A Conversation with MCCI Creative Director Will Perry

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MCCI’s Creative Director Will Perry works to find the extraordinary in the ordinary and helps the agency with a wide range of B2B and B2C client strategies and creative ideation. Any given day may bring team brainstorms, a big client pitch, plotting out the design direction of a big client deliverable or working with the agency's team of specialists to amplify a visibility idea.

How does a creative director stay, well, creative? For Will, the rigor of the agency environment fills his cup: his constant need to research, create and think big. And a bit of routine helps too. Take an average Tuesday in October.

I caught up with Will on a rather typical recent day to see how things have been going since joining our team earlier this year. First, he told me about his morning. He started his morning as he would any other... a cup of coffee, a quick bite to eat and a pat on the belly of his beloved dog. His drive into the office was uneventful as he caught up on the happenings of the world and national news. His brief walk to the office was entertained with casual nods and “good mornings” as he took in the early morning sights of downtown Detroit.

Diving into client projects, planning meetings, brainstorms and new business discussions to round out the work day, Will brings a breath of global experiences. He has had a long and distinguished career working on projects for some of the world’s biggest brand names; Coca Cola, Chevrolet, Samsung, Cadillac USA and Europe. He has an impressive resume as a director, creating films for companies like Nissan, Kia and Hyundai as well as playing a pivotal role in experiential launch and ad campaigns. Not to mention his work in Russia servicing General Motors, L’Oreal and the region’s largest local bank, Sberbank. Will joined the MCCI family in March and has been an integral member on numerous accounts providing creative counsel and expertise, from web site visioning to campaign ideation to experiential ideas. Below are some of the highlights from my conversation with Will:

You’ve been with MCCI for about 7 months now. What has been your favorite part about working here?

I really enjoy coming into the office. It’s just a really cool place and has a nice sense of design and light. Not to mention, the people create an environment that fosters collaboration and creativity. They truly are the soul to the place.

Can you explain what your role as Creative Director entails?

As Creative Director, I am head of the creative process and chief coffee cup washer. I start with an idea and watch it grow and get legs, truly no other job that can let you do that.

What would you say to a young professional looking to get into the creative / advertising industry?

Live with imagination. Stay creative. Enjoy it, stay passionate. Try and be the very best you can at what you do. If you don’t want to do something with sincerity and passion, don’t do it.

How would you describe your creative philosophy or how you approach a new project?

I first begin at the most creative origin of the “ask,” developing the ideas. This part is such a thrill and challenge because you always want to do the best job you can and do it better and more creatively than you did before. I love the challenge, the opportunity. It’s an adventure; it’s a journey that you have to do, needs to be done thoroughly and is really fun because we learn something from it.

As for my process, I start with research and knowing what the task is. I allow myself time in the discovery because it’s here where I start to see these areas and pathways that are parts of the journey and then pick the pieces to execute. Simply stated, the whole discovery, the research, and understanding “the why” develops better work.

What are your observations on how social and digital mediums have changed the game on how we reach audiences?

That has multiple layers: Covid-19 has absolutely taken away the curtain from Oz and walked all over it. The way people digest things is so different. We used to think that if you yell out the brand’s benefits and keep repeating it, people will remember. The consumption of content now is very different and very personal. There is very little opportunity or time to establish a connection we have to make between a brand and the audience. There is very little opportunity to get away from all the friction and distractions the audience faces. We are being generous, thinking we have three seconds to grab someone's attention. We have to be up front, to the point and be a part of what that viewer’s life is all about. Their interests. It has to be very specific and targeted or else that audience is not going to listen or be engaged.

No one is going to click on content, if it's not something that interests them. There needs to be something that resonates with them to have a connection with the brand in the digital world. It’s a different animal compared with the old-world tools we used in advertising and communications.

The messaging is different, we can’t have a brand conversation as much as we used to. We can’t do generic messaging, we have to be very meaningful to that specific target audience. Websites have become the advertising message for the brand. Before, advertisers spent lots of money on TV and print. Now, clients use their website as a sales, digital and brand tool.

When you’re not coming up with innovative concepts and ideas, what do you like to do in your spare time?

I love spending time with my family and my dog, Maya.

Is there a show you are currently watching or a book you are enjoying?

Westworld, I am a little into the game.

If you had to choose a theme song for your life, what song would it be and why?

Wonderwall by Oasis.

As a new resident of Detroit, what has been your favorite restaurant or attraction?

I’ve really enjoyed exploring Campus Martius and dining at Lumen (Beacon Park.)

Can you share one of your favorite experiential campaigns/creative projects you’ve been involved in?

Nick Cave, he’s an installation artist and he needed some films done for a museum in Germany. It was a very creative and artistic experience. It was a great pleasure to collaborate with him.