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The Work That Made Me: Pat Laughlin


CCO at Laughlin Constable on growing up in an advertising household, Bo Jackson and The Who

The Work That Made Me: Pat Laughlin

Pat Laughlin, CCO at Laughlin Constable, has spent his lifetime (literally) in and around the advertising business. His decades of experience covers a diverse array of clients both global and local in a variety of industries like retail, insurance, finance, food, travel, CPG, sports marketing, healthcare and many more. His work has been featured in the One Show, Webby Awards and Addy Awards, among others. He’s also a Dad, husband, music nerd and amateur chef/pizza connoisseur. 

The ad from my childhood that stays with me…

Pat> Growing up, so many of my favourite ads came from the agency Cliff Freeman & Partners. They consistently delivered hilarious, entertaining, expertly casted spots. While their Wendy’s ad ‘Where’s the beef’ may have been their most iconic work, I was drawn to their Little Caesars campaigns. One in particular that I loved promoted Little Caesars new delivery service. It showed an over-the-top delivery driver training facility found ‘somewhere in the Gobi desert.’ 

The ad that made me want to get into the industry…

Pat> Having grown up in an advertising household, I was more aware of ads than most at my age (it was way more fun for my friends to talk about what Bo Jackson did on the field than what Bo Jackson did in Nike ads). We would discuss ads at dinner as if we were talking about literature or films. So the idea of working in the industry was always there. One ad I remember blowing my mind was a Nike spot featuring the Beatles song ‘Revolution.’ I wasn’t yet a fully developed music nerd and that spot was my first exposure to that song. It was like everything clicked. Shoes! Rock ‘n’ roll! Sports! ADVERTISING!!!

The creative work that I keep revisiting…

Pat> I draw so much inspiration from music as to how I approach creativity that narrowing it down to one specific item is nearly impossible. That said, the band The Who, and specifically their album Quadrophenia, continue to surprise me all these years later after first discovering them in high school. What the band taught me is that creative works can be short, punchy, profound statements - like a killer ad or brand act. Or they can be a collection of songs that can stand on their own but when heard together, form a greater conceptual statement – like brand-elevating campaign thinking that touches multiple mediums. 

My first professional project…

Pat> A radio spot for Friendly’s restaurants to promote their ‘to go’ offerings. Radio is a great challenge, especially for beginning copywriters. It’s a true creative playground to drive home a message with clear guardrails (can’t rely on a visual device). This spot talked about failed drive-up, grab-n-go offerings and why Friendly’s was the better option. It had some fun bits about a drive-in vet clinic and drive-thru beekeeping store. Our client was great about letting us have some fun with their radio spots.

The ad that made me so angry that I vowed to never make anything like *that*…

Pat> This is a cop out answer, but the reality is, it’s so hard to come up with good ideas in this business. Just getting work out that stays true to the original vision is a Herculean task. Given that, I would rather just focus on work that I love and not dog on anybody else’s hard work. Trust me, there’s work out there right now that when I hear the song play I have a visceral negative reaction, but why waste time talking about it? 

The piece of ad work that still makes me jealous…

Pat> Too many to count. There’s so much I love about this industry when things are executed well. To pick one, I guess I’d have to go with Progressive’s 'Becoming Your Parents' campaign. It’s just a beautiful observation on life and created on such a strong insight.

The creative project that changed my career…

Pat> Lung Cancer Alliance ‘No One Deserves to Die’ campaign. It touched on all the notes. We launched the campaign through blind Out-of-Home posters. Those pieces ended up as a trending topic, giving us the chance to start a conversation around the stigma associated with lung cancer. 

The work that I’m proudest of…

Pat> We created a campaign for Jewelers Mutual jewellery insurance that touched on the obsessiveness with engagement rings. Every element of the campaign was crafted beautifully, from the social, the print, the videos, and having creative and media work hand-in-hand was a blast. The story-telling of the videos touched on so many truths. I love them. 

I was involved in this and it makes me cringe…

Pat> Some bite and smile TV spots. One thing I tell creatives when they’re working on scripts specifically is if they don’t like the line in it while it’s typed out, they’re really going to hate it as it gets produced as they’ll hear that line read over and over and over again in casting, in the edit, whenever it airs. Shortcuts always come back to bite you. 

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

Pat> We’ve been able to work with the ASPCA for a few years now as their digital media agency of record (AOR) but recently completed a new creative campaign to talk about the specifics of what the organisation does for animals in need. For this we shot a series of videos through the eyes of animals being rescued, rehabilitated and rehomed thanks to the help of the ASPCA.

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Laughlin Constable, Tue, 02 May 2023 14:15:34 GMT