Q&A with Creative Director Jeff Middaugh
Villing & Company creative director, Jeff Middaugh, has been an integral part of our team since he rejoined the agency in 2014. To give you a behind-the-scenes look at how the agency's creative process works, we asked Jeff a few questions about his job. Enjoy!
Aaron Charles - Jeff, thanks for taking the time to do this interview. Start by briefly describing your job at Villing & Company.
Jeff Middaugh - I’m responsible for the creative direction of all agency activity pertaining to advertising and marketing including television, video, copywriting, printed materials, web design and web content. I oversee concept development, design, and copywriting.
AC - What do your day-to-day responsibilities include?
JM - Day to day, I’m involved in concept development, execution of concepts, providing creative direction for copywriting and design. I typically have jobs I’m working on plus I delegate and oversee the work of an art director and a designer. I provide initial creative direction and touch base periodically to monitor progress – making sure the project is aesthetically pleasing, strategically sound and on track to meet its objective.
AC - What is your favorite aspect of the job?
JM - I love the creative process. Finding the right words and combining them with images in a fresh, compelling and effective manner.
AC - What skill, tool, or program do you use the most?
JM - Listening is the most powerful tool you can use. A client will give you this written document of what they think they want, or who they see themselves as…. Then you meet with them, start chatting and suddenly you see the real client, their corporate personality – the real essence of their brand. Now you have something you can articulate to audiences in a truthful, believable way.
AC - What is your creative process?
JM - I am a huge believer in giving target audiences the reason “why” they should act. Find a human truth they can relate to, something that makes them feel connected to the brand. The key is making them feel more connected to your client’s brand than their competitors. Empathy is a word that comes to mind. Putting yourself in the shoes of your audience. You're trying to find feelings that everyone can relate to. That’s the kind of human truth I think connects people to brands. If you can make them laugh, cry or cheer for you, chances are they support you as well.
AC - What is the sign of quality creative?
JM - Once you find the human truths in a company, product or brand, the next challenge is finding an interesting, memorable way to express it. Again, it's all about finding the right words and combining them with images that compel. A great example of a TV spot that displays truths people can relate to is one I saw from HomeAway.com.
AC - Thanks again, Jeff, for letting us peek behind the curtain to see what life for an agency creative director is truly like.
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