In honor of Valentine’s Day, we’re celebrating a Champion for Good who’s very familiar with our Love Has No Labels campaign. Get to know the one and only Jeff Skutnik, a Production Group Director at R/GA.
Q: How have you worked with the Ad Council? What campaign(s) have you supported and what was the project you worked on with us?
Jeff Skutnik: It’s an honor to be recognized as an Ad Council Champion for Good. The advertising and marketing industry is fast-paced and demanding and it’s great to see the Ad Council take a moment to recognize the people and teams that put so much heart and soul into their social good campaigns.
I’ve been at R/GA for 7+ years and have been working with the Ad Council for over three. We’ve produced and deployed three of the four LHNL campaigns together: We Are America, Fans of Love and Rising. It’s been a truly incredible experience, leading and collaborating with the incredible Ad Council and R/GA teams across strategy, research, media, analytics, design, concepting, technology, creative development and film production. This experience has helped define who I am both professionally and personally. It’s been an unforgettable journey and an absolute pleasure working with the dedicated and passionate Ad Council team.
Q: Social good ads pull at our heartstrings. What social good ad has made you cry or stand up and cheer?
JS: Explaining these won’t do the work justice. Watch and you’ll know why these sit at the top for me!
Q: How do you or your team integrate social good into your work?
JS: We’re in an interesting and exciting position in the ad industry, where our work has the potential and reach to change people’s lives. The desire and passion to create work that’s impactful and culturally significant is something that’s built into our DNA, as a company and as people. Advertising is more than just selling products, and a huge part of what we look to do for our clients is to bring smart, innovative and culturally impactful thinking to our work. Work that connects with people and helps evolve how we think and treat others. A common challenge of ours sits at the intersection of cultural impact and business impact. The challenge of achieving both in a significant and powerful way is what keeps us coming back for more.
Q: Why do you think it’s important for brands to have a corporate social responsibility plan in the world we live in?
JS: Brands big and small have the unique opportunity to connect with large groups of people. Similar to how athletes and celebrities are looked at as role models, so are the brands and companies that impact our lives. We should all have a plan, long-term ambitions, and actionable goals – as companies and people. In 2019, it is time to show that we care, not just when it matters, but all the time. We need to all carry an open heart and mind.
Q; What was the greatest piece of advice someone gave you, and how did it end up helping you?
JS: Something that’s stuck with me for a long time is the saying “Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is watching” – C.S. Lewis. For me this represents strength in individual morals and ethics and doing what’s right. It sounds basic, but we so often cut corners when life gets busy or we get caught up in saying what sounds right but we forget to actually do it. To me this simple thought represents a well-rounded individual who is confident and who stands up for what they believe in.
Q: What age would you want to meet up with your former self, and what advice would you give to that younger you?
JS: 13-year-old Jeff… Find something your passionate about. Be confident in yourself and stay humble. Explore, don’t be too literal and have fun. Always respect others. Push yourself and don’t forget to listen.
Q; How has your organization improved or innovated the digital landscape in the last year?
JS: We are constantly pushing ourselves to think, make and build at speed. We want to put products in people’s hands quicker, while learning along the way. We’re exploring quite a bit as it relates to AI and machine learning. Taking on cultural challenges and thinking through how we can help solve for them with technology. The possibilities are endless and we embrace that by encouraging our teams to constantly bring ideas to the table, whether it’s for clients, extracurricular, internal initiatives, passion projects, etc. We love tapping into the R/GA global network to solve problems. And that’s what we do day in and day out. We constantly push ourselves to achieve the impossible.
Q: What value(s) of your organization are you most proud of?
JS: Social good groups, the culture, and the quality of work. We put as much into creating an incredible and inclusive culture as we do the products we create. Really, it’s one in the same when it comes down to it. There’s a passion and feeling of comradery that if you can achieve culturally, you can turn what is work for most into your passion. And that’s where we tend to see the best quality work emerge from.
Q: In 40 years, what will people be nostalgic for?
JS: Manual cars, wires/charging and human delivery service
Q; Tell us what you hope to see more of or experience more of in the next year, using only emojis.