What does it mean to #NeverForget?
by Carey Kight

Today marks nineteen years since the deadliest terrorist attack in human history. 

On September 11th, 2001, I was thirteen years old. In eighth grade. Miss Cheetham’s third period art class. My dad was in DC on business. Right down the street from the Pentagon. I called him from the classroom’s landline. Busy. Called my mom. She was worried. Couldn’t get a hold of him. He finally called. He was safe. He had rented a car and was driving home to Ohio. He drove overnight. We met him in the driveway the next morning.

He was tired.

Sad.

Angry.

Confused.

We all were.

If you’re anything like me, your memories of that day are like that: they come in bursts, chunks, flashing images.

What’s also likely is that you’re not like me: your memories, your experiences, your feelings are different from mine.

I spent the next five years watching the War on Terror unfold on television, and I spent the four years after participating in it.

I enlisted in the Air Force right out of high school. Though I was certainly patriotic, like many American teenagers, I simply wasn’t ready for college, and the military provides an excellent opportunity to get ready for whatever’s next.

For some, that service is just a four-year stint. For others, it becomes a career. For all of us, it’s a practical education in what makes an American an American.

As an airman, I spent a year in Texas and three years in England. I deployed twice to Afghanistan and participated in NATO operations throughout Europe, including war games with our allies in Belgium, Sweden, and Romania.

I served with men and women from almost every state and territory with varying ethnicities and sexual orientations. I served with poor folks, rich folks, and middle-class folks. Every political ideology was represented. Beers were had. Arguments were made. Sometimes, minds were even changed. It was the opposite of a bubble.

There’s a cliche that gets thrown around the military: “One Team. One Fight.” It’s a cliche because it’s true. As members of mission-focused organizations with timeless core values, soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines have a privilege other Americans simply don’t have. We don’t get to ignore one another’s differences. We contend directly with them, we learn to embrace them, and we get better because of them.

As Americans, it’s easy to focus on what divides us, especially in 2020. Part of that ease comes from the difficulty of what tends to unite us. That is often tragedy, or rather, our response to tragedy.

How we respond to the events in our lives shapes our understanding of them and their impact far more than the events themselves. That’s why we remember. That’s why we #NeverForget the collective trauma we experienced as a nation nineteen years ago: So we can regain clarity, put ourselves in a productive emotional state, and take action.

On Wednesday, September 12, 2001, we stepped up, and we looked for ways to make a difference in one another’s lives. Our military mobilized for war, our first responders continued rescuing and cleaning up, and our civilians went back to work and school. The next weekend, we went back to churches and stadiums. But we didn’t do those things in isolation. We all hugged one another a little tighter. We felt more united, somehow felt more secure, and definitely felt more American. 

Whether it’s international terrorism, domestic terrorism, racial injustice, or anything else in the long line of difficult things our country has endured, an active and engaged citizenry must #NeverForget who we are. Every day is an opportunity to live a life worthy of the sacrifices made on our behalf, and to remember what James Baldwin told his nephew: “This is your home, my friend, do not be driven from it; great men have done great things here, and will again, and we can make America what America must become.”

Insights

August 5, 2020

There’s an aphorism that gets thrown around when people experience particularly difficult events: “Circumstances don’t make or break you. They reveal you.”

It’s cliche -- and a little cheesy -- but it’s also true.

When COVID-19 hit during the first quarter of 2020, the industry wasn’t expecting it.

Agencies and their production partners scrambled to adjust their models and make themselves more adaptable to a world that changed overnight. Many added sections to their websites, like “Working During COVID-19” before anyone even knew what that meant.

We didn’t have to. Circus Maximus is built for this.

When we say we exist to maximize the growth potential of enduring brands in a constantly changing world, we mean it. It’s not something we have to adjust for.

When the pandemic strikes, a lot changes, but the fundamentals don’t.

We don’t strategize, create, then produce. We’ve intentionally built a pipeline from strategy through to production that optimizes our creative to function effectively in the wild.

We’re always in production.

COVID-19 has forced many agencies to distill their production models down to only what’s absolutely necessary. We’ve already done that.

At Circus Maximus, production is never decoupled from strategy and creative, and COVID-19 has allowed us to stay disciplined and integrated by further leaning into three of our core strengths: preparation, innovation, and collaboration.

Here are a couple of our recent projects with Shake Shack that highlight our approach in these three disciplines.

Innovation

When COVID-19 hit, Shake Shack was forced to close their stores and lost quite a bit of foot traffic.

They wanted to find a way to connect with their guests in an authentic way that provided some education, a little fun, and much needed relief for families in lockdown.

They brought us an idea for an IGTV series that would spill the beans on their most prized secrets: their recipes.

Shake Shack at Your Shack was made in a time when it wasn’t yet safe to send a production crew into the homes of talent so we innovated and enlisted Mark Rosati, Shake Shack’s Culinary Director, and John Karangis, Shake Shack’s Executive Chef, to become both on-camera talent and production crew overnight.

We outlined best practices for them to use their own personal smartphones and developed simple creative to show Shake Shack’s audience something exciting as well as digitally transform their business from in-store to delivery.

Innovation isn’t always doing something new. Sometimes it’s as simple as executing the basics at an exceptionally high level. We flexed our expectations and adjusted the lens through which we saw production value.

By using what we had, we were able to tell a great story and drive revenue amidst a global pandemic.

Preparation

As the pandemic trended towards a flattened curve, precautions were still taking place.

Movie theaters were closed, playgrounds were taped off, and camps were getting canceled all across the country.

Shake Shack was prepared.

So were we.

Together, we developed Shack Camp, a campaign that would continue to drive sales, give back to communities in need, and provide (even more) relief for (still) very tired and busy parents nationwide.

We wrote a six-week, at-home curriculum as well as designed, curated, produced, and distributed a kit of activities for families to use as they follow along. We also wrote and produced a weekly IGTV series that features three real families embarking on Shack Camp throughout the summer.

We partnered with Yacht Club, a COVID-safe and certified production company, and we casted real families to perform in their actual homes. By doing so, we were able to keep our production footprint small.

But there was an added benefit to casting real families: we were able to showcase diverse talent authentically.

After George Floyd’s murder and the protests following, many companies posted black squares on Instagram and tweeted copied-and-pasted PR statements about their commitment to diversity. By featuring real people in their real homes being their actual selves, Shake Shack displayed an actual commitment to diversity.

We’re proud to partner with them.

Collaboration

You can’t prepare for all possibilities and innovate better ways of doing things if you’re not willing to collaborate.

Our partnership with Shake Shack this summer has been nothing short of true collaboration.

Right from the beginning, Circus Maximus and Shake Shack worked together to strategize, create, and produce timely content that entertained, informed, and drove sales in an economic downturn.

We immediately recognized what makes Shake Shack stand out in the QSR realm -- their own talent -- and we leaned fully into it. Because of that, we were able to truly and uniquely partner on strategy, creative, and production from ideation through to execution.

COVID-19 has had dramatic effects on the economy and on the working styles and conditions of our industry. It has revealed our own capabilities, our production partners’ capabilities, and our clients’ capabilities.

The good news is that as we move forward into this ever-changing world, we’re prepared for whatever’s next.

Insights

June 3, 2020

Last Friday we had an open agency discussion about the social events of police brutality that have unfolded in the last few weeks and the ensuing protests. They were ignited by the murder of George Floyd but stoked as well by the deaths of Breonna Taylor, and in recent years Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Nina Pop, and Tony McDade. The list is exasperatingly long. It felt like we needed to talk about it. 

The conversation was a good one. Full disclosure: I’m a white, hetero product of middle class upbringing. There are several others like me at our agency, but there are also folks representing all walks of life. We represent almost in equal numbers female voices, LGBTQ, African American, and immigrants. But this was a rare occasion for us to open up to one another directly to discuss, listen, and even plan some ways we as creative service people can do our part to move things in a positive direction. 

We’re not always going to get it right. And we talked about the need for a little grace for one another as we try to do the right thing. However, the biggest mistake I feel we can make as an agency, and as individuals would be to provide lip service to these issues without backing it up with action. But the most interesting question we discussed is: what can we do? What can we really do? I’ve been made aware of some discussion around the difference between being an ally, an advocate, and an activist. In the next few paragraphs I’ll be using some of the ideas of Robyn De Leon, a sophomore at Loyola Marymount University in LA. ( bdeleon@theloyolan.com.) to share what we talked about in our agency discussion. Maybe it can be of help to you. 

The ally is someone who doesn’t share the first hand experience of being in an oppressed group but listens, and attempts to understand and support it. By virtue of working closely with a diverse group of people at Circus Maximus, and more broadly in our creative industry each of us can be allies for others by listening. We work on a diverse set of clients, many of whom target different ages, demographics and need insightful messaging drawn from real experience beyond themselves to do it effectively. Through our diverse group of employees, our research, and our work we are exposed to narratives that exist outside of our own and give us the opportunity to see the world through others’ eyes. As an agency we’ve taken to opening spaces for discussions in weekly all agency chats where we share our perspectives with each other.  We can be allies by listening and respecting these stories.

The advocate is a person who pleads the cause for another, potentially through legal or political channels. I’ll add business channels to that list. We discussed that as a creative business we have the opportunity to advocate for partners that represent marginalized or underrepresented backgrounds quite regularly. We can be advocates by including women and people of color as production partners, talent, and coworkers. We can also advocate through our clients as part of corporate social responsibility, and through organizations that operate in our industry to include these voices. Free the bid is a good example. And we can also push our clients to include these people and stories in their work. We have these opportunities to advocate for progress every day. 

The activist is someone who supports strong actions such as public protests, in support for or opposition to one side of a controversial issue. As political culture has merged with pop culture we’ve had a lot of discussions around this topic, because a lot of our work can feel like activism whether we intend it to or not. As an agency we’ve partnered and participated in Pride, we’ve entertained working with political candidates, or for political causes. Today we’re participating in Blackout Tuesday as a show of solidarity with other creative industries who are demonstrating support for protests, and against police brutality. We can be activists through our work as an agency and as individuals. 

It’s not going to be solved in a blog post. I realize that. I don’t have all the answers. I don’t know if I have any of the answers. I recognize it’s not like we can all flip a switch and resolve a social issue as old, as nuanced, and as intricately woven into our country’s fabric as systemic racism. But if we can take time to create spaces for one another to share their feelings, thoughts, and stories so that they don’t feel stifled we can find ways to be allies, advocates, and activists for change. 

Resources

ACLU

The ACLU dares to create a more perfect union — beyond one person, party, or side. Our mission is to realize this promise of the United States Constitution for all and expand the reach of its guarantees.

ACT Blue Bail Funds

Funds devoted to help low-income people, protestors and bystanders who have been unfairly arrested and must post high cash bails (another feature of our unjust system).

Bail Project

The Bail Project™ National Revolving Bail Fund is a critical tool to prevent incarceration and combat racial and economic disparities in the bail system.

Black Visions Collective

Black Visions Collective (BLVC) believes in a future where all Black people have autonomy, safety is community-led, and we are in right relationship within our ecosystems.

Brooklyn NAACP Repeal #50A

50-a is a NYS statute that carves out unnecessary & harmful secrecy for police, fire and corrections. 50-a is routinely used to shield police misconduct and failed police disciplinary processes from public view. A repeal of 50-a would provide much needed transparency on police misconduct and discipline in New York State, and help address the systemic lack of accountability for officers who engage in misconduct. 

Campaign Zero

Funds donated to Campaign Zero support the analysis of policing practices across the country, research to identify effective solutions to end police violence, technical assistance to organizers leading police accountability campaigns and the development of model legislation and advocacy to end police violence nationwide. 

Colors of Change

We design campaigns powerful enough to end practices that unfairly hold Black people back, and champion solutions that move us all forward. Until justice is real.

The Conscious Kid

The Conscious Kid is an education, research and policy organization dedicated to reducing bias and promoting positive identity development in youth. We partner with organizations, children’s museums, schools, and families across the country to promote access to children’s books centering underrepresented and oppressed groups.

Equal Justice Initiative

The Equal Justice Initiative is committed to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the United States, to challenging racial and economic injustice, and to protecting basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society.

George Floyd Memorial Fund

This fund raises money to directly support George’s family with costs related to his death, including funeral and burial expenses, counseling and travel expenses for court proceedings as they continue their fight. The money will also go towards care for his children and their education fund.

Justice for DavidMcAtee

David McAtee was killed in Louisville, Kentucky. He was a black restaurant owner in the community who was fatally shot by authorities around midnight on June 1st. 

The Loveland Foundation

The Loveland Foundation, started by Rachel Cargle, is a nonprofit that provides financial assistance for Black women and girls seeking mental health support.

Minnesota Freedom Fund

The Minnesota Freedom Fund pays criminal bail and immigration bond for those who cannot afford to as we seek to end discriminatory, coercive, and oppressive jailing.

Minnesota Justice Network 

We provide a supportive professional community and mutual aid network for wellness and healing justice practitioners who also identify as IBPOC (indigenous, black, or people of color). In order to reduce racial health disparities, we recognize the call for community care and collectivist cultural practices, for ourselves, our patients and students, and all Minnesotans.

NAACP Legal Defense Fund

The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. is America's premier legal organization fighting for racial justice.

Reclaim the Block

By donating, you will support Reclaim the Block's work to make sure that our communities have the resources they need to thrive. Our grassroots group is up against the deep pockets of the Minneapolis police union, and we need your support. 

Insights

April 13, 2020

Office culture, while an intangible, is impactful. Recently, AMP Spotlight featured an article where community members including our Founder Ryan Kutscher shared their plans for creating thriving work environments. Here's Ryan's section in case you missed it:

Ryan Kutscher, Founder/CCO, Circus Maximus
At the beginning of the year, a designer said, “I don’t feel creative in this space.” That's hard to hear. And frankly, it pissed me off, which prevented me from hearing what he was really telling me. It took almost the whole year for it to sink in, but what he was saying was that we needed a better office culture, one that provided motivation and let our talent flourish. What I’m most proud of in 2019 is recognizing the need to invest in these needs. 

As an agency, our foundational belief was that the final product is the most important determinant of our culture. And while there’s truth to that, it overlooks how important office culture is. By that, I mean the physical space we inhabit, the emotional space we foster and the culture that comes out of that. It’s much more powerful than I had acknowledged. There was a literal awakening: I shot up in bed and said, "We have to move offices!" And that's exactly what we’re doing.

Step one: a new space. We’ve been in a WeWork space for three years. What I liked about WeWork was that it provided a community of startups, a turnkey solution with nice amenities, and easy access to office space and conference rooms while traveling. But what we learned was that it felt like a holding pen, not an actual office. So, we’ve been exploring new spaces and are targeting a February 2020 move-in date. The space will not only provide a better environment for employees but will also include a production facility and dedicated space for our social-listening practice, with live 24/7 culture monitoring. Step two: team-building calendar that includes agency get-togethers, such as group workouts, show-and-tell sessions and visits to cultural events in New York, where time is a finite resource. If anything, we learned that by investing more in our office culture, we get more out of ourselves. And that's the best investment we can make.

Ashley Richardson-George, our Content Strategy Director, was recently featured in Adweek with tips for agencies to avoid monetizing outrage over black experiences. Here's the article in case you missed it:

Black creators have been watched, mimicked, repackaged, diluted and presented to American audiences for years and not given due credit.

In the wake of America’s newfound wokeness as it crashes into cancel culture sees public outrage as a form of monetization. But with so much happening in the world, this outrage is temporary. A brief dip in market share by a limited target group that may not even represent active consumers of the brand is often ineffective.

At the end of the day, “All press is good press” has been repackaged as “We’re edgy!” Peta is the latest company to monetize the black experience for its benefit, and I’m wondering why we’re still asking how this keeps happening.

Below are my thoughts on the logic and themes that keep us from being agencies with agency. Perhaps being aware of these ideas will allow us to make changes moving ahead.

Appropri

ation starts with fascination

We have been programmed to see something, like it and do our own version of it as opposed to investing in the person who created it. While America is known as a melting pot, “being American” has been synonymous with assimilation for years. Jordan Peele was able to make a whole movie about how black people were literally stolen because they were admired, and it was scary because it felt too true to our experiences.

Toeing the line

As a black woman, I have personally sat in many brainstorms and meetings where people were outright offensive. When I’ve taken the time to explain the offense, coworkers schooled me with examples of how being edgy paid off for a brand. Trading black pain for green dollars is not OK, and we need to get to a place where we humanize our companies and campaigns.

Edginess, when done right, has many benefits, and many times in these rooms I’ve heard something and had my own Eddie Murphy/Barbershop aha moment. However, my stance is that if you are benefiting at the expense of an oppressed and marginalized group of people, you are no better than those directly oppressing them.

Diversity hires alone don’t change company culture

Issues with race are structural, so companies need to re-examine leadership, policy and training to address them. There are various forms of diversity, and it seems to be more of a speaking point than an action point. Many leaders don’t think they are racist, so they don’t think they have a diversity issue at their company. Mid-level and entry-level diversity hires put a great burden on those individuals to be representative of their cultures and risk their reputations. Diversity needs to start with someone at leadership level who has the power to analyze and take on corporate challenges.

Redemption is a storyline

We live in a world where ignorance is readily accepted, public apologies are standard and redemption is a powerful storyline. Our collective memory is short for scandal, and we have been desensitized to being human.

As advertisers, we spend a lot of time learning our specific consumers for our specific target for our specific ad campaign. While that’s helpful information, we should invest more time in learning about cultural experiences as a part of our strategies.

Let’s be proactive in the various cultures that live here as opposed to placing the burden on one person of color to represent a whole ethnic experience. Someone at every company has seen the cycle of a tone-deaf ad, the social media backlash of not having the proper creatives at the table and thought to themselves that the work does not speak to them. Rethinking the way we run our advertising requires a shift in the way we think about building our companies, redefining the information we gather during strategy and looking at our executions beyond our own eyes through the experiences of consumers.

Your new chief diversity officer may be able to find you amazing and diverse talent, but your culture is what is required to keep them there. If you give someone a seat at a table that was not built with them in mind, they will knock that seat over and build their own seat—or move on to a seat better suited for them.

Insights

January 6, 2020

Office culture, while an intangible, is impactful. Recently, AMP Spotlight featured an article where community members including our Founder Ryan Kutscher shared their plans for creating thriving work environments. Here's Ryan's section in case you missed it:

Ryan Kutscher, Founder/CCO, Circus Maximus
At the beginning of the year, a designer said, “I don’t feel creative in this space.” That's hard to hear. And frankly, it pissed me off, which prevented me from hearing what he was really telling me. It took almost the whole year for it to sink in, but what he was saying was that we needed a better office culture, one that provided motivation and let our talent flourish. What I’m most proud of in 2019 is recognizing the need to invest in these needs.

As an agency, our foundational belief was that the final product is the most important determinant of our culture. And while there’s truth to that, it overlooks how important office culture is. By that, I mean the physical space we inhabit, the emotional space we foster and the culture that comes out of that. It’s much more powerful than I had acknowledged. There was a literal awakening: I shot up in bed and said, "We have to move offices!" And that's exactly what we’re doing.

Step one: a new space. We’ve been in a WeWork space for three years. What I liked about WeWork was that it provided a community of startups, a turnkey solution with nice amenities, and easy access to office space and conference rooms while traveling. But what we learned was that it felt like a holding pen, not an actual office. So, we’ve been exploring new spaces and are targeting a February 2020 move-in date. The space will not only provide a better environment for employees but will also include a production facility and dedicated space for our social-listening practice, with live 24/7 culture monitoring. Step two: team-building calendar that includes agency get-togethers, such as group workouts, show-and-tell sessions and visits to cultural events in New York, where time is a finite resource. If anything, we learned that by investing more in our office culture, we get more out of ourselves. And that's the best investment we can make.

One very tricky challenge brands face today is the pressure to respond to cultural issues. Our Founder Ryan was asked by The Drum for his take on how agencies are adapting to the need to promote a brand's values while protecting its image. Here's his part of the article in case you missed it:

This is a big topic of conversation with our brand partners. Probably the biggest example that comes to mind in recent years has been Pride. Nearly every brand has a pride message ready to go now. My take is that on the flip side is that you can risk looking like an opportunist or bandwagon jumper. Success here is about brands and agencies partnering on a deeper level that goes beyond advertising and into strategic narrative.

For us, that's the process of identifying and mapping our business partners' core values and those of their customers to find the overlap. It's a combination of cultural research, consumer intel, social listening and tracking, brand sentiment analysis, and so on to develop that deep sense of the brand identity.

When you do that, the cultural moments sort themselves out, because we've been proactive about knowing what conversations we might ever want to be a part of. You're not wondering if an issue is something we should have a perspective on. It's baked in, in a sense. Executionally, it's also about having all of our team on the same page to take advantage of these moments quickly with speedy production. Which is why we're always on slack, or texting our clients. "Hey, did you see this? Hey, this just happened, what if we did this?"

You probably get a few hours, not a few days. So it's a combination of being proactive about our brand and reactive when the opportunity knocks. Also, you don't have to try so hard on every opportunity. With more and more brands jumping in, there's a sense that you have to be involved. You want to make sure you don't pull a muscle trying to win the internet on a given day.

Insights

August 23, 2019

Our Co-Founder Ryan Kutscher was recently featured on AdAge's podcast Ad Lib discussing 'illegal' freelancing, the project economy and why trying to re-create CPB was a mistake. Read the article below if you missed it, click here for the audio.

If it hadn't been for a one-credit course in college, Ryan Kutscher might have become a chef. He had plans to enroll in the Culinary Institute of America until Sean Fitzpatrick came to speak at his class at William & Mary. Fitzpatrick, a famed McCann creative known for campaigns such as "Heartbeat of America," fired Kutscher up, and he says "the rest is history."

Today, Kutscher is co-founder of Circus Maximus, a New York agency that counts Angry Orchard, Justworks and Roman among its clients. The 6-year-old shop was built for a project-led world and specifically styled for a freelance economy.

In this week's Ad Lib podcast, Kutscher discusses his early career at Crispin Porter & Bogusky (including being mistaken for a member of the IT department and the creation of "Whopper Freakout"); his promiscuous freelance career ("I triple booked. I think was it illegal"); and his brief tenure as chief creative officer at JWT New York ("I was 32. It was a bad idea").

Kutscher also discusses the formation of his shop and its myriad compensation models. He explains how the agency business—and the necessary skill set to succeed in it—has changed.

Oh, and he divulges why his dog was banned from WeWork.

Insights

August 7, 2019

Muse by Clio is a content platform devoted to creativity. Failing Up is a content series where creatives tell of projects, campaigns or choices that didn't go as planned and what was learned. Recently, our Founder Ryan was featured in Failing Up and shared a valuable lesson learned from a client that got away. Read the article here if you missed it:

The most nerve-wracking event for any new business, especially in the service business, is getting your first client. It seems like an impossible task. You don't even really know how to go about it at first. Yes, you believe in yourself; yes, you have the experience; yes, you have the passion to do a better job than anyone else in the world. But you still have to convince your first prospective client to choose you. Such is the anxiety that you never really think about the opposite—losing a client. And that's where the real lessons are learned.

We had an experience about 12 months into building Circus Maximus that was a real rollercoaster of emotions. We were invited to pitch a client whose name was already familiar to us and was making a lot of headlines in the press with lofty ambitions and audacious claims from their founder. They'd raised nearly a billion dollars, so the scrutiny of Madison Avenue as well as Silicon Valley was focused squarely on them, and in turn, on us, to deliver some attention-getting work. Compounding the pressure was the sense that if we nailed it, there would be plenty more work to do in the future. But if we whiffed it, everyone would see, and likely that could be the end of the relationship—and possibly the agency. We won a small pitch from them and were quietly super optimistic about how it could alter our fortunes.

Over the next six weeks, we created and produced a piece of work we felt really good about. They were excited. There were high fives. Then right before launch, something happened. They went dark. They had hired a new CMO, and all the conversations we'd had about creating a splashy TV campaign on the heels of this first campaign just dried up. To make matters worse, all we heard from them was that the work we had created might not ever see the light of day. The new CMO wasn't sure about it.

We got lucky, though; the client team really liked the work and lobbied for it. It ran, and was a big success. However, we never spoke with the new CMO. She brought in an agency she had worked with previously and never even considered us, despite the fact we'd won a pitch run by the CEO, and that we had produced this fun campaign, which had performed really well.

So, what's the lesson? There were multiple. The first lesson is the hardest to digest because it always feels so arbitrary. I'll paraphrase the great Captain Picard from Star Trek: The Next Generation: "You can commit no errors and still lose. That is not a weakness, that is life." It's true. And it sucks. You can relive the scenario and ponder what you would have done differently, or ooh, if you'd only done that, maybe this wouldn't have happened. But that's a useless game to play. Sometimes you do everything it takes to win, and you lose.

The next lesson is to do the best work you can do without expectation. The only thing you can control is your effort and enthusiasm, not the response or result. We live in a wild world of advertising, where the business is changing daily. I see agency reviews where incumbents have performed heroically, and for that effort, they're being thanked with the request to repitch the business and take a lower fee. You can't expect a certain result; you just never know what's gonna happen.

And the final lesson is, you gotta do it again tomorrow with the same level of excitement and enthusiasm, because that's what got you to the show in the first place.

Insights

June 16, 2019

Our Content Strategy Director, Ashley Richardson-George, was recently featured on Campaign, a platform dedicated to celebrating creative excellence in the communications industry. Here'e the article if you missed it:

Tell us about one thing that’s happened recently that leads you to believe there’s still a problem.
When people meet me, they tell me I’m the only senior-level woman of color they’ve met before, which is wild. And sad.  People keep saying they can’t find diverse candidates because they don’t exist, but they DO exist, they’re just being overlooked for management level positions, so they’re starting their own companies. These women are leaving the agency world because they were overlooked and not mentored, and now they’re elsewhere, making their own way.

How about something that proves we are making progress?

Honestly, I am not sure we are making any.  Conversation is a good starting point, but it is not action, so while a lot of companies are talking about diversity right now, they’re not hiring senior leadership so what’s the point?  Companies may be recruiting people of color, but they are typically more junior, which means they are not in a position to create true change.  It’s not because there’s no diversity.

What we ARE seeing is individuals and industry organizations standing up for change.  If companies aren’t willing to do it, people are going to push.  Whether that is the Ad Club of NY or social media forums, people are asking for transformation and making viable suggestions for how we can make a difference.

But while social media allows us to connect and share experiences and give advice, we now need to take it one step further to truly allow change to happen. That is going to require new hiring practices, elevating people of diversity into senior positions, mentorship efforts and more.

What else needs to be done to get there?

Time.  With the right mentorship efforts, things will likely be different in five years. The next generation of diverse leaders should feel empowered to speak up and ask for what they need to move ahead. It will happen but we can’t give up.‍

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P: (212) 256-1624

33 IRVING PL 3RD FLOOR
NEW YORK, NY 10003

INFO@CIRCUSMAXIMUS.COM


P: (212) 256-1624