Capitol Communicator is running “Up Close and Personal” profiles of communicators in the mid-Atlantic. In this profile we feature Scott Collin and Rebecca Mabie. Photography for the series is by 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.
SCOTT: In sixth grade, Mrs. Eyestone (actual name) announced to my entire class – at a volume meant for the entire state – that I was going to get exactly nowhere in life ‘making up all these wild stories.’ Today, I’m doing quite well and having a punishing amount of fun doing just that with Rebecca as my partner in crime.
REBECCA: I started my advertising career early, with a small taste of victory in the second-grade water conservation poster contest. My prolific ad, “Don’t be a big drip. Save water.” earned a blue ribbon and I’ve been chasing the big idea ever since. I began working with Scott for almost 13 years now. For those of you who know Scott personally, you know how long even one year can be. No joke.
Together, we launched The Creative Cartel December 1, 2021.
What made you decide to launch The Creative Cartel?
So many reasons. A conversation best had over drinks. Mostly, it was just the next logical move for us. We’ve had so many co-workers and partners (directors, editors, producers, clients, etc.) who constantly told us we should start our own agency. Over time, it went from a laugh … to a plan… to reality. We both had plenty of experience on high-level accounts and brands – handling the strategic work, briefs, creative and even client relations, which made the move quite seamless.
It doesn’t take long in this business to see what works and what doesn’t. And after years of witnessing what doesn’t work (did we mention we should talk over drinks), we decided to leave the BS behind and build something that would truly benefit our clients and their brands. An agency that leads with ideas and backs them up with accountability.
We’ve never had a client upset with a great idea.
What type of brands or clients are a good fit for The Creative Cartel?
Over the years, we’ve worked on everything from infant formula to Formula 1 racing with great results. We have found that, for us, success is less about the product or service, and more about having a great, collaborative relationship with our clients.At the end of the day, we really don’t want to pigeonhole ourselves into one industry or type of account.
We’re at our best when we’re creating brands, refreshing brands and coming up with integrated campaigns based on strategic, insight-driven ideas.
What we didn’t initially expect were the number of other advertising agencies that would reach out to us for help with new business pitches and existing client work. We have so much experience at agencies both small and global that it’s been very easy for us to fit right in with their teams and get the job done.
What’s the most challenging account you’ve had so far at The Creative Cartel?
One of the most exciting has also been one of the most challenging only because of time and cultural differences. We have been partnering with a production group based in the UK on several projects in Saudi Arabia – including the very first car to be produced there. That project was intense start to finish. Whatever we posted late at night is what our partners woke up to. The ultimate clients are in Riyadh, which is a couple hours ahead of the UK. These we’re very, very senior people at one of the largest sovereign wealth funds in the world … so it kept us on our toes to say the least. We were brought in with basically a little over a week to produce ideas for a launch video and supporting digital and outdoor assets. We worked with a large team including two directors from Italy (yet another time zone). It was an incredibly successful, collaborative project.
We’ve since worked with them on some environmental and destination campaigns. Everything moves fast. But it’s very exciting. We never could have imagined that in less than a year of business we’d have opportunities like this. Sometimes you just have to make room for great things to happen.
What’s your dream account?
SCOTT: Half of me wants to say World of Beer. The other half says a prominent Children’s Hospital. Not sure what this says about me.
REBECCA: Is there a World of Designer Shoes?
We think more in terms of “Dream Client.” The ones that say they want big ideas and out of the box thinking … and are actually the type of client who will buy it once it’s on the table. Collaborating with smart people, developing great, effective ideas … that’s really the dream in this business.
-What work are you most proud of?
That’s so hard to answer. We love when clients get as excited about the creative as we do. That’s the best. If we had to pick one campaign, we both really love the Mount Vernon “POTUS1” campaign. For many reasons. The most important is that it helped George Washington’s Mount Vernon reach a record level of ticket sales.
It’s also a campaign people really loved to talk about. Imagine, people talking positively about politics! Both Democrats and Republicans. The creative also found its way into the gift shop with top selling items. There are some funny (in hindsight) stories that go along with this campaign. We should really have that drink and share stories.
Designing Jeff Gordon’s paint scheme, which he drove to victory during his final season, and shooting a commercial with him was also a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
What’s on The Creative Cartel playlist?
Easier to say what’s not on the playlist: Country music, mumble-rap and the Russian La La song by Eduard Khil. With Amazon music, Apple music and SiriusXM … it’s really whatever we’re in the mood for? – Rock, Paper, Scissors. What’s The Creative Cartel’s first move?
We’d quickly ask our opponent a question and then start the Rock, Paper Scissors chant. They’ll almost always defensively throw scissors. It’s an old magician’s trick. Enjoy, but don’t try to use it on us.
Is there anything else you would like us to know about you?
We were both cut from the same cloth. We spent the early part of our careers looking for every available opportunity to learn more and take our creativity to the next level. Today, neither of us is willing to just phone it in. I think that’s why we click, why our partnership has lasted so long and why The Creative Cartel is thriving.
We’re armed with ideas and waging war against inertia every day.
Visit Us: https://thecreativecartel.com
Say hello to us: firstname.lastname@example.org