Capitol Communicator is running “Up Close and Personal” profiles of communicators in the mid-Atlantic. In this profile we feature Michael Carpenter. Photography for the series is by award-winning Cade Martin, wardrobe styling by Pascale Lemaire and Sybil Street for THE Artist Agency; and hair and makeup by Patti D Nelson, Janice Kinigopoulos and Lori Pressman for THE Artist Agency.
Michael, please provide us a short bio.
I’m one of the founders and Co-CCO of Admirable Devil. I grew up and started my career in Texas as a graphic designer, before trying my hand at advertising. From there, I’ve had the good fortune to work at some of the best agencies in the business, including DDB, Tribal DDB, and The Martin Agency. After a great run at Martin I was looking for a different challenge and landed in D.C. at GMMB, before a stint at RP3. Eventually I decided it was time to do my own thing, luckily timing was good and my partners were in similar places in their careers so we teamed up, and “The Devil” was born.
Are you involved in any other organizations?
As an agency we’re involved in AAF DC, we participate in the DC and Mid-Atlantic Marketing Summits, and are a certified minority-owned business by the National Minority Supplier Development Council. We’ve also done work with non-profits like Bonefish & Tarpon Trust, and Global Bike. Personally I’m a member of The ONE Club for Creativity, and most recently had the opportunity to be on the jury of the AICP awards.
What are the things you are most proud of?
I’m most proud of my family and how we’ve weathered the the pandemic while trying to keep doing work.
Professionally, I’m really proud of Admirable Devil, the teams we’ve put together and the work we’ve done over the last four years.
Who are your personal role models?
In the industry it’s Mike Hughes. Obviously a hall of fame talent, but I really enjoyed how he treated people. He was a nice man, he would always shoot you straight and he always pushed you and the work farther than you thought possible.
Did he offer professional advice that helped you in your career?
Interestingly, I saw Mike speak at an industry conference, several years before being recruited by The Martin Agency, which really helped me advance in the business. In a nutshell, his advice was to stop whining. Sure, your ideas will get killed… a lot. But instead of belly aching about the account team, the creative director, or the client, just go back to the drawing board and come up with more ideas. His point was that as a creative, ideas are your job and to be good you have to roll with the punches and never lose confidence in your ability to come up with more/even better ideas. It’s all about mindset really.
What professional advice do you have for others?
I would certainly echo Mike’s advice and add, when you’re starting out, just keep you head down and do the work. If you focus on the work, the opportunities, fancy titles and financial rewards will come. Also, don’t get discouraged. This profession is a lot like baseball in that it’s a game of failure. Ideas will die, but just like in baseball, if you get a hit three out of every 10 times at bat, you’re probably in the hall of fame. Finally, have fun. You get paid to come up with big ideas for a living… that ain’t bad.
What’s on your Spotify and Pandora playlists?
It’s really all over the place. Waylon Jennings, Foo Fighters, Nirvana, Rush, 21 pilots, Kendrick Lamar, old school Dr. Dre, and one of my partners recently turned me on to Sturgil Simpson, so he’s been on quite a bit during the work from home period.
What’s your favorite restaurant?
There are so many great choices in the area so It changes often, but when we get back to a somewhat normal life, I like Seven Reasons for a night out and Millie’s patio on the weekends with my family. But, if you’re ever in Dallas, you can’t go wrong with Mia’s Tex Mex.
Is there anything else you would like us to know about you?
Dennis Quaid hates me, but that’s all I can tell you.