Each year, on the eleventh of November, we celebrate the service that the men and women of the United States military have given our country.

That celebration usually consists of somber-toned pieces on ESPN about Purple Heart recipients, thank yous from news anchors as we open and close their shows, and cheesy marketing campaigns set to uplifting string music (or worse, percussion only).

But what could we give veterans that’s more meaningful and practical than a “thank you” and some puff pieces once a year?

How about a job?

Everyone wants to hire veterans, but no one knows how. No one knows exactly what skills veterans actually learned when they served, no one knows how those skills translate, and no one knows how to figure it out.

I think a good start would be to reframe the conversation.

What makes a skill qualifying, and how do we measure that?

200K veterans separate or retire from the military each year. We re-enter the civilian world looking for work. Many of us are interested in work similar to what we did in the military. Many of us aren’t.

When I separated from the Air Force after four years of service as an armament systems specialist (read: I loaded bombs, missiles, and gun ammo onto fighter jets), I did not know what I was qualified to do. The job and life skills I had developed on the fightline in Texas, England, Afghanistan, Romania, Belgium, and Sweden weren’t readily apparent to me, and because they weren’t readily apparent to me, they certainly weren’t going to be readily apparent to a potential employer.

So I waited tables and tended bar while I went to film school and figured it out myself.

I got lucky. That worked for me. It doesn’t for everyone.

The lessons I learned in the service industry are also vital, but it took me longer than it should have to find steady work in the industry, and not everyone is cut out for the restaurant business. Especially military veterans used to the job security and dependability of a schedule the services provide.

Looking back, I’ve been able to reverse engineer what I learned. I discovered the value that veterans bring to their civilian employers, and it can be distilled down to three things: ambition, experience, and stability.

Ambition
Fifty-Five% of military veterans want to pursue a career different than the one they had in the military, and thirty-nine% of veterans are more likely to be promoted earlier than non-veterans.

There is a common, and in my experience, dangerous myth associated with veterans. That military members simply and rigidly follow orders from the person above them in the chain of command.

This could not be farther from the truth.

Veterans operate under the concept known as decentralized command. Veterans are resilient, emotionally intelligent, and highly competent individuals who know how to operate on a team and within a chain of command. We don’t just do what we’re told. We bring strategic, systems-based thinking to bear on tactical operations.

Experience
Veterans with bachelor’s degrees have 2.9x more work experience than non-veterans, and veterans are 160% more likely to have a graduate degree or higher.

And those are just the traditional educational metrics. Veterans also went through boot camp, technical training, on-the-job training, temporary duty assignments, deployments, field training, follow-on training, and more, all while being a part of the single most diverse organization on the planet, in some of the most austere working conditions on the planet, and away from our families for extended periods of time.

Experience shouldn’t always mean industry experience. Industry can be taught. Unique experiences --and the perspectives they bring -- can’t.

Stability
Veterans remain with their first civilian company 8.3% longer than non-veterans.

Stability is where it all comes together. It’s the practical application of ambition and experience.

At our core, veterans are grateful and loyal. We’re excited to bring what we’ve learned and apply it as civilians, and most importantly, we’ve been innoculated against the stress of the workplace.

I tell my team all the time when a client is slow to respond or changes their request, or creatives are working too slowly or strategy changes last minute, “We’ll be fine. We’re not getting shot at.”

Ambition, experience, and stability are things every industry needs, but the advertising and marketing industry sorely and desperately needs military veterans -- and their perspectives -- in the rooms where it happens.

As we all seek to be more inclusive and make progress in this ever-changing environment of diversity, equity, and inclusion, veterans are ready to help lead the way.

Strengthening Client Relationships From Home

by Alaina Andreozzi

Client relationships are just like personal ones -  if it didn’t survive the pandemic, it probably wasn’t right in the first place. And at a time when developing a human connection feels more challenging than ever, compatibility with clients has become increasingly important to weather the storm. 

We need shared interests and beliefs to build the foundation. We need to be adaptable, open to change and have the fortitude to push forward despite uncertainty. We need to be respectful of each other’s boundaries, know when to push and when not to. 

The power of developing an authentic connection

Whether it’s through our love of food, movies or art, our shared interests provide neutral ground to develop deeper relationships and connect with clients. It’s easy to skim over,  but something as simple as checking in on family or debriefing about our favorite Netflix show has been crucial to the strength of our relationships.

When the pandemic hit, we had difficult conversations with our clients about the realities of our businesses. The hit was a shared experience and we worked through it together to figure out how to make it out on the other side. It would have been difficult to broach that subject without a strong foundation. 

Managing the relationship in a remote environment

So how do you strengthen relationships without spending time together in person? I looked to online dating for inspiration. The new norm calls for new practices. We’re more intentional about our time together. We build in time to catch up on life and make an effort to connect with our clients one on one. There’s an increased frequency of communication, transparency and vulnerability. We’re sharing more than ever before. 

Humans want to feel connected, and right now that need is greater than ever. Authentic vulnerability is a powerful way in. We can identify shared values and commonalities, which can be an antidote for conflict during stressful moments. 

Sometimes, it’s just not meant to be

With anxiety at an all-time high and budgets increasingly tight, it’s easy to lose sight of humanity, but it’s mutual respect and understanding that will get us through. And sometimes, that’s still not enough. We’re not able to find a way to connect and the differences are too great to overcome. 

Despite our best efforts, there’s no foolproof approach. We can only show up as our real, authentic selves and do our best to make it happen. And just like dating: there’s always more fish in the sea.

When Governor Cuomo called on New Yorkers to help him spread the message about the importance of wearing a mask in public to help stop the spread of COVID-19, we got to work. A recent post on Campaign US featured our entry. Here's our part of the article in case you missed it:

Andrew Cuomo put out the call -- and many have already answered.

The New York governor challenged people to submit a 30-second ad explaining why wearing face mask is essential amid this pandemic.

He credited his daughter, Mariah, for coming up with the free-to-enter contest.

"Maybe there's a better way to communicate it than I have been communicating it," Cuomo said. "We're talking about that one percent, so maybe I just haven't been persuasive or effective enough in my communication skills."

Here’s what three completely different advertising agencies are bringing to the table.

....

Circus Maximus

All New Yorkers live and die by Mahattan’s long list of unwritten rules, like never bothering a bodega cat, always walking fast and never eating a slice with cutlery.

Now there’s a new one: Wear a mask when a global pandemic takes hold, stupid!

Circus Maximus is an agile agency that can quickly pivot to meet changing market conditions. When stay-at-home orders started affecting our partner Shake Shack, we had to deliver content to support their changing business needs. In a recent post, Fast Casual covered how we helped Shake Shack endure through this crucial time. Here's the article in case you missed it:

Shake Shack is tapping creative agency Circus Maximus to develop a social media initiative in response to changing market conditions.

With stay-at-home orders affecting most of the world, Shake Shack announced in March a temporary shift to a to-go only model, driving guests to pickup and delivery. It also introduced online offerings like the ShackBurger kit, a DIY meal package, filled with fresh Shake Shack ingredients, in partnership with Goldbelly.  

The social media series, called Shake Shack at Your Shack, features weekly episodes where Shake Shack Culinary Director Mark Rosati and Executive Chef John Karangis host cook-along videos incorporating Shake Shack core ingredients. The first episode is live on Shake Shack's Instagram, Facebook and Twitter pages, according to a press release.

Partnering with Circus Maximus to help guide social content strategy is part of Shake Shack's larger plan to effectively respond to changing consumer needs.

"We had initially engaged with Circus Maximus for a completely different product launch campaign, but things changed nearly overnight," Jay Livingston, CMO of Shake Shack, said in the release. "We're grateful for the agency's ability to pivot quickly and help us deliver content that supports our changing business needs."

Circus Maximus Founder and Chief Creative Officer Ryan Kutscher said “We believe in building enduring brands, and that means optimizing for right now, and for the long haul. Shake Shack is a fantastic and beloved brand that will weather this storm, and emerging stronger on the other side means the business requires some agility in their immediate marketing approach. We're excited to partner in this crucial time to help their business through this change.”

The series aims to help consumers adapt to new cooking habits and find community as they spend more time at home by including off-the-menu recipes and culinary insight from Rosati and Karangis, according to the release.

We used an entirely Icelandic cast and crew to create a campaign introducing U.S. consumers to the Skyr brand, a nutritious, Nordic alternative to traditional yogurts. Recently, Yahoo Finance published an article discussing this rewarding and challenging campaign. Here it is in case you missed it:

Icelandic Provisions is pleased to announce the rollout of their first national advertising campaign created, in part, to answer the questions 'what is Skyr' and 'how do you say the word 'Skyr.' Developed in tandem with Circus Maximus, an award-winning advertising agency, the campaign was created to help introduce consumers to the nutritious, Nordic alternative to traditional yogurts. Inspired by the brand's origin and the uniqueness of Icelandic culture, Icelandic Provisions and Circus Maximus quickly made the decision to only utilize Icelandic partners in the campaign's production. They engaged Sagafilm Productions, a Kópavogur-based company that's worked on films like Interstellar and Star Trek: Into the Darkness, along with Director Hawk Björgvinsson and local talent to anchor the video spots. The result of the team's past five months of work is what they consider to be a snackable taste of Iceland.

Filmed on location in the coastal village of Vík, the commercials feature Jón & Guðmundur, played by Reykjavík improv actors Jörundur Ragnarsson and Bragi Árnason. The comedic duo explain to viewers what skyr is while donning two Lopapeysas, or traditional Icelandic sweaters. The team braved 20-degree weather and 50 MPH wind gusts, filming eight separate commercials with just over three hours of natural light each day.

"It's safe to say that this was one of the most rewarding, yet challenging, campaigns that our team has been able to work on," said Ryan Kutscher, founder of Circus Maximus. "We worked hand-in-hand with the brand at the client and board level to develop a shared creative vision and point-of-view that Icelandic Provisions should be savored, celebrated and enjoyed."

"As a company co-founded by the dairy cooperative in Iceland, MS Iceland Dairies, to bring authentic skyr to market in the U.S, Icelandic Provisions continues to be driven by our team's commitment to sharing Nordic culture," said Mark Alexander, CEO of Icelandic Provisions. "Skyr has been an integral part of Iceland's heritage for over 1,000 years, so it only made sense for us to enlist the help of some of Iceland's most talented creatives. We're excited for consumers to experience Iceland with our loveable actors, hoping it inspires them to discover a new culture and encourages differentiation within the yogurt aisle."

The campaign, which will kick-off in Washington D.C. this month, includes geo-targeted social and digital content coupled with quality, out-of-home experiences that will include transit takeovers, including full bus wraps, bike share kiosks and digital transit shelters.

A preview of the campaign can be found here.

We used an entirely Icelandic cast and crew to create a campaign introducing U.S. consumers to the Skyr brand, a nutritious, Nordic alternative to traditional yogurts. Recently, Yahoo Finance published an article discussing this rewarding and challenging campaign. Here it is in case you missed it:

Icelandic Provisions is pleased to announce the rollout of their first national advertising campaign created, in part, to answer the questions 'what is Skyr' and 'how do you say the word 'Skyr.' Developed in tandem with Circus Maximus, an award-winning advertising agency, the campaign was created to help introduce consumers to the nutritious, Nordic alternative to traditional yogurts. Inspired by the brand's origin and the uniqueness of Icelandic culture, Icelandic Provisions and Circus Maximus quickly made the decision to only utilize Icelandic partners in the campaign's production. They engaged Sagafilm Productions, a Kópavogur-based company that's worked on films like Interstellar and Star Trek: Into the Darkness, along with Director Hawk Björgvinsson and local talent to anchor the video spots. The result of the team's past five months of work is what they consider to be a snackable taste of Iceland.

Filmed on location in the coastal village of Vík, the commercials feature Jón & Guðmundur, played by Reykjavík improv actors Jörundur Ragnarsson and Bragi Árnason. The comedic duo explain to viewers what skyr is while donning two Lopapeysas, or traditional Icelandic sweaters. The team braved 20-degree weather and 50 MPH wind gusts, filming eight separate commercials with just over three hours of natural light each day.

"It's safe to say that this was one of the most rewarding, yet challenging, campaigns that our team has been able to work on," said Ryan Kutscher, founder of Circus Maximus. "We worked hand-in-hand with the brand at the client and board level to develop a shared creative vision and point-of-view that Icelandic Provisions should be savored, celebrated and enjoyed."

"As a company co-founded by the dairy cooperative in Iceland, MS Iceland Dairies, to bring authentic skyr to market in the U.S, Icelandic Provisions continues to be driven by our team's commitment to sharing Nordic culture," said Mark Alexander, CEO of Icelandic Provisions. "Skyr has been an integral part of Iceland's heritage for over 1,000 years, so it only made sense for us to enlist the help of some of Iceland's most talented creatives. We're excited for consumers to experience Iceland with our loveable actors, hoping it inspires them to discover a new culture and encourages differentiation within the yogurt aisle."

The campaign, which will kick-off in Washington D.C. this month, includes geo-targeted social and digital content coupled with quality, out-of-home experiences that will include transit takeovers, including full bus wraps, bike share kiosks and digital transit shelters.

A preview of the campaign can be found here.

The website We Love Ad recently featured our Fall OOH campaign "Find Your Slow," conceived for Brooklyn Children's Museum. Here's the article in case you missed it:

Circus Maximus, an independent creative shop that works with startups as well as companies that straddle legacy and digital brand positioning, today announced the launch of a new campaign for Brooklyn Children’s Museum.

Brooklyn Children’s Museum was the first children’s museum in the world, founded in 1899. These days the centre wants to assert itself as one of the most exciting, modern, and best-known museums in the city. To that end, it wants to elevate their brand with a culturally relevant tone and voice. They house many exciting travelling shows as well as numerous perennial educational exhibits, all in the unique residential neighbourhood of Crown Heights.

For the BCM’s Fall OOH campaign, Circus Maximus conceived ‘Find Your Slow.’ As a counterpoint to a popular New York indoor cycling brand, BCM wants to brand ‘slow’ as a philosophical approach to city life that isn’t a negative in a town known for its speed. The campaign highlights how despite the belief that bigger, faster, stronger always wins, animals like the 2 toed sloth, and others have evolved and thrived by turning their small size and slow speed into their unique advantage.

“The campaign highlights a blockbuster exhibit as a must-visit cultural destination in the city. Brooklyn Children’s Museum is excited to bring one of the first sloths to Brooklyn! We seek engaging and unique conversations with New Yorkers both with our programming and our advertising,” said Atiba Edwards, executive vice president and COO of Brooklyn Children’s Museum.

The campaign consists of three different pieces featuring animals cast as would-be instructors that are teaching viewers about the merits of slow, with intentionally melodramatic mantra-esque headlines like, ‘Slow hard or slow home.’ ‘Live slow, die old.’ ‘Slow your roll.’ The campaign encourages all New Yorkers to ‘find your slow.’

Finding the right combination of experience and entrepreneurial ambition needed to face our clients' challenges is no easy task. We're pleased to have found those traits and more in our new Senior Account Director, Alaina Andreozzi. The Drum recently published a great article talking about the newest addition to our growing team, Alaina. Here's the article in case you missed it:

Circus Maximus has hired Alaina Andreozzi as senior account director, Ryan Kutscher, Circus Maximus’ founder and chief creative officer announced today. Andreozzi will oversee the entire Circus Maximus client portfolio—which includes the P&G/Gillette, Mack Weldon and Fazer NORDI chocolate accounts—and partner closely with the leadership team on new business development.

“Hiring gives me agita, because It’s extremely rare to find the combination of seasoned experience and entrepreneurial ambition needed to face the challenges facing DNVBs, startups, and modern Fortune 500s the way Circus Maximus does,” said Kutscher. “Alaina has not only that special combo but she also shares our vision for the direction of the business and brings a warmth and charisma along with her talent and drive. She’s a much-needed addition to our growing team.”

Andreozzi comes to Circus Maximus from R/GA, where she handled the Nike, Girl Scouts, UNIQLO, ESPN, Samsung US & Global and Coty accounts. During her time there, she collaborated with The Muse, Ladies Get Paid, Reply.ai, PayScale and Cindy Gallop on a campaign for Equal Pay Day called Ask For A Raise, which won the Cannes Lions Bronze, MMA Smarties Gold, D&AD Impact Graphite Pencil (Silver), Shorty Awards Winner (Audience Honor) and Athena Ad awards. She also worked with AdCouncil on a campaign to increase voter turnout called GoVoteBot - a Facebook messenger bot that educate voters on how and where to vote. She spent nearly four years at the agency working her way up from account manager to management supervisor.

Before R/GA, she spent about three years at J. Walter Thompson Worldwide (JWT) working on Rolex US & Global and Shelter Pet Project. Andreozzi was selected as a rising star at JWT to participate in the second U.S. Google Squared program, an award-winning digital marketing course focused on empowering digitally skilled industry leaders. Through completion of this program, participants reimagine their approach to learning, handling change and becoming members of creative and efficient teams.

Despite having worked at larger agencies, Andreozzi has always found her way to smaller teams and led projects for causes she feels passionate about like voter turnout, equal pay and women’s rights. Throughout her career, she has worked on accounts ranging from multibillion dollar corporations such as Samsung and Rolex to smaller nonprofits such as Ad Council.

“Circus Maximus is an agency that is committed to innovation in a changing industry, staying lean, moving quickly and developing close relationships with clients,” added Andreozzi. “It’s the perfect agency for me.

For Mack Weldon's fall OOH campaign, Circus Maximus conceived ‘Proven in NYC; Available Everywhere,’ a concept inspired by the brand’s technologically perfected men’s basics that are stress-tested in one of the most challenging places on earth: New York City. Because if your clothes can make it here, they can make it anywhere. Here's the article in case you missed it:

Circus Maximus, an independent creative shop that works with startups as well as companies that straddle legacy and digital brand positioning, today announced the launch of a new campaign for Mack Weldon, a direct-to-consumer brand known for reinventing men’s essentials.

Mack Weldon launched in 2012 with a clear mission to reinvent men's basics through technical innovation and smart design. Since debuting with its core offering of underwear, socks, and T-shirts, Mack Weldon has become a leading menswear brand, expanding to include everyday essentials such as sweats, swimwear, dress shirts, outerwear, activewear, accessories and beyond. Driven by modern styling and technical function, every Mack Weldon product is designed to elevate a man’s wardrobe and take the pain away from buying quality men’s essentials.

For the brand’s fall OOH campaign, Circus Maximus conceived ‘Proven in NYC; Available Everywhere,’ a concept inspired by Mack Weldon’s technologically perfected men’s basics that are stress-tested in one of the most challenging places on earth: New York City. Because if your clothes can make it here, they can make it anywhere.

“When designing our products, whether a pair of moisture-wicking underwear or a thermo-regulating cashmere sweater, we’re always thinking about how they complement the busy lives of our customers—in NYC and beyond,” said Brian Berger, founder and CEO of Mack Weldon. “New York is our home, and we’re excited to see our ads in the city’s iconic subway system.”

The campaign will run exclusively in the New York City subway system and consists of 16 different pieces of creative paying homage to the city it was born out of. Four of the ads feature a different pair of men’s boxer-briefs against a blue backdrop with accompanying copy that reads, ‘Mack Weldon. If we can make it comfortable here, we can make it comfortable anywhere.’ The line is a play on a lyric from the famous song, ‘New York, New York,’ which promises, ‘If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere.’ Smaller print, framed inside ‘track lines’ reminiscent of Massimo Vignelli’s original subway map, point to the garment’s additional attributes and functionality.

To capture the tone of New York City while highlighting Mack Weldon products, the eight other executions follow a similar design treatment paired with NYC-centric copy lines, including:

  • 'Bagel and lox. Empire State Building. Neighbours who mind their own business. Our underwear is just another thing this city is good for.'
  • 'Anti-odour underwear. For when your Thursday night date lasts till Friday morning.'
  • 'Shirts so comfortable, you’ll forget you just paid $17 for a salad.'
  • 'Stain-resistant pants. Because that dollar slice came with two of the thinnest little napkins in history.'

“The ads we created are a functional map of our technology, navigating people to the right Mack Weldon tech-enhanced basics to perform in the world’s least hospitable place,” said Ryan Kutscher, chief creative officer of Circus Maximus. “So, we’re educating and entertaining people who are feeling the pain while reading about our solutions.”

The OOH campaign runs in-market from October 28th to just before Thanksgiving. Circus Maximus has worked on creative projects for Mack Weldon since the beginning of 2019.

The brand identity we created for Aura, a more human cuyber security firm, was recently featured in The Drum. Read the article here if you missed it:

Award-winning branding and advertising agency Circus Maximus has created a distinctly human brand identity for tech company Aura, a digital-security brand that recently launched. Aura’s offering pairs intelligent-scanning antivirus software with an advanced data-enabled technology that uses artificial intelligence to monitor, manage and protect sensitive information.

Aura is a one-stop shop of integrated products that provides enterprise-grade security solutions. Intrusta and Identity Guard’s cybersecurity and identity-theft products give consumers a halo of protection, so they can enjoy the benefits of technology without fear. Aura is a combined business entity formed by iSubscribed and Intersections Incwith partners WndrCo and General Catalyst.

While most cyber-security brands favor a dark, scary vision and a high-tech Matrixmessage, Aura is treating people like...people. The company’s mission is to pioneer digital freedom for all and enable people to enjoy the benefits of technology simply and without fear. Aura’s brand principles include “caring,” “human,” “candid” and “vigilant.”

Circus Maximus created the naming, branding, website, and other materials—from the typography, color palette, logos, imagery and other assets detailed in the brand style guide to the corporate website where consumers can view Aura’s security services—to complement the brand’s goal of “simplifying digital security for our modern lives.”

The color scheme (Sunrise, Nightshade, Peach and Gradient) is warm, natural and accessible with crisp typefaces that are professional yet friendly. The website’s pages are airy—there’s plenty of white space and the language isn’t too lofty. Images show happy, secure and diverse families enjoying the digital world and Aura officemates working to protect consumers from the threat of cyber-security breaches.

Aura uses adaptive technology, so its easy-to-use interface learns from the user to continually improve security and the experience. Its near real-time alerts inform customers, so they can act quickly if their personal information is breached.

Circus Maximus also created the tagline for Aura: “Your Digital Halo.”

“We know that finding and articulating a brand’s empathy is the key to their consumer appeal, and long-term success,” said Ryan Kutscher, Circus Maximus founder and chief creative officer. “Aura represents how we implement that process in a category that falls into the trapping of fear tactics all too easily. We’re excited for the wonderful team at Aura as they launch this unique brand.”

Aura provides a host of personal-identity protection offerings, including monthly credit scores and annual credit reports with information from Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, social media insights, dark web monitoring, bank account takeover alerts, cyberbullying alerts and intelligent antivirus scanning.

“Technology has become an ever-increasing presence in our lives,” said Hari Ravichandran, CEO and founder of Aura. “Aura is the digital halo that empowers people with tools, data, notifications, knowledge and relentless customer service to help them use their technology and devices freely.”

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INFO@CIRCUSMAXIMUS.COM


P: (212) 256-1624

33 IRVING PL 3RD FLOOR
NEW YORK, NY 10003

INFO@CIRCUSMAXIMUS.COM


P: (212) 256-1624