2 Minutes With ... Jamie Falkowski, CCO and Partner at Day One Agency

On 'The Newsstand,' 'Freeting' and lessons from John C. Jay

Falkowski manages an integrated team across Day One's hubs in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Portland, Ore., with a focus on investing in creativity and building the next generation of talent. He has been with the agency since 2015 and previously served as managing director.

We spent two minutes with Jamie to learn more about his background, his creative inspirations and recent work he's admired.

Jamie, tell us ...

Where you grew up, and where you live now.

When I was younger, we moved around a lot while my father was in the Air Force. Between the ages of 1 and 16, I lived in eight or so places, including a fun 10 months in Australia and, in high school, between Pittsburgh and Cape Cod. My folks were both from the Boston area. I'm currently in Brooklyn.

How you first realized you were creative.

When we're younger we don’t necessarily think of anything we do as "creative," it's just play. I always had an active imagination and when I was really young I got obsessed with drawing. I started tracing and copying comic books before becoming one of those kids watching Bob Ross. With all the moving around, I always enjoyed art as an escape and could get lost for hours sketching.

A person you idolized creatively early on.

As a kid, for one of those "pick your own subject" school projects, I went deep on Vincent van Gogh. For me, his work was so freeform, expressive and emotive. He heavily influenced me as a high school and college painter in finding my own speed and style.

A moment from high school or college that changed your life.

When I was 16, I had an entire summer to myself—no school, a new driver's license and a job at a golf shop where I learned a lot about everything. It taught me what it meant to work at a small business—customer service, sales, merchandising and the importance of relationships. I made some great regular customers and saw how important connection could be. That was also the summer I fell in love with golf, which led to playing a bit in high school. I still love the game—it's a lifelong journey chasing something unreachable and a constant competition against myself.

A visual artist or band/musician you admire.

Jay-Z. He's had a 30-year career, and every project has felt like a complete campaign in its own right, from artwork, to production of sounds, to positioning. It's always extremely well-crafted. His ability to evolve and anticipate where things are going has bolstered his longevity.

A book, movie, TV show or podcast you recently found inspiring.

I love memoirs and biographies. Dave Grohl's The Storyteller and David Chang's Eat A Peach are recent favorites. Chang is so self-aware but also knows he's a force. I love what he's done in media with Lucky Peach magazine and what is happening with Majordomo. I'm excited to see him bring storytelling and conversation back into food.

Your favorite fictional character.

Mad Men's Peggy Olson. She's so dynamic and aware of everything happening around her. The show has always been one I go back to. The more you watch it, the more obvious it is just how in touch with the world she was.

Someone or something worth following on social media.

One longer-running trend on Instagram that I've enjoyed has been the rise of the curation accounts like Hidden NY and the discovery that comes from those voices. I've been intrigued by an account called Where Is the Cool as an evolution of those curation feeds. It's very editorial, extremely singular in design, and a rare Instagram account that shares a bit more context than just an image. I haven't checked out their magazine yet, but it's on my list.

One of your favorite creative projects you've ever worked on.

I was lucky to have helped create "The Newsstand" in 2013–a pop-up that transformed a Subway space into an independent bookstore. It ran for seven months in Williamsburg, traveled to Art Basel, and is now part of MoMA's permanent collection. It completely changed how I approach marketing and my understanding of what targeted, niche creation can do.

A recent project you're proud of.

Projects where we push beyond the expected are the most exhilarating. In 2019, we worked with Chipotle Mexican Grill to begin a trend of hacking the NBA Championships by tweeting a code for free burritos every time the word "free" was spoken during the broadcast. It was fun and allowed us to be a part of a huge cultural moment. This year, we brought it back. As three-pointers have become more prolific, we reworked "Freeting" to be all about "FreePointers"—sharing codes via tweets every time a three-point shot is made.

Someone else's work that inspired you years ago.

I first discovered John C. Jay through Reed Pages and Jeff Staple, and I've been a fan ever since. John is the former global executive creative director of Wieden+Kennedy and is now president at Fast Retailing, owner of Uniqlo. The advice he gives in his 10 Lessons has always stayed with me. He is the embodiment of hard work, craft and original thinking.

Someone else's work you admired lately.

I take so much inspiration from our team—especially the work they do outside of Day One and the creative spark they bring back to what we produce together. I've been excited by some of the projects from our photographer on the L.A. team, Ethan Newmyer, who is working on a short film, and the continued evolution of Celina Pereira and her collage work.

Your main strength as a creative person.

Connecting the dots and helping teams edit and simplify the work.

Your biggest weakness.

A tendency to see the end too quickly. It's easy to jump to the conclusion or get bored in the process.

One thing that always makes you happy.

Seeing the excitement from young creatives when they break through.

One thing that always makes you sad.

I hate seeing others struggle or fail—especially when it is outside of my control to make things easier or to provide the win. Creatives can attach their self-worth to the work, and it can bring a lot of emotion into challenging situations. While failure can hurt, we often learn the most from the things we get wrong. Pain/failure/sadness tend to stick a bit more to us than elation and joy—that's why it's so important to keep chasing the good stuff.

What you'd be doing if you weren't in advertising.

My first dream was to work in magazines. I'd probably be out there trying to make people believe that print isn't dead.

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