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 of Havit Advertising.  Photography for the series is by Cade Martinwardrobe 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 and Rebecca, please tell us a bit about yourselves.

Scott: I’m Scott Collin and I’m the Executive Creative Director at Havit in Arlington. My career started as a Jr. Copywriter for Wunderman, DC, back when it was known as RTC. I worked at White64 when it was known as E. James White Communications. Had a second tour of duty at Wunderman when it was Wunderman, where I first worked with Rebecca. We then moved together and helped build Influent50, an agency that focuses on people ages 50 and over. Now we lead the creative department together at Havit.

Rebecca: I started my advertising career early, with a small taste of victory in in the second grade water conservation poster contest. My prolific headline, “Don’t be a big drip. Save water.” earned a blue ribbon and I’ve been chasing the big idea ever since. Not surprisingly, I decided to put my copywriting career on hold to focus on art direction. I’m proud to say that I started my career as a Studio Artist and worked my way up. Over the years, I’ve had the unique opportunity to work with so many amazing creatives at Arnold (twice), McCann-Erickson and Porter Novelli. In 2010, I began working with Scott at Wunderman and we’ve worked as a team for the past eight years. For those of you who know Scott personally, you know how long eight years can really be! No joke.

I am currently Group Creative Director at Havit Advertising in Arlington.

Are you involved in any other organizations?

Scott: I stay involved with my Alma Mater, The William Allen White School of Journalism at The University of Kansas. I love speaking to college students. I’m also a Member of the Harley Owner’s Group (Hog).

Rebecca: I’ll be honest that most weeks I’m hanging on for dear life keeping all the family career balls in the air. I have two extremely busy kiddos whose lives are a spider web of sporting events, activities and general chaos. So for now, that is all the (dis)organization I can handle.

What are the things you are most proud of?

Scott: Cliché Alert: My kids. My 10-year-old son is an absolute comedian who has me laughing all the time and reminds me that something fun is always lurking nearby. And my super talented 18-year-old daughter who was just accepted into many elite art schools, and has wisely chosen VCU Arts. Both my kids are creative and I hold out that they will find a way to express it outside of advertising. As far as the Industry goes, I’m most proud of the work Rebecca and I have done for Audi, Land Rover and George Washington’s Mount Vernon.

Rebecca: I’ll jump on the cliché bandwagon and say my kids. It’s so true though. Seeing them accomplish their goals and reach their potential is so much sweeter than anything I could accomplish for myself. As far as advertising goes, I’ll agree with Scott – and he would tell you this is a rare occurrence! Audi, Land Rover and George Washington’s Mount Vernon offered some amazing creative opportunities that delivered amazing results for the client.

Who are your personal role models?

Scott: So many. My Dad who taught me how to be an effective, likeable manager/director. My high school football coach who taught me there’s always a little gas left in the tank. And my first real ECD, Bill Puckett, who hired me despite a flimsy portfolio, threw me into the deep end and let me go for it.

Rebecca: Too many, but here is the short list. My parents who taught me that it doesn’t matter that you fall down – and you will – but only that you get back up stronger. My high school field hockey coach for instilling the value of pure grit. Andy Ellis for teaching me what an advertising creative is and setting me down the right path. Francis Sullivan for nurturing creatives like no other. Ever. Fred Burgos and Greg Johnston for giving me opportunities. And then teaching me how to successfully navigate them. Mike Gallagher for showing me that it’s not just about good work, it’s about good relationships. Woody Kay for teaching me the art in art direction. The Arnold Creative Team for being the most talented group of creative minds I’ve ever had the opportunity to learn from. And last but never least, Brett Marden for embodying all that is good in advertising and humans.

Scott: I’m adding Brett Marden to my list, too.

Did these role models offer professional advice that helped you in your career?

Scott: Yes. My Dad: Treat every single person you meet with the same level of respect. My coach: Quitting is not an option. Bill: Don’t fuck up.

Rebecca: Absolutely. So many. A few stand out:

– If you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.
– Under-promise and over-deliver.
– Read the room.
– Embrace your faults. Accept them. Then do the work to improve yourself. Repeat.

What professional advice do you have for others?

Scott: We try and offer as much support to our teams as we do feedback and comments. Too often people are so afraid of failure that they don’t try anything new or ambitious. It’s why we tend to see a sea of sameness out there. Our advice is that you will fail, and that it’s okay so long as you fail ‘up.’ You have to accept it and learn from it. And then have confidence that you won’t make the same mistake twice. Just don’t fuck up.

Rebecca: A couple of things I’ve learned…some the hard way:

– Work hard – really hard – and it eventually will pay off.
– Pay attention to the details. All of them. All of the time.
– Recognize opportunities. Take ownership and run with them.
– Expect nothing. Earn everything.
– Finally, and most important…never, EVER leave your phone unlocked with Scott Collin in the vicinity.

What’s on your Spotify and Pandora playlists?

Scott: If I’m editing or writing, usually down-temp or chill. Ideally no lyrics. If I’m working out (like … once or twice a year), driving or just on the go … Classic Rock, Grunge, a bit of rap and metal. My guilty pleasure is 80’s music. So bad it’s good. I bless the rains down in Africa, There is water at the bottom of the ocean … everybody wants to rule the world.

Rebecca: I never seem to be in control of my own music. Scott is the DJ of the office we share. But I do maintain veto power. In the car, my 10-year old daughter controls the playlist. And her playlist is exactly what one would imagine it to be. Shake it off…shake it off.

What’s your favorite restaurant?

Scott: We have a long-standing tradition of having lunch at the Fish Market in Old Town. It started one year after we dropped off our ADDY submissions. Their spiced shrimp and mussels are killer.

Rebecca: Get the white wine broth on the mussels. That and a piece of bread will solve all the world’s problems for the 10.7 seconds it takes you to eat it.

Is there anything else you would like us to know about you?

Scott: I cannot stand being near tomatoes or fingernail files. As for advertising … working with Rebecca has made me a better creative. We work and lead together very well as a team. Working together over the past eight years has also changed my philosophy on how Creative Departments should run. I think co-creative directing helps us push the work further and helps our teams advance faster. I have a lot of opinions and input on projects: Are they on strategy?  Will they meet or exceed the objective? Is the concept ownable? Will it break through … can it be better? But I know my limitations when it comes to art direction. Working together allows each of us to really focus on our discipline – whether we’re creating or critiquing work. I caution you, however … she’ll have you believing the copy is too long every time when, in fact, it is exactly the length it needs to be. And I remind her every project. But she’ll still edit occasionally when I’m not looking.

Rebecca: I have learned the art of using tomatoes and fingernail files to my advantage. Seriously though, in the past eight years, I’ve learned just how necessary a good creative partnership is. In a time when budgets are shrinking and demands placed on creative can border on ridiculous, the creative process…the partnership…the collaboration between and AD and CW can get lost in the shuffle. It IS worth the time. It IS worth the money. The creative product is so much better this way. And then everyone wins.




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