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The Work That Made Me: Matt Rogers



Party Land's creative director on his obsession with learning Aphex Twin tracks, Chris Voss and the work he is most proud of

The Work That Made Me: Matt Rogers

Before helping to start Party Land, Matt helped lead work at agencies including Droga5, Barton F Graf, Grey NY, and Chiat\Day\LA, winning just about every industry award along the way, including a Cannes Grand Prix for his work on the “Did You Mean MailChimp?” campaign for MailChimp.

Prior to advertising, Matt spent a number of years as a professional drummer and A&R scout for Atlantic Records. 

Matt is currently a creative director at Party Land, where he leads some of the agency's biggest clients including Liquid Death, Twitch, and Dave’s Hot Chicken.

The ad/music video from my childhood that stays with me…

Sheesh, let’s see…I grew up a drummer and became obsessed with learning Aphex Twin tracks. I remember right when YouTube came out a friend sent me the Rubber Johnny video. Mind blown. Like, what? This is a music video? It’s frightening, full of tension, and comedic at the same time. From that moment on I was deep in the Chris Cunningham rabbit hole. The decisions he makes in terms of comedy, the suspension of reality, and all the while keeping things nice and dark. Certainly an idol.

The ad/music video/game/web platform that made me want to get into the industry…

There was a phase where I was a little punk and thought graffiti was awesome - I mean it is, but the right stuff. I think it was completely unintentional, but being young and starting to work with letters, how they interact, and how they can express themselves in so many different and creative forms got me stoked on type in general. When music was no longer an option, I found myself looking for a new career path and learned there was this whole profession called 'graphic design.' I didn’t know anything about it, but the more I uncovered the more I realised this was just the next logical step in doing something I loved. I applied to art school and that was pretty much that.

The creative work that I keep revisiting…

Chris Voss’s book: Never Split the Difference might be one of the most important books for any emerging CD, or really any creative for that matter. Great lessons in there for our industry and just life in general. 

My first professional project…

My first job out of school was at Barton F Graf right when Gerry had opened the doors. I quickly learned that working with Gerry and Eric Kallman meant this art director was going to have to learn how to write and learn fast. I remember being paired up with Eric Dennis and Molly Jamison Tippins - I kinda aped into their partnership on a Kayak brief, we all shopped each other’s ideas and one stuck. It was a spot about a guy who got his eyes dilated so he could find better travel deals. When I found out the client actually bought it, I was shocked; mostly that they bought anything I contributed to. The spot turned out nice and weird thanks to the direction of Harold Einstein and of course, Gerry and Eric. It felt Chris Cunningham in a way, messing with the human form. It was a moment of seeing how influences stick with you forever and our brains have a great power to remix and find new ways to express an idea.

The piece of work that made me so angry that I vowed to never make anything like *that*…

I’d never say, that’d be mean. But if it’s not in my book, well ; )

The piece of work that still makes me jealous…

Hah there are so many, I honestly don’t know where to begin. In every sphere we’re surrounded by incredibly talented people. I constantly see things that I wish I contributed to, from ads to art. I think jealousy might be the wrong word, but “painful admiration” certainly keeps me sharp and motivated. Rather than lament over things I’d wish I’d done, I think it’s important to study those things, put yourself in the driver seat for a moment and see how certain decisions were made. Really pull apart the process and implement it for future inspiration.

The creative project that changed my career…

It might sound obvious but helping to start Party Land has certainly been the most life-altering creative experience of my life. I’d highly encourage anyone thinking about starting their own thing to make the jump. It’ll be tough, but you’ll grow faster and learn more about yourself than you’d ever imagine. You’ll never fail, because the beauty of our industry is that work is plentiful - so even if the first venture doesn’t pan out, you’ll always be able to go back to an agency, and most likely you’ll be in a much better position than when you left.

The work that I’m proudest of…

Mailchimp. At Droga5 we brought to life a campaign that basically played with the brand’s name all while hacking Google’s “did you mean...” function. It was a widely ambitious campaign that covered so many spheres. The coordination and talent on that team will always stay with me. It was a bit of a sleeper project at the agency while we were working on it, and then when the work debuted it blew up. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, busted their asses on that work - so when it actually worked, we were over the moon. That project created a real bond for the entire team. That was a great lesson on not working towards the goal of making a “hit”, just put your soul into it and it’ll be loved.

I was involved in this and it makes me cringe…

I was playing in a band. 

We were sold on a gig, promised a crowd. 

It turned out to be a kid’s birthday party.

They wanted us to wear costumes.

That was a tough life moment.

Always ask questions.

The recent project I was involved in that excited me the most…

We just launched the first ever campaign for Dave’s Hot Chicken, and I can’t recall the last time (if ever) I’ve shot people crying while eating food on camera- and not like happy tears, extreme sadness tears. The work feels perfect for the brand, and the reception it’s been getting feels like a great example of what creative can do when we start operating to entertain versus operating to sell, sell, sell. 

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Party Land, Wed, 02 Nov 2022 08:50:37 GMT