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Jenna Capobianco: Swiping Right on Doing Good for the Planet

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The first ever ECD at Denver ‘Health & Happiness’ agency Common Good tells tales of getting in trouble for childhood imagination and the pros and cons of her freelance creative stint

Jenna Capobianco: Swiping Right on Doing Good for the Planet

Jenna Capobianco leads the charge in the creative talent department as Common Good’s first ECD. Before finding herself at the Denver ‘Health & Happiness agency’, she worked at Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam, Fallon New York, Leagas Delaney London, and Hal Riney San Francisco. She has freelanced with CP+B LA, BBDO New York and TBWA London.

Over the years, Jenna has helped build iconic brands that include Nike, adidas, Starbucks, Disney, Amazon, Time Magazine, The North Face, Nintendo, National Geographic Channel, Beaver Creek, Vail, Elle Magazine, Credit Suisse, 24 Hour Fitness, Ray-ban, Kraft, T-Mobile, Ancestry.com, CVS, Colorado Lottery, Peet’s Coffee, S’well and Oakley.

We caught up with her for a chat.



LBB> Where did you grow up and what sort of kid were you? Were there any clues back then as to the career path you’d end up taking?


Jenna> Growing up, I spent five years in Saudi Arabia and traveling with my family. Being exposed to other cultures at a young age made me curious about the world and how to connect to all kinds of people. 

I remember getting in trouble in kindergarten for daydreaming, but my imagination was so high-octane, I would fall into whatever storybook my teacher was reading and keep living in that story long after she had finished reading. 

I always loved to read and as I got older, I wrote and wrote - journaling, songs, a play, stories and a lot of bad rhyming poetry. So yeah, the clues were there flashing in neon.  



LBB> So how did you take your first steps into actually working out that advertising was what would give you that feeling?


Jenna > By the time I was in high school, I knew I wanted to be in the “arts” but that I didn’t want to be a starving artist. I loved the idea of storytelling, solving business problems and working on a team with creative people. 

I finished undergrad and went around Denver agencies looking for a job as a creative with my emerald rayon shoulder padded suit, big bangs and briefcase/portfolio. Despite my fabulous outfit, no one hired me. So, after a couple of years of working outside the industry, I applied to the VCU brand center (as an art director) and got in (as a writer). Praise be. 



LBB> What is a dream account, and what kind of work would you want to do for them?


Jenna> I would swipe right on a client who wants to use their voice, their reach and their story to do good in the world. This client would see us as a true partner, be into collaborating and be excited about the impact of brilliant and brave creative to take their business to new heights. If you like pina coladas and shooting spots in the rain, ping me.  



LBB> Outside of work, what keeps you happy and inspired?


Jenna> Adventure travel that shakes up the routine, helps me escape from the bubble and blows up my ideas of the world which seem to calcify as years go by. In our day-to-day lives we are assaulted by a constant stream of bad news. To me, the clear antidote for this is a rewilding and an immersion in the goodness and the vastness of humankind itself.



LBB> You went freelance for quite a few years - what was that like and what kind of work did you do during that time? What would you say are the pros and cons of being freelance versus being at an agency?


Jenna > I went freelance years ago when I had my first child because agencies have notoriously long and unfamily-friendly working hours and environments. I’m sure this is why there are so few female creative directors in the industry. I remember I was freelancing in an agency and had to hide in a server room to use my breast pump. The IT guy walked in on me and is probably still in therapy. 

One of the great things about freelance is the ability to control the workflow to some extent. Sidestepping the sludge-puddle of agency politics was a great perk as well. The part that is not great is passing your concepts to other teams so they can produce the work. Trust me, your beautiful idea babies turn out ugly way more often than you’d want. 

The other thing that wears on you after a while is never really being part of a team and a company culture. It can be a solitary endeavor being a creative mercenary. I was ready to jump back in and have more creative control and be part of a team that is building something special. It’s been so great to be back on staff and firing up the turbo thrusters together.



LBB> What are the most exciting plans for the agency right now?


Jenna> With the recent relaunch of our agency brand (going from LRXD to Common Good), we are doubling down on helping clients find the good they can do in the world and amplifying this. The truth is that do-gooding work is great to work on and it is also very lucrative for the client. We’re attracting a new kind of more purpose-driven client and there is a lot of motivation and creative mojo so it is a fantastic time to be at the agency.



LBB> What do you find frustrating about the industry today?


Jenna > With the deluge of data available on performance, it’s important that we harness it to make the creative better and the work higher impact. Brand and tactical work do not have to be separate.  When everything is working well, we collaborate with clients to show them how this works best but there have been situations where campaigns have become so data driven that the soul is stripped out of the messaging and the brand voice gets buried. That is frustrating when we have a great story to tell and when emotional connections are lost. 



LBB> As an ECD, you're passionate about collaboration and fostering that among your teams. What are the techniques that you utilise to make that happen and why is it so important?


Jenna > In this brave new world of remote work, we are learning how to create culture and a vibrant connective tissue in the agency. I have heard that all talent wants money, fame and power but they stay at the company for purpose, values and connection. 

But now - post-covid, people also want freedom, story and growth. 

At Common Good we are trying to make that happen with the right mix of consistent conversations that build trust, let people shine and encourage thought leadership from all employees. This and making time for more collaboration and creating visibility into how people across all the disciplines at the agency are impacting the work. And of course, having wicked fun quarterly meetings is a must too. Never underestimate the power of late nights and good nicknames.


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Common Good, Tue, 06 Sep 2022 14:51:36 GMT