Big Ideas In Small Packages

I’ve never met David Baldwin of Baldwin&, so I don’t know if he’s humble or not, but he sounds humble in this Q+A with Bart Cleveland, care of Ad Age’s Small Agency Diary. He also provides great answers (while sounding humble), which makes me want to pause and listen.

Q. Most agencies think they are different, but it’s shades of gray. Most sound the same. What have you done to shape your firm to be truly different?
A. So many agencies talk about being experts in all fields and then BS their way through. For instance, have you noticed how many people are saying they’re social-media ‘gurus’ now? We ended our name with an Ampersand for a reason. We are committed to the ideas and then finding the right partners to get them done. We know what we’re good at and we know what we’re not.
Q. What one moment would you point to as an illustration of success?
A. Hiring our first person beyond our founders was quite gratifying. It just felt great.
Q. In one sentence, sum up your agency.
A. We call the company a creative practice because though we’re an advertising agency, we’ll do anything that lets us live our mission, which is to use creativity to make a difference.

Given how close Baldwin’s vision is to my own, I love it. (Insert obligatory smiley face.)



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.