Jason Bagley Gets Deep Inside the Creative Process in New Podcast
Jason Bagley doesn't just prick the surface of commercial creativity in the first episode of his new podcast/YouTube channel. Instead, the former Wieden+Kennedy ECD (famed for Old Spice, Coca-Cola and more) dives in deep—80 minutes deep—to probe the ad-making process in a fun, freewheeling conversation with copywriter Andy Laugenour.
Some highlights from the debut installment of "Bagley Talks to an Important Person," which drops today, include Laugenour, also a W+K vet, explaining...
- How he overcomes creative blocks by dipping into a "bank" of gags and concepts that fire up his creativity—such as "people being swallowed by things and living in stomachs." (Around the 29:10 mark.)
- Ways to avoid overwriting stage direction in scripts, which can ruin their impact and lead CDs or clients to pass on great ideas. (54:50)
- How to "break a script" by tweaking expectations to avoid storytelling lulls and predictability. (Laugenour presents two of his ads, Old Spice's "Marco Love" and Samsung Galaxy's "Why," as examples.) (1:07)
You can watch the YouTube version of "Important Person" below:
Srsly though, why another podcast? Isn't Muse by Clio's "Tagline," about great campaigns and the people who make them, all folks in the business could ever need? (OK, we know it isn't. *Sigh*)
"There are certainly plenty of podcasts out there, and it was never my intention to start another," says Bagley, an in-demand freelance CD for the past few years. "But the best way to learn how to do great work is to hear exactly how the best in the world do it, in great detail. So, I started interviewing various rockstar creatives for my mentoring program 'Creative Megamachine,' with no intention of making it into a podcast. But the interviews have been such a hit with creatives in my program that I made portions of the interviews available to the public."
"Creative Megamachine" falls under the banner of Bagley's Audacious School of Astonishing Pursuits (ASAP), which he launched last fall. "Important Person" felt like a natural outgrowth of that endeavor, another way to provide instruction, guidance and encouragement to entry- and mid-level professionals, he says.
" 'Important' has a very narrow definition in this case—people who have consistently done great creative work," Bagley says. "It's a great accomplishment to do a single piece of great work, but the guests on this podcast are people who have consistently done great work, and that certainly includes my first guest. Andy's interview has been one of the most popular and helpful for 'Creative Megamachine' students, so I thought we'd start with him."
There's a compelling DIY/blue-collar quality to the first episode, a demystification of the work that should energize writers, art directors and CDs in the trenches. The message is clear: Award-winning ads don't rain down from heaven. They're the culmination of copious sweat, intense concentration and seemingly endless trial and error. Roll up your sleeves, sweat more, believe in yourself, and with perseverance and luck you can succeed. That's a clichéd message, perhaps, but one worth sharing, and given considerable gravitas by Bagley's impressive roster of experts.
Future guests include former W+K Portland ECD Eric Baldwin, Ogilvy North America president Chris Beresford-Hill, BBH London ECD Helen Rhodes, former Lightning Orchard CCO Jeff Kling, W+K CD Sara Phillips, former Grey New York CCO Justine Armour, and ace freelancer Nathaniel Lawlor, who penned the lyrics for Skittles' Broadway musical. Bagley plans to produce a new episode every month.
"The fact that I'm launching a podcast and YouTube channel does not by any stretch mean I actually know how to do either—I'm just going for it," he says. "The hardest part was learning how to set up all the audio-visual equipment and figuring out the software, and I still don't really know what I'm doing, but here we go! I might be out of focus half the time, but the content is great."