5 More Top Creative Directors Tell Us the Best Advice They Ever Got in Their Careers

Juliana Cobb, Trey Laird, Joaquín Mollá and more

Our video series “Best Advice I Ever Got” continues today with part two—as five more top advertising creative directors reveal the best advice they got in their careers that made them better.

See the video above, featuring Droga5’s Juliana Cobb, 180LA’s William Gelner, Periscope’s Peter Nicholson, Laird+Partners’ Trey Laird and The Community’s Joaquín Mollá. And see below for their pearls of wisdom.

“Spend a little less time being right, and a little more time being creative.”

—Juliana Cobb, group creative director, Droga5

“Your job is to be responsibly irresponsible,” Cobb says. “You’ll be surrounded by people that remind you why this isn’t meeting the brief, or will reiterate the exact things the client was looking for. So, you don’t have to worry about that. If you’re spending your time simply ideating towards the thing that’s correct, you miss all these universes of ways that you could creatively solve the problem that isn’t necessarily checking the box that people have outlined before.”

“Be irresponsible.”

—William Gelner, chief creative officer, 180LA

Gelner was interviewing with Eric Silver for a job at Cliff Freeman and Parters once, and he asked Silver what the allure of working at Cliff Freeman was. “You can be irresponsible. You can be incredibly, almost criminally irresponsible with the work you do,” Gelner recalls Silver telling him. “We want the most entertaining work that we can put out there.” “Cliff Freeman’s motto was ‘Entertainment sells,’ ” Gelner says. “That was both exciting and a little daunting to think, OK, I’m going to be going into an agency and that’s all they do, and that’s all they want to do.”

“Read Paul Arden’s It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want to Be.”

—Peter Nicholson, chief creative officer, Periscope

“It’s these simplistic ways of looking at problem solving that also not only solve creative problems, but they also … solve most life problems as well,” Nicholson says.

“Always push.”

—Trey Laird, CEO and chief creative officer, Laird+Partners

“So many times there’s so many people that say, ‘Oh, that’s not going to happen.’ Or ‘You can’t do that.’ Or they list all the problems, or convince you why something shouldn’t work,” says Laird. “So, I learned from a really, really early age that you have to always push. There’s always a different way to do something. You have to really believe in your idea. And if you don’t believe in it, nobody else is. That simple thing really stuck with me, and every day I think about that and use it.”

“Find the trampoline.”

—Joaquín Mollá, chief creative officer, The Community

One of Mollá’s mentors in Argentina gave him advice that stayed with him. “I was a bit anxious because I wasn’t getting to the right idea,” Mollá says. “And he said, ‘Joaquín, this is a stair. You go step by step, you keeping going, you keep going. All of a sudden you will now realize that one of the steps becomes a trampoline. And you never know which one is going to be a trampoline.’ I think that set my method of how I work. Always trying to find the trampoline, but never stop going through the stairs. I still remember that every time I’m in the process.”

Below, check out part one of the series, featuring Jeff Goodby of Goodby Silverstein & Partners, Patrick Scissons of KBS, Leo Premutico of Johannes Leonardo, and Matt MacDonald of BBDO.

We’re also doing a companion series called “Advice for Young Creatives.” Check out part one of that series here:

See all of our videos about creativity, including our “Best Ads Ever” series, in our Creative Thinkers section.