2 Minutes With … Laundry Service Creative Director Larry Gordon
Self-described as "Tupac at an ad shop," Larry Gordon is currently a creative director at Laundry Service. His accounts include Jordan Brand, House of Hoops, Hennessy, UBS and Facebook. Aside from that, he is a back pocket book reader, object painter, ancient alien travel enthusiast, aspiring Pokémon master, Herald of Galactus, and wolf.
Larry is a M.AD School of Ideas graduate and teacher. His previous work experience includes Alma and 360i. Over his career, Larry has created broadcast, digital, and social campaigns for brands including Champion, McDonald's, Oreo, Tobacco Free Florida and Canon.
We spent two minutes with Larry to learn more about his background, his creative inspirations, and recent work he's admired.
Larry, tell us...
Where you grew up, and where you live now.
Born and raised in Virginia but currently living in Harlem, New York.
How you first realized you were creative.
I was a very expressive kid. I was heavily influenced by comic books and music but I didn't know I was "creative." I thought I was normal. But college at VCU was where I discovered advertising and what being an advertising creative was. Then I was like, "I think I can do that."
A person you idolized creatively early on.
A tie between Stan Lee and Tupac.
A moment from high school or college that changed your life.
I think the decision to actually go to college changed my life and put me on a different trajectory. I was very hesitant at first. Nobody from my family went to college, so I didn't have any examples. But a good friend of mine, Otis, was already at VCU. He gave the sales pitch and invited me to campus to give me a tour and explain the financial aid process. After that it was a done deal.
A visual artist or band/musician you admire.
Travis Scott is killing the game. I admire his partnerships and co-branding work with Nike, McDonald's, PlayStation and more.
A book, movie, TV show or podcast you recently found inspiring.
The whole Verzuz series has been amazing during quarantine. The cultural impact of hip-hop and R&B continues to grow and expand under any circumstances or conditions. That's inspiring.
Your favorite fictional character.
Norrin Radd—The Silver Surfer—but I dress up as Miles Morales every year for Comic-Con.
Someone or something worth following in social media.
@jumpman23 @facebookapp @hennessyus and @houseofhoops are all worth following, of course. My team and client partners put a lot of time and thought into the curation of the content on these channels. I hope you enjoy it.
How Covid-19 changed your life, personally or professionally.
I've gained more appreciation for life and how connected we all are. I think there has been an increased focus on the role of social and digital to keep us connected when we can't be together physically.
One of your favorite creative projects you've ever worked on.
Good or bad, I think everyone remembers their first. My first spot was for McDonald's! It was for the new fruit smoothies from McCafé. I got to fly to L.A. to shoot it and left the set with my Jordans covered in paint. It was a great experience. Seeing a bunch of people come together to execute an idea is still one of the best feelings in the world to me.
A recent project you're proud of.
Easy. We launched a shoe, not just any shoe, but the new Jordan 36's on TikTok. We partnered with our NBA and WNBA Jordan family athletes along with select basketball influencers to kick off the #36SecondsOfLightWork challenge. The responses were inspiring and hilarious. I think we hit 5 billion views in a week or so.
These AJ36's have Crystal moving at the speed of light. Join in, show your ##36SecondsOfLightWork♬ original sound - Jordan
Someone else's work that inspired you years ago.
Spike Lee's work has always been a big inspiration for me—but not just his films. His commercial work, especially the early Jordan spots, are some of my all-time favs.
Someone else's work you admired lately.
Juan Cabral's whole catalog is pretty admirable. I've found myself referencing his work a lot over my career.
Your main strength as a creative person.
Ron Seichrist once told me I have the rare ability to "take it too far." He then told me not to worry because this industry will always have things in place to pull you back in. It was a great compliment and warning. So yeah, my creative superpower is taking it too far.
Your biggest weakness.
Sometimes I get into a space where I take things too seriously. Life, work, the project, the idea, the brand. I forget to have fun. All of this is supposed to be fun.
One thing that always makes you happy.
Ideas. Coming up with ideas, hearing ideas, critiquing ideas, executing ideas. I love the whole process. Great ideas make me really happy, but even the bad ideas make me smile sometimes.
One thing that always makes you sad.
The lack of diversity in this industry that I give my all to. It's beyond sad at this point. It's an embarrassment. In an industry made on creative problem-solving, we can't solve one of our longest-standing problems? That leads me to believe it's not really a problem to the people in power. But don't worry y'all. Change is gonna come.
What you'd be doing if you weren't in advertising.
I don't know exactly but I think it would involve ideating, creating, self-expression, and hopefully working less and experiencing more. OR, video games. Something in the gaming world.