For this edition of 1/1, I tracked down Eric Baldwin, Creative Director at Weiden + Kennedy in Portland, and one of the masterminds behind the recent Old Spice phenomena.  He was kind enough to take the time to respond, and I am eternally grateful for the opportunity.

DC: Eric, it must feel fantastic to not only be part of a pop culture moment, but one of its creators.  What song best illustrates this moment for you?

EB: Gene Wilder’s rendition of “Pure Imagination” or anything St. Louis’ own Michael McDonald sings.

DC: The multi-channel Old Spice campaign will most likely be required reading for all future marketers.  What campaigns of the past have had an impact on you and how?

EB: There have been a lot of great high profile campaigns over the years, but I have to say I’m mostly inspired by advertising that isn’t necessarily considered text book worthy. Everything from cereal commercials to ladies hair care to old deodorant and soap commercials. That also happens to be where a lot of the Old Spice tone has been drawn from. My dad was an Art Director in the 70’s so I draw a lot of inspiration from work he or the agencies he worked for did.

DC: I have worked with many talented Creative Directors throughout my career in Advertising.  What do you think the qualities of a great Print Producer are?

EB: A great print producer cares about the work as much as the creatives and will do what it takes to make it happen. Their role is so important to the process, it’s vital they are invested.

DC: Besides being talented, many of them were teetering on the wacky-creative/creative-genius line… in percentages, what is your make up of wacky to genius?

EB: That’s a funny question. I’d never describe myself as either. I’m a hard working midwesterner that has made a career by working hard. I’m probably not the most creative person out there. But I have always tried to make up for it by working harder than the more “creative” creatives. There was a contractor that did all of the construction at the design firm I worked for at my first job in St. Louis. The company was called “Hard Work Pays.” I used to walk by that truck coming in early mornings/late nights and smile in agreement.

DC: What do you think the relationship between Print and Social Media is, or will be from this point on?

EB: I think all mediums are connected and essential to successful campaigns. In order to make a big impression you have to be everywhere. The traditional mediums are as important as the new. We can’t forget the success of the social media component of this campaign wouldn’t have been possible without the success of a traditional TV spot.

DC: You blog, have a website , and obviously W+K takes up a lot of your time… where is your happy place when you need to unwind?

EB: Sadly, I haven’t updated my blog in a long time. I’ve been spending a lot of my creative energy with my wife renovating our home in Portland. Even though it’s hard work, I really enjoy it. But in the traditional “unwinding” sense, I listen to records on my Pro-Ject Debut III, camping/hiking/outdoors fun, play video games on my multiple systems and read plenty of comics.

DC: Lastly, if you were going to give the commencement speech at Central Missouri State College, what would your message be to the graduating Creatives?

EB: I would tell them it doesn’t matter what school your degree is from. It’s the hard work you put in while you are there and beyond. You have to make things happen for yourself and constantly better yourself. You must seek new experiences within your profession, but even as important, outside your profession; You have to constantly feed your brain new things to stay fresh.

Also, I’d probably quote Dr. McDermott (an art history professor there) in reference to Ernst Haekel’s disproven theory of biological recapitulation: Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny. Which when applied to art means, you have to absorb everything that has come before you and currently surrounding you in order to make something truly new, unique and stand-out.

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