by Thomas Vossler (Ad 2 Colorado)
As a kid and a diehard fan of X-Men, I dreamed about having all sorts of powers from superhuman strength to super speed, the ability to heal people, teleport, and the one I wished for most often: finding my lost G.I Joe’s (RIP Snake Eyes). I think every person on the planet wishes they had superpowers and most people, I hope, would use that power to make the world better or help the people who needed it the most.
When I joined the board of Ad 2 Colorado, I never thought it meant being part of team and community who for all intensive purposes, are superheroes. Putting unexpected other-worldly abilities aside for a moment, I had joined for the normal reasons, meet cool new people, learn new skills, and develop my career. Then as a newer board member, Ad 2 Colorado surprised me by flying me all expenses paid to the American Advertising Federation’s national conference, ADMERICA, in New Orleans. I thought this alone was spectacular, but I had no idea what the experience was going to do to my perspective of the Advertising/Marketing industry.
For context, this conference connects all aspects of the advertising industry which includes all of the Ad 2 clubs from various cities across the US. Industry professionals, organizations, and students descended on New Orleans for 4 days to share ideas, recognize the best work, and discuss how the changing culture of business and consumers is impacting our industry. Clearly, being in New Orleans there was much “networking” done on Bourbon and Frenchman streets.
Going into ADMERICA, my underlying belief that I think many people would agree with me on was this: advertising and marketing is not life and death. This idea also lead me to believe that the amount of time, effort, skill, and talent that is devoted to the industry was less significant or vital than others, like healthcare for instance. “It’s just advertising, people will forget all about it in 2 seconds”. However, during my short time at ADMERICA, with Ad 2 Colorado, and at the agency I work at, Zenman, I’ve learned that this is not true. The truth is that the industry as a whole can make equally amazing things happen as any other.
When you look closer at the work and messages we create, the stories we tell, and the way in which we communicate them, you realize that they have ripple effects. Our work has the ability to resonate and make a difference within the lives of others. At ADMERICA, and specifically with Ad 2’s Public Service Campaigns, I saw work that had tangible, real-world impact. In some cases, the results meant the difference between a person having a safe place to sleep or not. There was work that literally fed homeless children in Florida, work that reduced landfill waste on the small islands of Hawaii, and work that provided education and technology access for underserved youth in Houston; just to name a few.
While watching and learning in awe at ADMERICA, I realized that this industry is truly filled with superheroes using their talents, skills, and teamwork to create and perpetuate positive action. My childhood dreams had been fulfilled because this makes Ad 2 the Justice League of the marketing world. By uniting the best in the business and combining our unique skills, talents, and swag we are able to help create and foster real-world change by supporting causes that are greater than ourselves. Captain Planet would blush and the Legion of Doom would tremble.
As one superhero’s uncle once said “with great power, comes great responsibility”. The individuals, groups, organizations, and agencies that make up this great industry wield a tremendous amount of power in our world. What we choose to do with that power matters more now than ever, and I think every professional has a choice to make every day about what they do with that power. For my Ad 2 family, that choice is to rock-out as agency badasses by day and save the world as Ad 2 superheroes by night. I consider myself lucky to have spent time with and been surrounded by so many superheroes in New Orleans. We are all better for it.