New Talent: Josh Cassidy
We’re in awe of Josh Cassidy’s work ethic. His life in adland began after he volunteered to intern at an agency, even if it meant he was mopping the floor. He would be the best damn mopper in all the land if it meant he could prove his worth to other sectors of the agency. The gamble and the hard graft paid off. He’s now a Copywriter at Innocean USA and finds himself working on such campaigns as Hyundai’s 2014 Super Bowl campaign ‘Dad’s Sixth Sense’. LBB’s Addison Capper caught up with him to find out more.
LBB> Where did you grow up and what kind of kid were you?
JC> I grew up in and around Detroit, Michigan, and lived there until just a few years ago. I was always a really curious kid and a little bit of a clown, trying to make my family and friends laugh all the time.
LBB> Where did you learn your craft?
JC> I didn’t go to ad school or portfolio school, so it was kind of on-the-job training. A creative director at my first agency told me that if I wanted to make good ads, I had to know what was ‘good’. So he gave me access to his library of One Show annuals, which I studied relentlessly. I also read Hey Whipple, Squeeze This, to learn the finer points of copywriting from one of the greats. Then I just put myself out there and started writing and through lots of feedback and trial and error (lots of error)… things started to click.
LBB> I believe your first foray into adland came after you offered to intern mopping floors. Tell us a bit about that…
JC> Haha, yeah. I was graduating college soon, and a friend of mine who worked at the agency invited me in to check it out. He was kind enough to introduce me to the HR recruiters in charge of their summer intern program. We talked for a while and I tried my best to make a good impression before asking if they had any internship openings. Unfortunately, they said there were none left. Before I took ‘no’ for an answer, I wanted to let them know what type of worker they’d be passing up. So I said even if they had an internship mopping floors, I would be very interested and I would love the opportunity to prove that I would be the best floor mopper they ever hired. Then I promised that I wouldn’t stop repaying them for taking a chance on me because that’s the type of person I am. I think that caught the recruiters by surprise.
I had interviews for two different internships right after that.
LBB> Why were you so determined to break into the industry?
JC> I always knew a traditional office job wasn’t for me and the agency environment seemed like a lot of fun. Plus, the thought of getting paid to be creative and think of ideas every day was something I couldn’t let go.
LBB> You landed yourself a media buying position after that. How did you end up as a copywriter? Was that always your aim?
JC> Well, I always wanted to be a creative and I wasn’t very good at Photoshop, so Copywriter seemed like a more natural fit. Actually becoming one took a lot of hustle.
At the end of my media buying internship I was offered two full-time positions as either a Junior Media Buyer or a Traffic Coordinator. I took the traffic position because it would physically open me up to the rest of the agency and I would get more face time with creatives.
At first, I started writing anything and everything I could in my spare time to get my name out around the agency. I wrote everything from co-workers’ baby shower invites to agency emails ‘from’ the CEO. I eventually made relationships with some very supportive creatives around the agency and started writing and generating ideas for them. Soon, Traffic Coordinator was my 9-5 and the rest of my free time was spent writing and working on briefs. By the time a Junior Copywriter position opened up at the agency, I had built such a strong reputation that I was hired without ever having a portfolio.
LBB> What inspires you?
JC> Honestly, everything. I love music, film, sports, art, comedy, technology… all forms of creativity and innovation. And as cheesy as it sounds, my parents. I get my work ethic from them. They keep me humble and hungry.
LBB> You worked on the Hyundai Super Bowl spot last year. How was that experience for you?
JC> Crazy, gruelling and stressful. I loved it. There was a ton of pressure, but for me, the more pressure the better. Knowing how bad everyone wants to sell their spots and the fact that everyone in America is going to see your work really forces you to bring your A-game. Luckily, things turned out well. ‘Dad’s Sixth Sense’ made USA TODAY’s Top Ten list and was the highest ranked automotive spot in the Super Bowl. I’m fortunate to have played a part in it.
LBB> What other pieces of work that you’ve been involved in recently have you particularly enjoyed and why?
JC> I’ve been working for a while on a new integrated campaign for Hyundai that should be very cool. I’m also having a lot of fun with a side project that my friend and I started called ‘If ____ Could Talk’. It’s a Tumblr blog where we post illustrations of animals and quotes of what that animal might say if it could talk. It’s been a nice creative outlet and we’ve actually gained over 35K followers and made Tumblr’s 2014 Year in Review. So we’re pretty excited about that.
Check out more articulate animals at IfBlankCouldTalk.com...
LBB> What does 2015 hold for you? Any New Year’s resolutions that we should know about?
JC> Bigger and better things hopefully! My New Year’s resolution is to find a publisher and turn our blog into a book. That was always the vision we had for the project, so hopefully we can make it happen. I would also like to dunk a basketball. It’s been my other resolution since I was 12.
LBB> What do you like to get up to outside of work?
JC> I like seeing movies and going to concerts. Playing and watching sports. Finding cool restaurants and then eating until I feel bad about myself. Just kidding. I keep eating.