Joe Cole joined me from his cross-country travel to share what he’s learned building a list of what agencies are serving the interests of oil and fossil fuel companies at Clean Creatives. He’s been rallying creative people–and others (that’s important) to bring that work into the light, and make it plain who is taking the money. We all have a choice what type of work we do. Joe’s work as a creative recruiter with We Are Rosie has shown him that people have more of a voice than ever, and want to work with companies they can be proud of as well as be paid by.

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Listen here:

Adam Pierno 0:03
All right, welcome back to another episode of the strategy inside everything. This is going to be a good and informative talk for me, I expect to learn a lot, Joe. So don’t let me down here, no pressure.

Joe Cole 0:23
Awesome. I don’t feel any pressure.

Adam Pierno 0:27
You don’t sound like you do. That’s which is great. Today’s guest is Joe Cole, who is a creative strategist at a unique organization called Clean creatives. And I really was interested in clean creatives. I think, Joe, I can’t remember if I met you before, after I read some about clean creatives and spent some time on the site. But I was interested in then we had a chance to meet and do this conversation. So I’ve got questions. So I think our audience is going to take this a lot. So welcome to the show.

Joe Cole 0:58
Good, thank you. I hope to have all the answers you’re looking for.

Adam Pierno 1:01
Yeah. If we can, I think we can talk through them together. Before we get going on that, would you give the audience a sense of your kind of career path? And what got you to where you are down leading creative strategy at clean creatives?

Joe Cole 1:16
Yeah. So I, I fell in advertising somewhat by accident, I was always obsessed with ads growing up and never really thought about the people who were making them. In college, I was a little bit of a social Wizkid. I did things with Facebook that the platform had no idea you could do it. In retrospect, I probably should have dropped out of college and I’d be a billionaire. Now, having worked at Facebook, but it’s fine. I ended up in advertising at some point after kind of backing my way into it and kind of fell in love. Immediately I worked in advertising for about eight years. At six different agencies got laid off a bunch had some medium to terrible experiences with bosses or colleagues or clients. And I didn’t feel ultimately that the work I was doing was having any positive impact on the world. So when I got laid off this last summer, I are not passing on the summer of 2020, I decided to try to do something different try to use my superpower should good ended up working the Georgia run off as creative strategist or organization contacted 27,000 people, most of whom had never been contacted by another organization or reached by any other political advertising. And if you pay attention to the runoff, the margin of victory for the Democrats was somewhat less than that. So felt really good to be part of that kind of helped to crystallize and mission for me to help make the world a better place. That led me in a couple different directions. I’m also a creative recruiter for we are Rosie, and before that I worked with them as an editor in residence. And one of the people I had write an article for us was Dr. Mizel. It was my boss over at Green creatives. And basically after and through the process of doing that, he said, Hey, I’m looking for somebody who has like a really great background in social and strategy and creative stuff. And I was like, well, that’s that actually happens to be me. So I’ve been with clean creatives working as a creative strategist for the past. Oh, gosh, seven months now.

Adam Pierno 3:24
Yeah. And but it already? When was it founded? Yeah.

Joe Cole 3:28
It’s just over a year. I think they just celebrated a year about a few weeks ago.

Adam Pierno 3:32
Yeah. Okay. So so you’ve been there essentially, the whole time. I mean, it was it was created, the idea was born. And then you were brought on? And probably I don’t, I don’t want to take credit away from anyone else. But I probably know about it from the efforts you’ve made to promote it and get it out. Make it visible.

Joe Cole 3:49
Yeah, I mean, I think I we’ve certainly grown in leaps and bounds. Since since I’ve started on I think we had less than 1000 followers on Twitter. And I think we now are pushing closer to 4000. So yeah, it’s it’s grown quite a bit in the last few months.

Adam Pierno 4:06
And let’s talk about what is clean creatives because I I just realized, like people listening might not know what the hell were even talking about. So give people a little background on what the mission of clean is.

Joe Cole 4:17
Yeah, so I mean, at its at its center, clean creatives is attempting to get advertising agencies to stop working on fossil fuel plants. In a way that kind of for people who might be a little bit older. And remember, remember this I was in grade school, so not so much me but in a way that mirrors what the advertising industry did with tobacco clients, you know, moving from the madmen area where tobacco plants were kind of the marquee, you know, lots of money, lots of people working on it the best people in the building to the late 90s, early 2000s. By then it retreated into the shadows, either it was moving to you know, D tier agencies or it was you know, sub agents sees behind closed doors and secret floors. You certainly didn’t have your you know, Don Draper Executive Creative Director types working on the tobacco.

Adam Pierno 5:10
Yeah, I was starting my career in that in that time. And I remember agencies, meeting people from agencies or meeting people that still worked on tobacco and experiencing, hearing them share the experience of like, well, two years ago, we were the biggest, you know, the cock of the walk and the agency and now we’re now I have to go down to the basement and use a keycard. And I can’t tell anybody what, what I work on. And man, I just every now and then I’m just hoping to get a brief for Anheuser Busch. So I’d stay there because this is this is like a punishment.

Joe Cole 5:40
Right? Exactly. And that’s, that’s exactly what we want to do with fossil fuels, we want to make it very, I mean, I think a lot of people nowadays would if they had the opportunity to work on a fossil fuel plant, they’d probably turn it down, just like they might turn down work on a tobacco client, or a US military account, at least those are those are examples from my career, I’ve turned down working tobacco and to work on the US Navy. But that the interesting thing with climate change is because you know, I think for most of us, we’ve grown for most people under the age of maybe 50, or 60, you’ve probably grown grown up a significant part of your life, being told that smoking is bad, you’ve seen it on TV, there’s been anti smoking ads, you know, people who’ve got lung cancer, whatever it is, but climate change, you know, while it has been happening our entire life, it’s something that’s only more recently, maybe in the last few years, where it’s really risen to a, you know, constantly talked about, it’s in the news every day, you see firsthand or experience firsthand the effects on the world, you know, certainly certainly exacerbate things like pandemics, you know, natural things like hurricanes and forest fires. And, you know, those are those are things that are in front page news nowadays. And it’s really inescapable. So we want to get people to tie that back into, you know, where they work, who they choose to work on, you know, that even if they’re not working on that account at the agency, like what their agency is doing, and getting people to agitate for our industry to make a change, both, you know, externally putting pressure on the whole industry. And also, you know, for the agencies, some of which are, you know, some of the top longest lasting agencies that have been around to, you know, get rid of their fossil fuel contracts and to find, find better ways to, you know, better ways to pay their workforce and to get creative work out there, other than to greenwash what these companies are doing.

Adam Pierno 7:36
Yeah. So it’s an interesting site that that hosts all this content. And so the call to action is to get brands, individual creatives and agencies to take a pledge to say, I’m not interested in working with anything that’s promoting fossil fuel industry. And then there is a way you can look at who has an active contract. From the site analytics, do you have a sense of how how traffic is that list of who has a contract versus how many people take the pledge? Are our people? What how are people behaving? You know, on the site itself? And what does that tell you about their, their thought processes?

Joe Cole 8:15
Yeah, um, I don’t have any site fight analytics. But that list that you’re referring to is something we actually published in a massive Twitter thread? Yes, one tweet for I remember the relationship. Yeah. And, I mean, we’ve done some really fun things on Twitter this year, especially since you know, our target audience is marketers, you know, when we’re on social media, that means not just marketers, but marketers who are paying attention and participating in social media on Twitter and Instagram. So we did yeah, we did pretty, pretty bonkers numbers with that whole thread. I mean, it’s hard to say, you know, what impression of each tweet was its own impression, or what was people reading multiple tweets, but certainly hundreds of 1000s of impressions, if not, you know, well into the millions, you know, plus lots of earned media with press coverage. So, we like putting out putting information like that on the website, because we want people to be able to find it and see it, you know, if they’re working for their current for an agency on that list, we want people to, you know, see that because a lot of times, you know, because these fossil fuel relationships aren’t very well publicized, even if it’s something that you know, might pay 30% of the overhead and agency, it might not be even beyond their main page of their website. So we want to kind of like shine a light on it and put it out in the open because, you know, these agencies know it is kind of a shameful secret. You know, they’re, they’re doing what they can to hide it or hide their relationship to it. In many cases, sometimes you can point against what they’ve pledged not to do, you know, in press conferences or press releases or to the public but you know, still doing it because the money’s is there

Adam Pierno 9:56
because they can make a claim that hey, we are at Love when agencies tell me how clean they are, or how green they are, how sustainable and I’m like, What are you talking you? You aren’t laptops like, What do you mean you’re sustainable? What on earth are you talking about? And they always love to come out with those statements about their commitment to sustainability. But then we find out that they’re, you’re working for BP. And you know, they’re doing PR for oil spill cleanup. And it’s like, Guys, this is a lie. Something’s these two things don’t make sense together here.

Joe Cole 10:32
Yeah. And I mean, that that actually is somewhat the basis of one of our more recent campaigns, we’ve been focusing on Edelman, they’ve they’ve been pledging for years that they’re not involved with fossil fuels and made a big, kind of a big thing where it were some executives resign in 2015. When they found it so worse, they said, Okay, we’re gonna stop. But then we’ve kind of determined that they still are involved in a lot of ways. And one of them was a really, really odd thing where there was there was an email exchange, and some part of that got lap, some part of an email exchange that we weren’t supposed to see got wrapped up into, like the code of a website. And we were able to kind of track down their involvement through this kind of like very back channel, very accidental way. And that got a lot of coverage. And now Edelman is going through this whole thing they had they convened the entire entire company, thing where they addressed the allegations, and they said they’re gonna do like a review of their climate policies. And there’s a lot of people on the interior of Edelman who are really pushing for this. Yeah,

Adam Pierno 11:40
it’s actually they’re shocking, in particular, because you quote research from Edelman on the website about how damaging it is to morale and attract retention for employees, and they’re one of the their data points are kind of some of the basis for the proof that you make. So yeah, that was a shocking revelation.

Joe Cole 11:59
Yeah. And one of the things that we kind of started with was, we pointed this out to some influencers that they had for a campaign for one of their clients at Taz O T. And we said, hey, like, you know, maybe you could, since you obviously have a working relationship with Edelman, and this is important to them, you know, this work that they’re doing for tassel T, maybe you could point this out to them and see if you can get them to quit. So we had all these all these people, these influencers reach out to them say, hey, we’d like you to stop working in fossil fuels. Edelman basically said, we’re not going to do that. Yeah,

Adam Pierno 12:32
we like money.

Joe Cole 12:34
Yeah. So they got it. Yeah, they got it. We got a bunch of people to sign it. I think it was like over 100 activists and, you know, like actors and like, you know, really some really big names. To sign this list. You know what I think David Cross ended Bill McKibben, Ilana Glazer, from Broad City, slow factory, which were kind of one of the original Tarot key influencers that are kind of like sustainability design educators and Instagram, they’re doing a great job. They’ve been really strong, supportive of this campaign.

Adam Pierno 13:07
That’s really cool. What is the difference in approach, you mentioned that a couple of times you referenced that the audience for your work is marketers and people who are really active on social channels are really paying attention to the marketing industry? How do you approach that differently than work that you might do? For a consumer brand? You know, how do you how do you think about that from a different perspective? Because it will tell me more? I don’t want to put words in your mouth.

Joe Cole 13:34
Yeah, no, I, you know, first of all, I think that there’s, there’s a good number of brands that are somewhat involved in that space, particularly because they might have Creatives or social media, people who are kind of like part of the quote unquote, ad Twitter marketing, Twitter communities, and you kind of see like, a little bit of an overlap you see with Auntie Anne’s, or Sour Patch Kids. It’s yeah, Arby’s, you know, it’s kind of it’s interesting to see kind of like how they, they make a play for these people who are really well connected within marketing, but also maybe you might have large followings in general. So I think for me as a marketer, to almost exclusively target this audience. I mean, we definitely put out stuff for climate activists, and, you know, just people who might be generally interested in a topic, but our primary audience is to generally engage marketers, because those are the peoples whose minds we have to change, we have to say, okay, like, it’s, you know, you know, on one hand, you have the people who are like, yep, super big climate activists and agitating inside the building or within the industry. And then you have people on the other hand, who might be like, the limit of what they really think about climate change is like, oh, yeah, it’s bad, but I don’t really see what I’m doing or what my industry or what my work contributes to that and we’re just trying to kind of like move people from from the left You know, towards the right, you know, we want people to wake up and say, oh, yeah, like maybe I shouldn’t work on this account, or maybe my agency should work in this country, we shouldn’t pitch on this account, or, you know, if my agency is doing everything it should be maybe, you know, I can try to get them to make this pledge that they never will. Or I could, you know, make steps within the industry to like, you know, make it less socially acceptable, less financially accessible, acceptable for agencies to, to be part of this.

Adam Pierno 15:31
Yeah, that’s, that’s interesting. And so this, this kind of this conversation, and the movement that you’re trying to create reminds me a little bit of my conversation with Claire Atkins from check my ads who I see your smiling, so you’re familiar with check my ads. And what what they’re doing, I found is amazing, because they took something that seemed huge and impenetrable. And they figured out how to get it down to like, No, this is, here’s the point that we can attack this problem and help solve it. And it seems like you’ve done a similar thing with this challenge. That’s okay. climate challenge, climate change is too big for me to deal with, especially if I’m an art director, like, what do I have to do with it? And you have distilled it down to No, here’s decisions you influence that could help. And what I, what I would wonder is in year one, you get all those people who are already agitating inside the building? Have you seen a change now in your communication strategy or change in response now of getting the next level of people who are aware but don’t aren’t engaged? Or you’re moving down a funnel? Or is it? How is the communication evolving?

Joe Cole 16:41
Yeah, I mean, there’s a few things. I think, you know, despite the fact that we might, you know, we’ve grown, say, 75%, in following you, in the past year, and nine in the past year, like the past seven months. Despite that, I still think there are a lot of people who might be on the fence or who might be, you know, oh, like maybe I wouldn’t work on fossil fuels. But oh, wow, they’re offering me 50% more than my current job. Maybe I would, you know, we want to want to, like, make it. So this isn’t like a fringe topic. We want this to be first and foremost, where everyone’s like, you know, I mean, as climate change continues to be a thing, I actually read this great quote, and it’s stuck with me, it was on a tweet, it was people, people on the on the deck of a ferry boat in Greece, watching the fires burn, and like the fluorescent lights of the ferry boat, like stood in stark contrast to like, basically, the hellscape, you know, really bright outside, and it was climate change is something that you’ve, that happens to you via screen until it happens to you in real life. Yeah. And that’s increasingly what everyone’s life is going to be like, it’s going to be like, okay, climate change is something that happens, it’s something that maybe inconveniences because the storms a little worse, and then all of a sudden, there’s a hurricane over my city, and everything’s flooded in, you know, I lost everything. So, in terms of in terms of our communication strategy, we’re still trying to do these kind of attention, big attention, gravity, concepts, campaigns, like we’re getting a little bit more funding, but we’re still nonprofits. We’re still, you know, I’m part time, we have one full time employee, we now have a few more people who are a little bit more part time, we’re actually working on a somewhat fun campaign for the spring and we paid some money to like some other groups to help us but again, it’s it’s still pretty small change. Like I’ve knowing the entire budget for this campaign, I’ve spent more on one social media posts, working, you know, on a lot of companies, so it’s still chump change comparatively. But at the same time, you know, you mentioned kind of a funnel, like we are kind of trying to, like funnel people in, like, we want people to go from, like, climate change is bad, but I have 100 Other things I’m worried about to know, you know, other things really, most of them don’t matter as much if climate change is installed, and I have a part to play in it. Like, you know, if I have, you know, we’re targeting people, you know, throughout all of marketing, whether they have 100 followers are 30,000 followers, but you know, someone who has 30,000 followers is following us, engaging us engaging with our content, sharing our content, or liking it, it shows up in the algorithm that other people’s pages it kind of gives that little bit of cool kid cachet, like, okay, like the big, cool smart kids in this space are doing it are caring about this, therefore, I will too, so it really has outsize effects. When we reach you know, these people in the industry who are really well connected and we are making them change or engage with us. It really has outsides effects on I think the entire industry because, you know, ad in marketing Twitter is still microcosms of procreator industry, but it’s definitely my belief that a lot of the more influential people are not participating every day there at least watching and checking the feeds and kind of, you know, observing it passively. Because I do think that I have seen that a lot of what we do in our space, you know, get reflected out to the rest of the industry.

Adam Pierno 20:13
Yep. And, you know, you mentioned in your introduction, that you had medium to bad experiences at ad agencies, you know, when you’re starting your career, and then you segwayed almost right from that into like, I didn’t feel like I was making a positive impact, or I didn’t think the work I was doing meant too much. Do you? Is it what you were working on? Was it the kind of crappy some of those crappy experiences getting laid off? Was it just, you know, you didn’t get lucky and win the the manager lottery where you had a CD or somebody that was really nurturing? Or did you just work on stuff that you just didn’t value? Or? Or what do you think led you to that discovery about your own outlook?

Joe Cole 20:57
Yeah, I mean, I think honestly, D all of the above. I, I’ve had some yeah, I’ve had like, I’ve alternated a couple of experiences where I’ve had manager carousels, you know, like four different managers over the course of the year. And, you know, I’ve had instances where I was the only person in the entire company with my job title, especially like, in the early days of social where, you know, I’d be like, Okay, I’m the only person not only in the office, but in the entire company with his job title bosses that didn’t understand social, like, memorably, I remember, there was, at one agency, my boss who didn’t understand social, she was like, I don’t understand why it takes you more than 10 minutes to post this. And I was like, Well, I’m posting for two different brands, essentially, message but across like, six different platforms. And like, you know, like, lots of logging in, out copy pasting, moving from one screen to the other. And like, I’m moving as fast as I can, but like, that’s, you know, 20 to 30 minutes of work, like to do it, right. That’s not you know, it’s not like something and then she’s like, Well, why are you on your phone computer during the meetings? It’s like, well, because I’m literally, I have to post just like this, like, really? Yeah.

Adam Pierno 22:12
Really rudimentary. Like, yeah, let me explain. So there’s these wires, you see, and they connect, and then that’s the information information superhighway.

Joe Cole 22:22
Yes, exactly. So you know, and then like, lots of I mean, you know, for better or for worse, I worked on a lot of stuff as a strategist and security strategist and social strategist, that just hasn’t seen the light of day. And, you know, I know that that’s our kind of our industry. Like I saw somebody say this yesterday, you know, as creatives as strategist, like our job is to do for one particular piece of the puzzle, but we’re not necessarily always, you know, not every idea is going to get produced. And

Adam Pierno 22:50
it’s come on. From my time as a creative I would say about 90% of what I produced dies and and I never was, I was never okay with it. I just pretended I was

Joe Cole 23:00
right. And you know, same but I think I think for me, it was maybe closer sometimes to 99%. Like some of the best work I did wasn’t like reports that only like the client read or an email chains like one time, like getting too much into specifics, I caught basically a Russian bot army invading are invading our channels, and I got to write up these really fun reports, you know, drawing on like social political history type stuff. It was really cool. But like, again, no one, no one ever saw that.

Adam Pierno 23:31
And it wasn’t part of your job description. None of those things you didn’t have nobody expected you to be able to be an expert on that.

Joe Cole 23:37
And I knew a lot of stuff that was fun. There was another thing, it was probably the biggest campaign I’ve ever worked on in my career as a million dollar influencer by and I worked on it for from in some capacity for nine months. It was supposed to launch in November of one year. And when I got laid off the following March, it still had at launch. And it was just like, yeah, just disheartening. Like, you know, not, it’s like, okay, if you’re having all these, like, bad experiences in one way or another, and then like, the work, you’re the worst you’re working on, like doesn’t really go anywhere, either. And then at the end of the day, like, Okay, well, this company is just a billion dollar company, conglomerate, and they’re not really doing anything to make the world better. There just wasn’t a lot of wins to really grasp onto and then I worked in the GA run off. And you know, that was just so exciting to be part of that to working with a team of like, 150 volunteers from across the nation, most of whom had had never met in person. Yeah, and seeing

Adam Pierno 24:36
a real impact.

Joe Cole 24:37
Yeah, exactly. Yeah, I

Adam Pierno 24:40
get it. So you mentioned we are Rosie and I know you weren’t you have been a creative strategist. You have been on the creative side, but now you recruit. So I’m wondering how you use those insights about all the creatives you’ve talked to in that part of your work. How you you know, Dragon Drag insights that you gather there and apply them over here.

Joe Cole 25:04
Totally. I mean, just in general, I think, for coming from advertising, the reason I say my first recruiting job, the reason I thought I might be pretty good at recruiting is because I’ve won a lot of hats in my roles. And I’ve been my own account manager, I’ve been my own creative director, I’ve been all sorts of different strategies that work with analysts really closely. I’ve worked, you know, almost like hand in hand with all sorts of external vendors. So that’s kind of the reason I thought I’d be able to, like, you know, jump into a recruiting law and kind of like, learn some of the recruiting side, but really be able to, like, talk to people in a way that, you know, they resonated with because it’s like, oh, yeah, like I’ve done your job, or I’ve worked really closely with people who’ve had your job, I know what you’re looking for, and know what’s important to you. Yeah. I mean, you know, being able to continue to talk to creatives and stuff and kind of like getting their pulse on what’s important to them. You know, of course, it’s important to, you know, what, what I’m really curious because as we are talking to creatives, and of course, you know, clean creatives, it’s not just for creatives, it’s for everybody in advertising, you know, everybody from the analysts to the brand team to, you know, to the CFO, whoever to whoever it may be. But yeah, I mean, obviously, the more the more we talk to people, I mean, this is this is the strategy part of coming out with I’ve always enjoyed talking to people, whether it’s at a bar or on an airplane, one of those airplanes. You know, if you say, Hey, listen to my podcast, I’m good at my ride. I’ll leave you alone. I love I love just getting out in the world and talking to people, because I think that’s how you get, you know, whether it’s a, you know, capital I insight, or if it’s just, you know, insights into how people think and work and what they care about, like, some of the other sidebar, but I love seeing people kind of snark on or jump on these, like, ads that we see out in the world. And you know, the whole kind of ad marketing Twitter kind of jumps on, it’s like, oh, yeah, this is terrible, blah, blah, blah. And then I’m like, guys, like, no one, no one here is thinking. Everyone here is thinking as a marketer. It’s like this ad is not for you. It’s sad. As for the general consumer, some of them might look at it for like, half of a second and not even like fully internalize it. Yeah, they only registered the logo. Yeah, like people, people like yesterday, we’re talking about this aimix subway ad. And, yeah, it’s not a great ad. It’s not perfect. I’m sure it could be done better. But I was like, for the average consumer sees this and at Subway. All they’re gonna see is like, Yep, that’s me in your subconsciously and see the AMEX Lolo. And then, you know, three years from now, when they’re looking for a new credit card, they’re gonna be like, oh, yeah, I feel drawn to the aimix thing. I don’t know why, but I think I’m gonna go with that. And that’s what advertising is everyone kind of like focused on this like thing? It’s like, Yeah, but that’s the consumer, the person who’s walking by this, you know, in Union stations.

Adam Pierno 28:03
Like, ya know, we don’t process information that way. They don’t the nobody stopped and took a picture of it and marked it up on their phone. No consumer did anyway, but it sounds like a lot. It sounds like a lot of marketing people that

Joe Cole 28:14
yeah, they people have really strong visceral reaction. There’s another one like it Neutrogena at add tagline comes up every now and again. It’s like, for people with skin and people just hate hate that tagline. And I’m like, that communicates their tagline or their brand properly, perfectly. It’s like that says it’s for everybody. And it’s not just something your mom uses. It’s something that you can use whoever you are,

Adam Pierno 28:37
yeah, it’s a really it’s a repositioning line more than a position. Right? It’s saying they have research that says someone’s buying it and they want more people to buy it. So let’s, let’s put this out in the market for a year and change that.

Joe Cole 28:47
Yeah. Yeah. For me like that. I was like, this is perfect.

Adam Pierno 28:52
You know, the name of the name of clean creatives does suggest a certain audience. It tilts towards creative people, it tilts towards creative professionals. But as you mentioned, obviously, everybody’s invited to participate. Everybody’s entitled to learn. Have you gotten to spend time explaining to people like, no, it’s really not just for creatives. It’s just that’s the name and people get confused and hung up on weird stuff.

Joe Cole 29:19
Totally. And I mean, yes, in a nutshell, yes. People do sometimes get hung up on they’re like, oh, like, this isn’t for me. Like I want to be part of it. But like, I can’t because I’m, you know, I’m on a junior account executive. And it’s like, no, it’s, it’s for everybody. I mean, this also ties to another thing I have, which is, you know, some people actually, all people that this is like true of the general population. There are many people who don’t view themselves as creative or an artist and they think, oh, that’s something and it kind of like what’s opposite of giving, giving themselves permission like they kind of like stop themselves from being creative. It’s like, oh, like if I was a creative person, you know, I would think about this differently, but I’m Not seminary approaching different way. But I think everybody is creative. Everybody’s artistic. I mean, speaking more specifically to advertising I’ve seen some of the best ideas for campaigns come from the account director, our CFO, and one of my agencies was insanely creative. And he’d throw out these little like heads. So you guys working on this, like, whatever you thought about this, and they would like, crack the whole thing open. So I think I think you know, creatives, obviously, like the quote unquote, creatives that you have the CDs, the 80s, the CWs. Those people sometimes jealously guard their, you know, their domain, but you know, it a truly a truly like, the truly the best work I’ve done in agencies has been, you know, where they’ve invited the whole team to participate. And yeah, like, creators might take that and run with it or do something different. But I’ve seen you know, I’ve I came up with a tagline for a QSR burger once just kind of rushing in the room. And they ended up running with that. And it was on a, you know, national TV campaign. And I was like, that was my line. That’s so cool. And I

Adam Pierno 31:03
think it’s weirdly fulfilling. Yeah, so I think

Joe Cole 31:07
yeah, I think when people look at that, they’re thinking, Okay, it’s not for me, but I think that’s just indicative of our whole industry, kind of trying to try to put people in kind of like separate silos. And when I think, you know, the best agencies and the best work kind of give everybody in the room, everybody in the building permission to be creative and to help in some way.

Adam Pierno 31:28
And connecting that back to the to the work you do it. We are Rosie, are you finding similarities between people that are opting into, we are Rosie’s model of kind of decentralized work. Finding project based work or working in a collective is not the right word. But, you know, working in a non traditional agency format, and people making choices like the choice offered on clean creatives to actually take more voice in what they worked on how they work. Is there a correlation there? Or is it just coincidence that you’d be that you’re on both of those things?

Joe Cole 32:04
I think there’s, there’s certainly more of a correlation. I think, you know, there are a lot of things that are part of wieder Rosie’s mission, you know, more diversity, more equity, more inclusion, wider availability for people who have been somewhat pushed out of the workforce, like new parents, you know, where they, you know, oh, I can’t go back to the office, but I could work four hours a day, you know, from home. And I think there is there is definitely a an alignment between people who are kind of, at this, like, forefront of like working in a new special way kind of be more intentional versus like, you know, the stereotypical stereotype there’s, there’s definitely a stereotype of people in advertising, who kind of chase, you know, working working on work that you get awards or working at, you know, the most prestigious places are kind of like put some sort of premium on that. And in a way that maybe disenfranchises them or disagree, it comes at a disadvantage to themselves that maybe they’re taking less money, but they’re working at Wyden Kennedy, maybe they’re, you know, yeah, making good money, but they’re, you know, working 90 hours a week, you know, every week and then 120 hours when it’s a pitch, you know, like, and for me like Yeah, yeah, I think there is certainly a thing where people are like, No, I want to be more intentional with the work I want to do, I want to work on these specific clients, or I want to do these specific things, or I want to have a great work life balance. I think like, the more that people are thinking about how they work, kind of there’s, there’s a really big thing, kind of part of the great resignation, and you know, everything we’ve had to go through the last few years with remote work and, and stuff where people are starting to decentralize, working and their job from their lives and like, you know, finding, okay, like I can, I can have work life balance, maybe I make a little bit less, but I’m working, you know, 3030 hours less a week, or I’m not commuting, you know, 10 hours a week. And you know, I’m much more relaxed, I get to spend more time with my family or my kids, or, you know, My hobbies are doing art for me, like, I love that I have so much extra time to do art and to travel in a way that just simply wouldn’t have been possible with almost all the you know, quote unquote, full time jobs I’ve

Adam Pierno 34:25
had. Yeah, it’s a different, it’s a different mindset. Have you besides the Edelman revelation that you revealed earlier? Any major wins that you’ve that you’ve seen or any change in attitudes overall, since since you joined up with clean creatives?

Joe Cole 34:41
Um, I think I mean, I think that’s obviously a big one.

Adam Pierno 34:45
That is definitely a big one. Yeah.

Joe Cole 34:48
That’s definitely a big one, I think, you know, in this past year, and I don’t know how much of it was, I would be. I’m almost I’m almost certain that it wasn’t. It’s who’s the lead because of us, but I would have just asserted that our, our, our presence was part of the calculus, like all, almost all of the big holding companies have announced their own net sustainability or net net zero type commitments. However, what they will

Adam Pierno 35:22
factor in for all the, all the woes that they cause from promoting these right,

Joe Cole 35:27
from the clients actually have a fun little stat here, I’m gonna pull it up. This is after WPP, which I believe might have been the first of the holding groups to make, like another is they might have been the first step of the holding groups to making that zero commitment. I think it was a Rounders day. Yeah, I think it was birthday this past year. And they put out videos and had all these things and had a live zoom with a bunch of people and like a big press try, like they really like, you know, wrung out as much content on this announcement as they could like all of their member agencies made announcements. I mean, you’re talking like dozens of pieces of content. But so we have a stat here. If they however, BP is one of DVBBS clients, many agencies within their holding company work on it, if they increase the sales of BV by just point 3%. In a year, it wipes out their entire pledge. And I would hope that

Adam Pierno 36:28
so if they’re good at their job, right on does everything they’ve just told us.

Joe Cole 36:34
Yeah, you would hope that if you’re getting billions of dollars from the client, you’re you’re increasing their sales by more than point 3% a year. But yeah, so that and that’s and that holds true for our entire industry. You might you know, there. There was a an IHG agency. I don’t know if I have this one. Bring it down. But an IHG agency that worked on Conoco Phillips, and they made a post saying, Oh, we increased. I don’t have the exact numbers. But basically, the work they did for this one, this one agency that worked they did it for one client from one post, we said, Okay, well, that’s pretty much 30% of IHCs entire carbon neutral pledge, it might’ve even been more than that. But it was it was significant. And it’s yeah, that’s it’s like it doesn’t matter what you know, if you’re greening your if you’re greeting your productions, if you’re using, you know, paper straws and inside in paper cups inside your building, none of that matters. If you’re doing work on fossil fuels. I mean, like, yeah, essentially, fossil fuel companies are putting out 75% of the carbon pollution in the world. So it’s just it’s such a massive problem that nothing else no other effort comes close that just attacking that big one.

Adam Pierno 37:49
Yeah, me me carting my bottles to the curb every every week, it does not It’s not putting a dent in it. But this it seems like if we all align on this one thing, that’s three quarters of the problem, we could

Joe Cole 38:00
probably not everyone knows this sorry, sorry to interrupt a little bit. But the notion of a personal carbon Blueprint was invented by Ogilvy.

Adam Pierno 38:09
I didn’t know this. Yeah, yeah. It’s all meant to offload it onto me to make me feel like I have agency in this problem. And then that’s the same thing with you’re protecting your identity and protecting your credit. Like, that should be the bank, the bank should be responsible for protecting my identity. But the bank and my software companies are just like, Nah, it’s your problem. We’re offloading it. Now we’re gonna charge you actually to protect it. It’s like, what do you what are you even talking about? Yeah, you’re saying you to protect my identity?

Joe Cole 38:39
There’s, yeah, there’s a reason I’ve locked, locked in my credit at all my credit score places because I, I don’t have time to volunteer. It’s just, yeah, no one could do anything. Nobody’s gonna do anything. For me to open up a new credit card, it’s gonna be a hassle part of the

Adam Pierno 38:56
one one last question for you. You mentioned earlier about this being a movement. And I am cynical about the idea of movements in marketing, because you’ve been in agencies, and I’m not cynical about what you’re doing. But I have worked on brands that sell products that are just inconsequential, and say them saying, Well, we’re trying to create a movement around this, you know, this, this brand of shirt? Not really, you know, nobody’s really gonna get excited about it. But in this case, yes, there’s a movement to be made. How does that change the approach to language or the approach to the channels you pick or the approach to community? Or have you have you thought through that?

Joe Cole 39:38
Yeah. This is something that we’re we’re working on and we’ve put out some tools and information for people to kind of get better educated again, I think a lot of people I think most people, especially in an industry would exist kind of like at a level one, which is climate change is bad, but I don’t. I don’t really ignore all the details and I don’t Really, no, my partner and I don’t really have time to do anything, you know, outside of my own, you know, work family life. And but we do, we do see that, you know, as people start to move a little bit past that. And you know, again, that’s going to happen because climate change is in the news practically every day, you know, these days, people are starting to think, Okay, well, this is, this isn’t something that’s going to be a problem for some indeterminate future time, this is something that’s going to happen. Now. This is something if I have kids, this is something that’s going to impact their entire life. So people are starting to kind of think, okay, climate change is not just this bad thing that somebody else is gonna have to deal with. It’s something that I’m constantly thinking about, like climate anxiety is it is a thing that is really grown as, as a concept as people like have this general underlying anxiety about Yeah, holy shit, the world is fucked.

Adam Pierno 40:55
Yeah, this is really half this is really happening.

Joe Cole 40:58
Yeah, and then so what what happens is, though, people come across us, and I’ve seen this conversation play out sometimes, and it mirrored my own is people come across this, and they’re like, Oh, my God, finally, someone’s doing something about this, like, how can I join? How can I help? Is there something I could do? Like, how can I get this started with a marriage agency? But a lot of times those people, you know, feel like they’re alone. They feel like, I work at an office of 50 people, and I think I’m the only one who cares about this, you know, I’m the only one, you know, in my mind, I’m the only one who, you know, goes to protest or you know, reads about the separate thinks about it, and everyone else is just kind of living their happy life. And in reality, in that 50 person office, it might be 10 or 15. People Who all think the same thing, they all think no one else is thinking about this, it’s just me and I don’t know, who to talk to, like everyone’s talking about, you know, the latest succession episode at the watercooler, you know, or, you know, maybe maybe not so much now, because we’re not really in the office, but maybe, you know, everyone’s talking about over slack, zoom or slack. And I don’t know how to be like, you know, really drag the whole thing down today. Hey,

Adam Pierno 42:03
guys, my backyards on fire. Yeah,

Joe Cole 42:06
right. So what what we’ve, what we’ve really been doing and trying to do, and we’re going to continue to find new ways to do is put people together and give them ways to say, to say, hey, I’m interested, I’m part of this, I’m interested in this. And that to have put themselves out there to find other people who think like them. And I think one of the dailies for anxiety, anxieties, I’d like to know you’re not alone and thinking the way you think, and worrying about things has been such a relief for some people, people just been excited to talk with other people. And sometimes, yeah, that person might work across the world, or they might work in your same city, or they might work in your same building. So I think that’s going to be a big thing. And as we, you know, move move through this, like, you know, process of still getting our name out there to people, like people still can discover us. But then once they discover us, we want them to start working with whether inside their building, or within the industry, or, you know, whatever it is, we want people to start, you know, being more participatory in our movement, and whatever that means. It could be, you know, posting a flyer at the office, it could be, you know, sharing some stuff on the company’s Slack channel, or it could be something more active, like, you know, taking some of the materials we have, and putting together a deck and presenting it with an agency. Another thing we found is that, you know, of course, climate and climate change, climate anxiety, generally, the younger you are, the more important that is to you, the more impacting you the the longer of your life, it’s going to happen. But what we’ve, what we’ve found, is there actually a significant number of people at the very highest tiers of company and we we’ve talked with global chief creative officers, we’ve talked with ECDs, we’ve talked with people who are, you know, the principal of their own agency. So there are people at all reaches of the building, who can be your ally. So, you know, we’ve had people who are like, Why just started pyramid, you know, Junior copywriter? And it’s like, well, yeah, but do you know that, you know, the Chief Creative Officer of your company is also a signer of our pledge, you know, go talk to them find, find ways to connect with them, you know, find other allies within the building or industry. Like there’s so many different groups in our industry. And I think the pandemic has has hastened the ability for us to connect digitally, whether it’s, you know, like we’re doing via zoom or, you know, via slack groups or group messages, or Twitter, Instagram, whatever it may be, to find people who are going your same direction that you vibe with on other levels on a professional level and a pretty level, but also like, hey, like, this is something that’s important to me. And I’d like it to be I hope that it’s important for you too, because, again, this is something that’s happening to us right now.

Adam Pierno 44:50
Yeah, that’s awesome. That’s That’s great background. Thank you so much, Joe for making time. Great to meet you and really interesting to hear about what you’re what you’re creating

Joe Cole 45:01
Yeah, thank you so much for having me out. It’s been great chatting and I hope some people learned if anybody has any questions or wants to reach out or things that again that they might be alone. We’d love to chat with you please DM us or shoot us drop us an email. We have lots more information on our website.

Adam Pierno 45:19
Okay, and where can people find you?

Joe Cole 45:21
Me I’m at Joker cola on on Twitter J O ECA, co LA.

Adam Pierno 45:27
Perfect. I will link to both of those things, obviously in the notes.

Joe Cole 45:31
Cool. Awesome.

Adam Pierno 45:32
Great talking to you.

Thanks, Adam. Strategy inside, everything is produced by me, Adam pure. If you liked what you heard, please leave a review wherever you listen to your podcast really helps. If someone shared this with you, and you’re just not sure where you could find it. You can go to and sign up there you get episodes before everybody else. For more information about me Adam Purina you can go to Adam pure There’s information about my books, my speaking and my strategy work. Have an idea for a guest send it my way, just go to Adam and you’ll find a form there that will help you connect. Thanks for listening

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