2 Minutes With ... Justin Rubin, CCO of Spectrum Science
Justin Rubin caught the advertising bug deep in the corn fields of Hoosier territory—Indiana University. From there, he's spent 25 years building award-winning campaigns, brands and franchises for some of the biggest healthcare companies in the world. But helping Spectrum Science build the agency of the future excites him the most.
As the industry's response to today's complex health and media landscape, creating a full-service, fully integrated global agency under a single P&L was no small feat. And for Justin, that meant implementing a scalable and blended creative model at Spectrum—one that can deliver advertising and brand experiences at all points along the product lifecycle.
We spent two minutes with Justin to learn more about his background, his creative inspirations, and recent work he's admired.
Justin, tell us...
Where you grew up, and where you live now.
I'm from the South Shore of Long Island, raised on the mean streets of Oceanside, NY. Now I live on the North Shore. It's a much quieter existence.
How you first got interested in health.
I got a job right after college at a consumer advertising agency. One day they had an assignment for a supplement that supported men's prostate health. I remember at the time reading that the prostate was the size of a walnut, so I had the idea of sending out a box with the walnut peeking through with a message like "If you're not concerned about your prostate, you're nuts" (it's important to note that these were the days of direct mail). That one little piece of work opened the door for me to make the move to pharma, and I never looked back.
One of your favorite projects you've ever worked on.
Spectrum's Pride Workbook 'Saying Gay In The USA.' As a company that champions the LGBTQ+ community, the laws banning teachers from classroom instruction and reading books about sexual orientation or gender identity goes against everything we believe in. We thought if states are drawing lines around accessing information, then we'll continue coloring outside those lines.
A recent project you're proud of.
This one happened right around the holidays. We felt that Spectrum's annual holiday card should take on new meaning—and shape. We saw that since the pandemic and other unfortunate events, the demand for food increased by 155 percent while donations and giving went down by 50 percent. The Give Card addressed these challenges—it's a greeting card that transforms into a donation bag. I remember being on Zoom with SVP creative director Modesto Rodriguez when he whipped out the prototype which he built in the blink of an eye. So proud of the creative team for dreaming this one up.
One thing about how health is evolving that you're excited about.
Generative A.I. has the potential to help creatives articulate and bring ideas to life with incredible efficiency. It will impact everything from pitches, concepts, comps, content, storyboards, video and more. What a fabulous tool to help us get where we need to go faster—especially when the time saved can be redirected to the process of ideation. But the ideas must come first, and those will always come from us humans.
Someone else's work, in health or beyond, that you admired lately.
The Know Your Lemons for Early Detection initiative.
A book, movie, TV show or podcast you recently found inspiring.
I'm into The Control Variable with Kim Cutter. She digs into the issues plaguing our country and interviews the good folks who are trying to put our world back together.
A visual artist or band/musician you admire.
Ronnie Wood, he's both.
Your favorite fictional character.
Someone worth following in social media.
I tend to follow musicians and artists that I like. I do follow other CCOs and CDs to be inspired by their work and to learn about the challenges they face as the industry evolves. I also follow my daughters to see what the hell they are up to.
Your main strength as a marketer/creative.
My creative team.
Your biggest weakness.
Hmm. Okay. It's rare that creatives have the luxury of time. So, we've got to move creativity along at a fast clip and that means having to make even quicker decisions. For me that means being conscious that impatience doesn't influence decisiveness. If input and intuition are always in balance, then all is right in my world.
One thing that always makes you happy.
Family is a given. But if you never had a dog greet you at the door when you get home, I highly recommend it. They are little joy generators.
One thing that always makes you sad.
Oy. How about the absence of empathy in adults. That one's a catch-all.
Something people would find surprising about you.
I started in this business on the account side.
What you’d be doing if you weren't in health.
Trying to get into health.