Turn your work into a question mark - #MemberSpotlight

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Your work has to be like a question mark. If there is one piece of insight you can gain from McCann Paris Associate Creative Director Joseph Dubruque, it is this one for sure.

Joseph, who was chosen to judge the Covid-19 category for Annual 2021 this year, has many tricks up his sleeve and a lovely career made of love for the industry. He works to create projects that inspire, stimulate curiosity and leave an everlasting mark in the industry – something that shines through the few frames you can see scattered around this piece.

Joseph is an incredibly inspiring creative and for this Member Spotlight, we are learning more about what makes him so special and such a valuable member of the Creativepool community.


How did you get into the industry?

When I was 15, I discovered an article in a magazine called "Phosphore", which described the day of a copywriter in an agency. It was so appealing: creative time, producing time, relaxing time, inspiration time, all in one day... If I remember correctly, it was about a creative from the Louis XIV DDB agency, a copywriter named Pierre-Marie Faussurier. Since that day, I have never stopped wanting to do this job. I took a scientific course to reassure my parents, then, at the first opportunity, I took the plunge and joined a school of communication to do some internships in agencies. The first significant experience that led me to what I am now, I owe it to Fred & Farid and their agency Marcel in 2005.

Where are you based now and who do you work for?

Sixteen years and five agencies later, I work as an Associate Creative Director at McCann Paris, partnering with my fellowes Axel Didon & Raphael Stein. Today I feel enriched by a journey that has not necessarily always been smooth, but filled with exceptional and emotional memories. 

If you weren’t in your current industry, what would you be doing?

It's funny, I often like to ask the question: "What do you not do in life?" It's the exact opposite of the usual question. But it leads to a deeper answer that is divided between: what you’ll never want to do in life, and what you would like to,  but not doing yet. To answer you, I think right now I would be an innovation engineer. I would have, I think, put my imagination to work in engineering, to answer people's needs or aspirations.. Fortunately after my scientific studies, I changed direction and went back to my first love, advertising. Looking back 15 years later, I have no regrets.


Can you explain your creative process?

True to my own background, I have a method halfway between the logical approach (my scientific side) and the irrational approach (my imaginary side). For each idea, I try to create bridges between these two approaches. To this, I add the cultural context. By practicing this way for all these years, I have been able to go faster and faster to find the first ideas. But when it comes to going deeper and finding not the first, but the best possible ideas, then other parameters come into play: the advertising culture, the one that allows you to know what has already been done, what is being done, what needs to be done. The one that allows us to differentiate, and not to repeat. 
For an idea that must cross the world and meet, beyond the client, the support of the PR, the public, and the juries, I have always asked myself if it is
- simple (universally understandable), 
- iconic (if it refers to a sufficiently popular element, story, feeling or imagination), 
- scalable (if it is possible to amplify the idea to its largest possible scale).

How would you describe your style?

My style is like a mother tongue. I play French and whenever I practice other foreign styles, I always keep my little French accent. 

Which individuals do you gain inspiration from? Do you have any heroes in the industry?

To tell you the truth, I prefer to admire a work, a thought or a piece of art rather than the individual behind. It is always difficult for me to succeed in apprehending a person that I have never met in my life. Even though the person may seem brilliant because of the magnitude of her or his talent, it will be impossible for me to know if I admire her or him, until I have interacted with that person. This prevents me from being carried away by a blinding fascination. When a light appears in the darkness, it is inspiring and reassuring to look at it, but it is often more useful to look at what it illuminates. 

So I can tell you that many, many works have enlightened my path since I was 15 years old. They evolve every year, sometimes even every day. And the people I admire are necessarily in my close circle, they know it, and they don't even need to be mentioned. (Isn't it Sam? Isn't it mom and dad?).


If you had to pick one ideal client/employer, who would that be and why?

I find that today I am in the right place, working for the right people, with the right people, for a very good client. It's not each of these elements separately, but the combination of the whole that is ideal. I wish everyone this combination. 

How has technology affected the way you work?

Technology is exciting. It is a unique bridge that connects scientists and creatives. A nerve that connects the left and right brain. It's no coincidence that since the dawn of time, creative people have always been attracted to technology, and scientists have always been creative in their research. When the two work together it's explosive: GAFAs, Boston Dynamics, Tesla are only 3 current examples, but if we go back a bit, Kodak, Technicolor, Olivetti (Typewriters) have also played their part in the last centuries. 
But by far, the biggest unimaginable revolution that advertising has ever known is the shared docs haha. 

What’s your secret to staying inspired and motivated?

Being judged only on your latest achievement. It's impossible to fall asleep like that.

How do you recharge away from the office?

Playing music, spending time with my loved ones. Creating projects that gathers both like this one.

By the way, If you wanted to participate in my last one, I would be so pleased.


What is one tip for other aspiring creatives looking for work?

Put a question mark in your message. Putting a question mark increases by far the probability of an answer. On a deeper level, putting a question mark is a way to show your curiosity. Putting a question mark is also triggering interest. Your work has to be a question mark, your personality too. You’ll see, There might not be good answers, but there will be perfect answerer. 

What is the one thing that you would change about the industry?

I won’t change anything as long as the industry keeps changing us all. It's cool to be part of one of the last generations to start in advertising when Facebook and iPhone didn't exist (for some, it's like saying "I knew a time when Snapchat, TikTok and Bumble didn't exist"). It shows how much everything can change in a decade. We're all someone's prehistoric. So it's exciting to try to guess what businesses will be up to in 10 years. 

Any websites, books or resources you would recommend?

Creativepool... what else? hahah


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