2 Minutes With ... Jarrod Higgins and Nicole Kaptur, Leaders of The Kennedys at Wieden+Kennedy
Jarrod Higgins is a creative director and Nicole Kaptur is a producer at Wieden+Kennedy Portland. They are also the new day-to-day leaders for The Kennedys, the agency's six-month creative incubator program that's now seeking applicants for eight spots. The deadline to apply is Feb. 14.
We spent two minutes with Jarrod and Nicole to learn more about their background, their creative inspirations, and recent work they've admired.
Jarrod and Nicole, tell us...
Where you grew up, and where you live now.
- Jarrod: I grew up in Moore, Oklahoma. Tornado country. Now I live in Portland, Oregon, where there are no tornadoes.
- Nicole: Then, Anchorage, Alaska. Now, in a heightened sense of confusion in Portland, Oregon.
How you first realized you were creative.
- Nicole: When I discovered I can make people laugh.
- Jarrod: I used to have an old Sony Handycam. My friends and I would make a ton of very dumb films every week, edited in camera. I don't know if I ever "realized" I was creative, but that was the first time I really enjoyed myself creatively.
A person you idolized creatively early on.
- Jarrod: Mike Judge!
- Nicole: No one person, more the art of countless comedians.
A visual artist or band/musician you admire.
- Jarrod: Hideo Kojima! He makes AAA games that still have soul. The man is a god.
- Nicole: Too many to narrow down to a favorite.
A book, movie, TV show or podcast you recently found inspiring.
Your favorite fictional character.
- Jarrod: This is a tough one. How do you answer this? I'll say President Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Camacho from Idiocracy.
- Nicole: Those Scooby-Doo kids. They know how to get a production done despite all the usual hijinx.
How Covid-19 changed your life, personally or professionally.
- Jarrod: That first summer working from home. I was spending a lot of time in my backyard, in the sunshine, watching my two kids run around in the flowers. It made me re-evaluate how I want to spend my time. It's really easy to become a workaholic in advertising without even realizing it, and my kids helped me break my cycle.
One of your favorite creative projects you've ever worked on.
- Nicole: There are a few, for various reasons. Most recent would be the "Slightly Exaggerated" campaign for Travel Oregon. There are three, but sharing the first spot.
- Jarrod: We made an anime dating simulator for Kentucky Fried Chicken. We released it on Steam. A bunch of people actually played it and spent a lot of time with it, which seems rare in our era of advertising, where you get your flash of fame and move on.
A recent project you're proud of.
- Jarrod: Nicole and I are heading a school for creativity at W+K Portland called The Kennedys, named after David Kennedy. Instead of selling products to people, we're getting to use our creativity to figure out the best ways to help empower a new generation of brilliant people. It's already one of the most rewarding things I've done professionally, and we just started! I bet she'll say The Kennedys, too.
- Nicole: The Kennedys!
Someone else's work that inspired you years ago.
- Jarrod: I was in college when someone from Cartoon Network put those electronic Mooninite signs all over Boston and people lost their minds. I'm not smart enough to figure out exactly what lesson I learned from this or how it inspired me, but here we are.
Someone else's work you admired lately.
- Jarrod: Ibrahim Kamara, a British stylist, is constantly creating things that are unlike anything I've seen. I can't get enough of his work.
Your main strength as a creative person.
- Nicole: Knowing my weaknesses.
- Jarrod: I get bored really easily, which forces me to try lots of new things so I don't repeat myself. I also know when to get out of the way and play a support role when someone else has a vision and I don't.a
Your biggest weakness.
- Jarrod: Terrible handwriting
- Nicole: Being proficient in Excel.
One thing that always makes you happy.
- Nicole: Watching others experience happiness/joy.
- Jarrod: Night skiing on Mt. Hood. There's a warming hut up there halfway down one of the slopes where you can get a hot drink and a snack above the clouds.
One thing that always makes you sad.
- Jarrod: Thinking about people I've lost in my life.
- Nicole: A good time coming to an end.
What you'd be doing if you weren't in advertising.
- Nicole: Who knows? Probably applying for The Kennedys to make a change in my life.
- Jarrod: Realistically? I'd be somewhere in North Texas directing a marching band or a high school choir.