The Egotist Briefs: Tom Kelly and Jim Bizier of Brand Content
Tom Kelly and Jim Bizier just scored Best of Show at the 2010 Hatch Awards for their print campaign for the Boston Breakers (check the work after the brief).
Tom Kelly is a CD/Copywriter at Brand Content. He’s been there for about a year and half. Before that, he served two tours at Mullen and in between, spent 6 years at the late, great Clarke Goward. He began his career at what is now Digitas when he moved to Boston in 1995. He went to Portfolio Center and Purdue and will gladly discuss the Boilermakers Final Four potential. His awards include One Show, CA, Hatch, The Show in Minneapolis and the Costello’s All-Sports Camp 9-year Old Boxing Champ. Tom is married with 3 kids, and when he’s not writing about himself in the third person, he likes golf, hoops, traveling and movies.
Jim is an ACD/Art Director at Brand Content. He was BC’s first hire in 2003, and 23rd in 2009. In-between, he worked at Arnold. In 1998, he landed his first agency job at Donovan Group, which was a great agency that no longer exists. Before that, he did freelance and in-house work as a graphic designer, designing everything from logos to company websites. Along the way he’s picked up some awards, most recently for the Boston Breakers, Keurig and FootJoy. He’s a graduate of Plymouth State University and spent some time learning the internets at BU. When not working, you can find Jim enjoying his time with his wife and 2 boys.
You guys just won Best of Show this year at Hatch, one of the most coveted awards within the Boston creative community. Who would you like to thank and who would you like to flip off?
JIM: Thank - Andy and team at the Breakers, the entire agency (those are our people and kids in the shots), and especially the photographer, Michael Prince, who was committed as we were. Oh, and the academy.
TOM: Flip off – Yeah, we’ll pass on burning any bridges. It’s a small town. Although I would like to flip off Jim’s Mom for something totally unrelated.
Your winning entry was a print campaign for Boston women’s professional soccer team, the Boston Breakers. Is there anything about this project that stood out to you early on that made it feel different?
TOM: Early on we said, “If we use the athletes, we’ll be competing with Nike. And we’ll lose.” We’re just not that good. The client sensed that.
JIM: Tom made me cry like a little bitch with his headlines. I don’t usually cry, so I knew we were on to something.
Was the win a total surprise? We understand you walked away with quite a bit of additional hardware that night. What were your expectations headed into the show?
TOM: It’s my first Hatch at Brand Content. 14 bowls for 5 different clients and Best of Show basically means there’s nowhere to go but down. If you told me a newspaper campaign would win Best of Show, I would’ve tweeted about what an idiot you were.
JIM: A friend got his hands on the Hatch book and told us we won. It was a long hour or so waiting for the announcement, and the bar being closed made it even longer.
What was some of the other work from Hatch this year that you really admired? Anything that you think was under-recognized?
JIM: The Olympus work Mullen did with the lobster pot/ bowling alley/etc. And the Timberland Pro spots. Both were really smart visual ways to communicate. Under-recognized: Bob Steele’s Butterfly work – not even a merit this year.
TOM: “Don’t text and Drive” for Liberty Mutual that Hill did was perfect. The McDonald’s french fry stuff made me laugh out loud. (I will totally steal that idea one day.) KSV print was cool.
What do you feel are some of the greatest hurdles in producing great creative work? How do you get over those hurdles?
JIM: Hurdles- A bad creative brief and not having enough concept time. It’s a deadly combo.
TOM: Get over hurdles - Keep punching. Hope you get lucky and find a client who wants to do great work.
Is there anything about Brand Content that you find particularly conducive to your creative process or getting good work out the door?
JIM: It’s really the collaboration. We don’t have all the layers of a bigger agency, and that helps us stay focused. We think of ourselves as a small family who share ideas. We don’t care who comes up with the idea. Everyone gets credit. The bottom line is about getting the best idea in front of the client.
TOM: We had a good year. We’re committed to doing good work. But we can do better.
Where do you think the advantages lie in being at a smaller agency?
TOM: At any agency, the creatives all compete for the best assignments. All of our creatives fit in my car. So there’s that.
JIM: You have a car? Can I get a ride home after this?
What’s your opinion of the Boston creative community these days? Do you think it’s bouncing back? Do you see creative standards being raised? Or do you see a lot of room for improvement?
JIM: It will be interesting to see if any of the Hatch work will make it to bigger shows. That’s usually a good sign. And there’s always room for improvement – you’re only as good as your last campaign.
TOM: Bouncing back? How dare you sir! Not every year is going to be VW, Swiss Army, Monster, Dunkin and Ragged Mountain all over CA, but it’s all subjective. I’m not going to contribute to the inferiority complex.
If you weren't in advertising, then what?
TOM: Jim will say playing pro baseball. He’s delusional. I would probably be bartending, having failed as a novelist, screenwriter and shepherd.
JIM: Playing pro baseball.
What are three pieces of advice you’d give any creative?
TOM: I think creatives are inherently jaded and distrustful, so I don’t think it will matter. I wouldn’t listen to me either.
JIM: Yeah, I totally tuned you out somewhere around question 4.