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In Conversation with DENTSU CREATIVE US’s Casey Aitken



DENTSU CREATIVE US’s group creative director shares his career path, his favourite work projects and how storytelling has been his lifeblood

In Conversation with DENTSU CREATIVE US’s Casey Aitken

Group creative director Casey Aitken helps brands imagine new ways to tell their stories around the world. Today, his toolkit includes social media, AR, custom apps and other digital media. But when he was a youth, he dreamed of writing screen plays to share his thoughts and ideals. He discusses how he made that leap. 

Q> How would you explain your job to a small child? 

Casey> I tell stories about the things in your life that haven't been told to help you imagine how you could use them, how you could share them and why you need them.  

Q> Tell us about your favorite project you’ve worked on and why?  

Casey> We've been working on an in-the-office comedy series for an aerospace and technology client that's really been pushing the brand to think of itself differently. They want to show the world that while they build some of the most advanced technology (most of which the average person has never heard about), it's collaboration that gets the hard work done.  

Q> How is your job uniquely creative? 

Casey> Every day is an adventure. Every day we have a new issue to solve, a new way to approach what's never been done. Within an industry that thrives on novelty, our team is constantly challenging ourselves to create something the world has never seen or tell a story that's never been told. Creating something new is a driving force for creativity.  

Q> What is your biggest career accomplishment to date? 

Casey> I've worked with a couple of mentorship programs, including The Young Commodores at my last agency and Free Arts NY currently. Seeing people in middle and high school find their strides, make something for themselves, and in some cases, sell actual work to clients, is incredible.  

Q> Tell us about your career path? 

Casey> Right after college, I wanted to be a screenwriter. But I went to work as a wardrobe stylist, working on shows like 'Family Feud' and 'Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader' in LA, as well as assisting with red carpet events. 

But working as a stylist left me wanting more, so, I got a job with a children's hospital in Atlanta. Working in the marketing department there, I learned a lot about empathy and how to tell these families' stories as truthfully as I could. Also, I spent a couple of years as an account person which gave me tremendous respect for that part of the business.

Then I moved to work for JWT in Atlanta as a senior copywriter, and I threw myself into new business. In a couple of years, I was working as creative director in NY. Once JWT merged with Wunderman, our unit was made redundant. By happy accident, I worked on a two-month long photo shoot with the folks at dentsumcgarrybowen, and they took me on full time as a GCD. I continue that role with DENTSU CREATIVE US now.

Q> What advice would you give your younger self? 

Casey> Keep writing. People will tell you that there's no way to make it. But, if you love something, keep at it. Even if you don't end up doing exactly what you wanted, the fact that you get to write – in any capacity – for a living is an incredible reward. 

Q> What is something that inspires you? 

Casey> I’m a big movie person! I love storytelling and the minute-to-minute expectations of 'content' these days. Being immersed in a story that takes a couple of hours to tell, but keeps you engaged the whole time, is amazing. 

Q> What’s the most interesting job you’ve had? 

Casey> I've had a couple! I worked for Greenpeace in college raising money on the street in very conservative areas in Georgia. Also managed at an...ahem...'adult' shop when I was in college. Both jobs taught me to check my judgment and meet people where they were at in their lives. Learning to temper my personal feelings about how other people led their lives gives me a sense of empathy that I think is super important to being a copywriter.  

Q> What was your dream job when you were younger? 

Casey> Being a screenwriter. I still write screenplays to this day.  

Q> What TV show are you currently binging? 

Casey> Great question. I’ve definitely caught up on 'Stranger Things'. I love 'The Boys'. Also, for a change of pace, I'm watching 'Love on the Spectrum', which are beautifully told stories.  

Q> What is your secret superpower? 

Casey> Problem solving. I believe in life there is a lid for every pot, so to speak. And every problem has a solution, even if that solution – sometimes – means walking away.  

Q> Bucket list item? 

Casey> Would love to sell a screenplay. The idea of seeing on screen what I imagined in my head...I'd love to see that! 

Q> If you could meet someone famous, who would it be? Or have you already met someone famous? 

Casey> I’ve definitely met some famous people. I worked with Sandra Bullock while I was in LA, and she was one of the kindest and down-to-earth people I've ever met.  

Q> What is the best compliment you’ve ever received? 

Casey> "How do you think of these things?" from my wife, Brittany Lewis 

Q> What is your theme song? 

Casey> Really been into 'Holly Holy' by Neil Diamond lately 

Q> One thing that makes you happy? 

Casey> When a story ends and you just want to start the movie or book all over again to get that same feeling. 

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Dentsu Creative US, Tue, 09 Aug 2022 07:07:00 GMT