Not everyone can say their brother owns a beef jerky company… In 2010, the economy tanked. So, my brother Matt decided to capitalize on one of our family’s most coveted snacks: beef jerky. Yes, beef jerky. But not just any jerky. A very specific type of artisanal jerky that could only be found—like a prize—in a huge, glass jar by the cash register at Singelton’s Country Market in Ludlow, Vermont, where our parents kept a ski house for many years. We plowed like pros through pounds of the good stuff—not that gas station jerky crap, Slim Jim, which was long overdue for a much more authentic competitor.
Field Trip took off—first JetBlue began selling it on their snack menu, and then a year later, it was sold in every Starbucks in the U.S. So, the company decided it was time to freshen up their brand, including the packaging. Of course, I was honored—and delighted—when they tasked me with branding all eight flavors with their own unique personality in the form of product descriptions, which complimented the new, sleek packaging design perfectly. Today, Field Trip is more than just a thriving beef jerky brand, it’s my favorite success story of all time.
My career began when I collected my first Absolut Vodka ad. I was 11. My career began when I collected my first Absolut Vodka ad. I was 11. To this day, my collection of Absout ads is one of my most sacred treasures. I could never properly explain to you what one must go through to locate, slice, sneak and ultimately steal thousands of print ads from dozens of libraries. My collection is far more than just a mountain of ads to me. It’s a reminder that I can do anything I want if I put my mind to it—and that I’m slightly compulsive.
I learned everything I needed to know about branding, advertising, art and Sweden from the iconic print campaign. I also learned that I was a creative and made it my life’s mission to work in advertising in New York City. When I graduated from the School of Visual Arts in 2004, I began my career as a copywriter. However, times were changing, and print—which had been dubbed a “dinosaur,” trickled out as digital not-so-slowly blew up and took over.
I still managed to fulfill my dream of creating ads—and always welcome opportunities to work on print. Thought I consider myself to be a digital expert, print will always be my preferred medium. Here are a few of my favorite print campaigns that I worked on throughout my career, starting with the first campaign I knocked out of the park at my first job at Avrett Free Ginsberg. I knew when I finished writing the lines—and my creative director applauded—that I would have a career as a copywriter (if I had any doubts up to that point).
For an entire year, an art partner and I created one new ad a day. Just for fun. I never actually worked with James Groom when we were both at Avrett Free Ginsberg in 2005. James worked in the studio, while I was partnered up with Biba von Spyer. We reunited 12 years later—and thought about teaming up and applying for jobs together. However, we didn’t have a single shred of co-created work produced. So, mostly just for fun—and to flex our creative muscles after a decade of producing client-facing work—we decided to start playing around and accidentally made one new ad a day for an entire year. They’re potentially the best work I’ve ever done.
Were these ads ever produced? No. Is that sort of a no-no, putting spec work in your book? Perhaps. But I think if you really want to understand what’s going on in this creative’s mind, these ads—which were all my own original concepts and copy—do the best job at telling the stories, more so than any other work on this entire site. Here are a few of my faves from our yearlong joy ride together.
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