Ad Chat - Jill Spradley ACD who lives life like a Mentos commercial

It's your first week back at work in 2016 and you're desperate for something to look busy doing lest someone assign you actual work. Have no fear. To ring in the New Year right, we've got a brand new ad chat. We're catching up with Jill Spradley, an ACD over at 160over90 whose life is like a Mentos commercial when it's not filled with screaming goats, children's books and damn fine copywriting. She tweets here and her portfolio is here.

What’s the one thing you love most about advertising?
The advertising industry gave me a home when my true passion (playing rock saxophone in a Steely Dan cover band) fell through. It’s also the kind of industry where I can have a dumb idea, like rock saxophone, and turn it into something that can make a brand memorable or even successful.
Also, I like that it pays for all my favorite dumb tv shows to stay on the air.
That was two things. In short, I guess my favorite thing about advertising is that it doesn’t require me to use math.

What’s something you wish you could change about the industry?
Decision-making by committee, both on agency and client-side. It leads to watered-down ideas and longer than necessary hours.

You dropped a big old screaming goat on us last year for AAA. Can you tell us about that shoot? Did the goat have a rider? Did it keep wandering over to craft services? How do you cast a goat, anyway?
Yes, we were one of 8,000 screaming goats advertising various products in 2015. (I promise that ours was first!) Turns out it’s very, very hard to get a goat to scream on cue, even if the goat is a professional. And yes, he ate all the craft services, so maybe he was just sleepy due to being filled up on Red Vines.

What piece of art (music, book, painting or movie) had influenced you the most/ How or why?
Just one? I’d go with the 1987 “Make and Do” volume of the “Childcraft: How and Why” library. I made so many potato stamp prints. It truly shaped me into the indoors kid that I am today.

What’s the one thing that excites you about the future of advertising?
I’m not sure if this is true of all agencies everywhere, but I like that the roles between different agency positions are becoming more blurred than ever. The reason I took the job I have now is that it gave me the opportunity to get out of the copywriter / art director silo and work with designers and illustrators, and work with account management on strategy. It seems like this is something that’s happening more and more, and that it has the potential to lead to unexpected ways of looking at branding.

What’s your favorite funny story about yourself?
Back in the late 90’s when I worked as a mid-level financial analyst on Wall Street, I stepped out of the office one beautiful morning to enjoy a quick snack. I sat down on a bench, and wouldn’t you know it, it was covered in wet paint! I panicked, because I had scheduled a power lunch with some of the higher-level financial analysts at my firm, and I couldn’t go to lunch with one embarrassing paint stripe on my Brooks Brothers suit.
What should I do? I thought to myself while popping a weird mint/candy hybrid. And that’s when I realized that I could turn one white stripe into a bunch of white stripes by awkwardly rolling in paint. Then we all laughed and high-fived and I was made head of finance. A few years later they made a movie out of this harrowing tale of strife and redemption.

What piece of advice do you wish someone had told you when you were just starting out?
I got a lot of good advice. I wish I had listened to more of it. So maybe “pay more attention?”


Previous Ad chats
Brian Bronaugh President at Mullen, Pittsburgh, PA
Bo Hellberg, Swedish ECD in France, at Brave and Billington Cartmell, Paris
Jane Goldman Creative Director/Copywriter & Strategist, Boston, MA
Jonah Otieno - Executive Creative Director 5ive Ltd, Nairobi
Anne-Cécile Tauleigne ECD at JWT Paris
Esther Clerehan, Headhunter, Sydney, Australia
Ad chat: Manuel Bordé Creative copy at BBDO Dubai
Rance Randle Art Director at TBWA\Chiat\Day\LA
Åsk 'Dabitch' Wäppling the force behind Adland
Dave Trott creative mischief chief
Arnie DiGeorge Executive Creative Director of RR Partners
Andy Kinsella Innovation Director at Glue Isobar
Koert Bakker Director of Strategy at Victor & Spoils
Evan Brown, Sr. Copywriter at TBWA\Chiat\Day
Dena Walker, Digital Strategist at Irish International in Dublin, Ireland
Bernie Watt, copywriter at Make, in Sydney, Australia
Ron Smrczek, Executive Creative Director of TAXI Europe
Vincent Vella, Creative Director - Grey Paris, Euro RSCG and Publicis.
Gideon Amichay, Creative Chairman of Shalmor Avnon Amichay Y&R Tel Aviv
Richard Tseng, Freelance Copywriter at CP+B
Claudiu Florea, Managing Partner - Wunderkid, Romania
Snorre Martinsen creative at Saatchi & Saatchi Oslo
Laura Jordan Bambach, Executive Creative Director LBi
Simon White Creative Lead from Rapp, London
Richard Gorodecky Executive Creative Director at Amsterdam Worldwide
Ray Page Creative Director at Tribal DDB
Adam Pierno of Off Madison Ave.
Edward Boches of Mullen
Dirk Singer of Rabbit, UK
Gareth Kay of Goodby, Silverstein and Partners
Tim Brunelle of Hello Viking
Rob Schwartz of TBWA\Chiat\Day


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about the author

kidsleepy 17 year copywriter, now CD, who has worked in many cities including Pittsburgh, New York, Atlanta, Montreal and currently Los Angeles. I snark because I care. I ain't complainin' I'm just tellin' it like it is.