In this podcast, Jeff Staple interviews John C. Jay and traces the career steps and creative risks he took at each step. John C. Jay is the former Global Creative Director of Wieden+Kennedy and the current President of Global Creative at Fast Retailing (Uniqlo). This podcast episode is a must listen for anyone interested in creativity, branding or business. I was lucky enough to have John as one of my first mentors in advertising. He always told me “Don’t make an ad. Make art.” It’s an inspiring viewpoint from a self-proclaimed “outsider.” John is drawn to advertising by the talented creators he can collaborate with, but he has always aspired to something beyond advertising. If you’re not familiar with John, he’s well worth googling to trace the influence he’s had on Nike and the creative industry. He is constantly digging for new, undiscovered and overlooked voices. He then cultivates that talent and collaborates with them on the brightest brand stages. This episode is full of inspiration on how to follow your gut, build a powerful network and push your creative career to new heights.
Check out the full episode here.
Below is one of John’s first pieces of work on Nike. It was part of a massive, hyper local New York City basketball campaign that included loads of posters and videos featuring local street legends. It was the first “city attack,” which years later has now become a standard client brief.
Many moons ago, Nike was thinking about producing baseball gear and they brought me in to test their prototypes. I came into campus, took some BP, threw some long toss and gave detailed feedback about how I felt. A couple of weeks later, they’d make some tweaks and we’d do it again. It was a dream gig for a high schooler. After that, I continued pushing my baseball career until I eventually had a major league tryout as a pitcher. A few weeks ago I found myself on a pristine baseball field in rural Japan, shooting an amazing 15-year old female baseball pitcher for a Nike commercial. It was one of those Field of Dreams type moments of nostalgia where you think about the journey and are grateful for all the talented teammates you’ve been lucky to have along the way. Thank you to @atlasfoto for your eye and soul capturing this personal moment of reflection in the middle of our intense work grind. ️