Advertising students can now read about our Chief Innovation Officer Jim Russell and Group Creative Director Ellen Steinberg in Tracy Tuten’s new book “Advertisers at Work.” In response to Dr. Tuten’s skillful questions, Jim and Ellen talk about how they found their way into advertising, what each has learned about the creative process, the thrill of working with clients who embrace risk and industrywide gender roles.
When Dr. Tuten asked Ellen what led her to advertising as a profession, Ellen recalls a two-hour presentation by a University of Delaware professor in the visual communications department that began with a print ad for Scotts Lawn Care:
“It was the first slide up there. I actually remember this slide. It was a line drawing of a house sitting on a horizon line, and it was repeated on the left side and the right side. And on the left side was a green crayon scratch on the ground, and it said, ‘Green with Scotts.’ And then the exact same chicken scratch was in the sky on the right, and it said, ‘Green with envy.’ And I looked at it, and I went, ‘I want to do that.’ And that’s how it happened. That’s why I’m here. It was actually the perfect solution for me because I could use art and I could also solve problems.”
When Dr. Tuten asked Jim what made it clear for him that advertising was a place he could belong and make a difference, Jim explained:
“[I]t just felt like such a good fit. Every problem you’re trying to solve has creativity at the center of it, but it’s grounded in some form of technology. …My focus is on how technology can be applied within the realm of marketing. So for me, I can apply all those skills but in a very creative way and in a very emotional way. You know the best doorway into influencing somebody to love the brand is not through their mind, but through their heart. Trying to figure that out was and is really interesting to me.”
Ellen and Jim’s interview is the only dual interview in the textbook, and they are in good company. The other 15 chapters include interviews of the best in the business at Wieden+Kennedy, Chiat/Day and The Martin Agency, among others. Students assigned these pages will find candid, honest interviews that will inspire and inform. The book is available to all readers on amazon.com.