John Dodini is Head of Business Development at Gfycat and our latest Champion for Good. Read on to learn about his favorite social good advertising campaigns, collaboration with the Ad Council and the advice he’d give to his younger self!
Question: How have you worked with the Ad Council? What campaign(s) have you supported and what was the project you worked on with us?
John Dodini: As an executive at Gfycat, I’ve worked with the Ad Council on two campaigns. For both campaigns, we designed and distributed custom stickers and GIFs on an important community issue to then share with our platform users. First, we supported the Save the Food campaign to educate consumers on excessive food waste in the US and to promote more sustainable food practices. Second, we worked with Goodwill to promote awareness of Goodwill’s community efforts such as job training. I’m excited to collaborate on many more campaigns!
Q: Social good ads pull at our heartstrings. What social good ad has made you cry or stand up and cheer?
JD: Last year, I saw a campaign from Stella Artois and Water.org, created to raise awareness and donations to provide access to clean water in developing countries. Fetching water to drink, cook, or bath is a task that takes an entire day for over a half billion people in the world — that realization hit me hard. Living in California, I take so much for granted, and I know there are actions I can take to make it easier for others in the world to fulfill basic daily needs. Contributing to causes and good campaigns, like the ones the Ad Council is promoting, is therefore important to me.
Q: Why do you think it’s important for brands to have a corporate social responsibility plan in the world we live in?
JD: Brands influence everyone’s daily decisions — from the consumer packaged good (CPG) brands we regularly use to the social media platforms we consume. As a result, although profit is an important metric, I realize that it’s critical to consider more than just the bottom line. I’m fortunate that at my company, this view is supported by top management; for example, I’ve had several conversations with our investor and chairman Ernestine Fu, who’s also a board member of the Ad Council, that a key component of leadership is active participation in the moral and civic dimensions of issues. We have a responsibility and obligation to take steps to make the world a better place.
Q: What was the greatest piece of advice someone gave you, and how did it end up helping you?
JD: Be open to new opportunities and experiences. I dreamed of being a civil engineer growing up. A mentor convinced me to apply for a job at Singularity University, where I worked part-time in college. This opportunity opened my eyes to the world of Silicon Valley, and changed my life trajectory. Since then, I’ve been at encryption-based messaging company and now, at a media platform used by millions of people around the world. Every step of the way, I’ve been open to embracing new experiences.
Q: What age would you want to meet up with your former self, and what advice would you give to that younger you?
JD: Be present in everything you do. I would tell my high school self to take time to enjoy and appreciate the moments of life. Back then, I was always working hard in order to meet the next milestone in life — another good grade, another degree. Now, while I’m still working hard, I try not to sacrifice enjoying life — making meaningful personal connections as well as appreciating everything going on in my life.
Q: How has your organization improved or innovated the digital landscape in the last year?
JD: We believe in democratizing short-form content creation. As of this year, we have 3.6 million creators and 220 million viewers. We’re serving billions of pieces of content monthly. Everyday, we are providing tools that people across the Internet are using to capture and share their daily emotions, events, and activities. We’ve also launched media campaigns with brands and movie studios like BBC America, Fox, Lionsgate, Sony, Universal, Tencent, Jack in the Box, Sour Patch Kids and more.
Q: What can we look forward to from your organization this year?
JD: We’re building new, cool tools for content creators, curators, and influencers. More to be revealed soon…
Q: In 40 years, what will people be nostalgic for?
JD: We’ll be nostalgic for driving and owning personal vehicles in 40 years. This will be due to vastly improved public transportation and possibly autonomous fleets of vehicles. Driving will make a comeback as an enjoyable fun activity to do, just like cycling, hiking, golfing, and playing tennis today.
Q: Tell us what you hope to see more of or experience more of in the next year, using only emojis.