The hit AMC television series Mad Men follows the turbulent – and enticingly glamorous – life of Don Draper, a cutthroat ad agency founder who will do anything to keep his reputation as the leading ad man in the industry untouched.
Mad Men, set in 1960s New York, has received critical acclaim for its historical authenticity and visual style although opinions on Mad Men vary among people who worked in advertising during that period.
Yet unlike the TV ‘Mad Men,’ most advertising agency founders work “full, exhausting, joyous days: pitching new business, creating ideas, “comping” them up, storyboarding them, selling them, photographing them, and directing commercials.”
Join us behind the scenes with four agency founders as they reveal how they became “ad men”, where they find inspiration, and how they’re positioned to change the ad industry.
1. Jamie King and Roger Camp, Managing Partners at Camp + King
Jamie King and Roger Camp, co-founders of San Francisco-based advertising agency Camp + King launched in February 2011 as part of Havas Worldwide. The two founders discuss building company culture, inspiration and the new media landscape.
Founders Roger Camp and Jamie King are the advertising masterminds behind some of the world’s most well-known brands. But as the founder’s explain, before they became brand makers they were tasked to become turnaround kings. “It’s fair to say that the seeds of Camp + King were sown at [the ad agency] Hal Riney, where we first met,” Camp explains.
“The agency had gone through a range of leaders and client departures and was subsequently handed to us. We started by building the people back up and creating a culture that was more creative and spontaneous; all the while, we pitched like mad. Clients soon followed: U.S. Cellular, Beam Global Spirits, Wrigley and Walmart. We’re now working with clients [like] Capital One, Bacardi and Google.”
“The inspiration for the agency was to create something from nothing – it’s as simple and complicated as that.”“The inspiration for the agency was to create something from nothing – it’s as simple and complicated as that. We felt confident that we could succeed at other agencies, but wanted to fly our own flag and surround ourselves with others who believed in us and in themselves,” Camp and King explain.
“We’re probably going through the most dynamic time in our industry. The media landscape changes daily; social media has created incredible platforms for ideas; and even the mature brands are innovating. So we invest a lot of money into tools to help us understand how consumers use these mediums to interact and talk about brands,” says King.
What proves most unique about Camp + King is their commitment to human capital. “Beyond understanding and investing in the new media landscape, our best asset remains people. So we invest in our people and try to create a culture that they can flourish in. This business is hard for women who want to have a family, so we’ve created job shares for working mothers. Three of the five top people under us are women. Various studies have shown that women influence or drive 85 percent of all purchase decisions. So for us, investing in our team gives us a competitive advantage.”
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