Jason Smith has returned to Moses Anshell as a Vice President and Creative Director. From 2003-2005, he was an Associate Creative Director at MA. Jason brings his award-winning creative back to the Valley after working around the world, most recently in San Francisco for Engine Company 1. He’s a proud graduate of the VCU Adcenter (now Brandcenter,) a program for which he now serves as a mentor. It’s already summer in Arizona – but we’ll turn up the heat as he answers five burning questions.
Take five with Jason:
1. How does it feel to be rejoining our band of agency misfits? I’m thrilled to be back at Moses Anshell. Louie was a huge influence on me as a creative and as a person so it’s great to be able to pay that back by helping him redefine what a small, independent, creatively-driven, post-digital agency can do today. Helping build the next version of MA is going to be a lot of fun.
2. Why Moses Anshell? Moses Anshell has a history of producing award-winning work, building long-term client relationships, and using its independence for good for three decades. We are in a unique position to have such a long and rich heritage, but also to have the courage to completely reinvent ourselves when necessary. I don’t know many agencies that can match that combination of legacy and vision, or our appetite for changing the rules. Our best work is in front of us and that is saying something.
3. UAE, then San Francisco… then Phoenix? I’ve been all over the world, worked for agencies big and small, with clients of all descriptions, alongside people of many diverse backgrounds. And this is exactly where I want to be. Not in New York or even my beloved San Fran. Not at Goodby or W+K (Great shops, obviously.) And certainly not toiling away inside a shop owned by one of those monolithic global holding companies—they’re not good for employees or clients, by the way. I want to be here because of the talent that walks through the building each day. The pieces are in place for us to be THE agency where clients can come for inspiration, advice and strategically-creative answers regardless of the medium or technology required.
4. So much has changed in the industry in the last few years. What’s your read on all of that change? Some people are frustrated with the constant change and chaos in the advertising and communications industries. Quite frankly, some people are scared. Bedlam is the norm. But honestly, I feel like the industry has come to me a bit over the years. Never before have more tools been available for us to tell our clients’ stories in a meaningful way, and that is terribly exciting. When I look around Moses Anshell, I see many other people who have embraced this upheaval and owned it too, so we all share this common bond of sorts. Where some agencies are scared, we’re confident that we know what we’re doing.
5. Where is the creative bar set for Phoenix? Phoenix has the potential to be the next creative hub in the U.S. I believe Moses Anshell will — like it has for most of the last three decades — lead that charge (though in ways Louie may not have ever imagined when he opened the doors). Our competition isn’t with local shops, whether little digital boutiques or branches of larger networks, or any of those types of Phoenix agencies. Moses Anshell will be competing with the biggest and best agencies in the country for the hearts, minds and loyalty of the most savvy of clients. In the end, this will be a very good thing for the collective creative cred of the city.