight to why it’s all so important to me. I think that being a creative person and working in this industry is not just a job – it becomes a way of life.
I find it very hard to switch off, and how could I!
On average, Americans are exposed to 3,000 marketing messages per day!
One of the first experiences that really stood out after moving was my first trip to Times Square. The only thing I can compare it to is being a rookie playing his first game in Yankee Stadium.
It was the most unbelievable sight I’ve ever seen; I knew this was where I wanted to be.
I come from a country that has always been celebrated for being home to some of the most creative minds:
Yeats, Wilde, Bono – even Professor Dumbledore was Irish.
The difference for the ad industry is that there is no lack of creativity, but a lack of resources. The most frustrating thing for a marketer is to have an idea that they know is just perfect for a brand – but to be told no because they’re not willing to take a risk and be different.
That all changed when I came here!
Coming to BigBuzz was what I had always dreamed of. An agency with bright-colored walls, music, corkboards – no suits and charismatic leaders.
I quickly learned that there are a few rules:
- Try not to limit your ideas. Don’t play cautious.
- No idea is a bad idea – if it’s a bold idea.
- There is no such thing as a failure, only a failed attempt.
When I was younger, my dad used to always tell me that, in America, people respect your failures in the early days as badges of honor.
“At least you had the balls to try,” he’d say.
I live and breathe that motto every day – and it was instilled early on at BigBuzz.
The result of this type of corporate culture is that we rarely fail. I guess what I’m trying to get at with “Crossing the Pond” is that literally doing just that has resulted in me being better at what I do.
Not because I’m better – but because the people and the environment I’m in is conducive to the creative mind.
I’ve never found it easier to come up with good ideas!
Maybe it’s the bright walls; maybe it’s the music. I feel that the answer is simply “This Place”. When you want to learn a new language, the best way to learn is to immerse yourself in it.
I feel like I’ve done that.
I’ve immersed myself in the creative advertising world. I get up every day and love going to work – which not a lot of people can say. I rarely switch off, but while I’m young what harm could that really do?
During Social Media Week, I had the great honor of hearing Alex Bogusky (CP+B, Common, Creative Genius) speak, and then meeting with him afterward. He has been a hero of mine for a long time.
Such an amazing mind – but also a very kind and friendly man.
Definitely someone I aspire to be like.
He ended his keynote with his saying, and these words will forever be a part of my life.
They remind me why I get up every day.
“Fear Less Love More”
- Love what you do. If you don’t, do something else – life’s too short to be unhappy.
- Never say anything is a bad idea, it’s only an underdeveloped idea.
- Any event you go to, network THE S**T out of it! You never know what amazing people you’ll meet.
- Listen to lots of music! Music is where I started out – managing Dublin bands – and it helps your brain think.
So I’m going to include a Spotify Playlist that fits each blog post I write.
Maybe it will help your brain think, too!