Protected: The Art of Prioritizing Creativity: Insights from Diego Sarmiento of The Many

The Many | Nov. 15 2023

Understanding how to channel creative energy effectively is crucial. Diego Sarmiento, one of our Associate Creative Directors at The Many, shares his journey and insights in a recent profile on Little Black Book Online’s latest article. From his early days at Mullen, immersed in an intense work culture, to strategic creativity at Ogilvy, Diego’s narrative is relatable and inspiring.
Diego shares his ’20-80, 80-20′ formula, a different approach to creativity, which emphasizes focusing 80% of your energy on the 20% of tasks that truly matter. This perspective not only streamlines his creative process but also ensures that energy is invested in making a significant impact.
Whether simplifying ideas or prioritizing feedback, Diego’s insights are valuable for anyone in the creative field. Read more about how Diego transformed from being the ‘Labrador On The Court’ to an ace server in the advertising game. 
Head over to LBBOnline for more!

A Deep Dive with Andy Craig: The Intersection of Strategy and Planning in Modern Advertising

The Many | Sep. 19 2023


rom shaping iconic music campaigns to leading the eBay portfolio at The Many, Andy Craig has consistently pushed the envelope when it comes to strategic thinking. But it’s not just about creating advertising campaigns; it’s about building participatory brands. We sat down with him to explore the differences between strategists and planners, the value of ‘Shot on iPhone’ campaigns, and much more.
Don’t miss the full interview where he discusses how strategy serves as the blueprint that can distill the vast complexities of a client’s needs into clear and inspiring directives.

Ayanna Hart: A Creative Force Behind The Many Studios

The Many | Aug. 11 2023

Immerse yourself in the captivating journey of Ayanna Hart, the formidable director of production operations at The Many Studios. With close to three decades under her belt, Ayanna’s vast experience has seen her collaborate with industry titans like HBO, Netflix, and NBC.
Her deep-rooted passion for the art traces back to the golden era of MTV, with Hype Williams’ distinctive music videos leaving an indelible mark on her. From drawing inspiration from ads that celebrated pop culture to kickstarting her professional journey with the New Kids on the Block EPK, Ayanna’s trajectory is a testament to her unparalleled drive and passion.
Yet, it’s not just about the projects she’s worked on; it’s about the ones she wished she had been a part of, like the riveting Netflix series ‘The Bastard Son and The Devil Himself’. And of course, who can forget her monumental experience producing with the ever-glamorous Miss Piggy!
Discover Ayanna Hart’s world, where nostalgia, creativity, and impactful storytelling converge, right here on our news page. Dive in and be inspired.

Scott Bradfield Sheds Light on the Evolution of Ad Agencies into Entertainment Units in AdAge

The Many | Jul. 7 2023

In the ever-evolving advertising world, agencies are starting to look a lot like entertainment units, diversifying their revenue streams and staking their claim in content creation. This trend signifies a notable shift in our industry, and Scott Bradfield, Managing Director of The Many Studios, recently shared his insightful perspective on this topic with AdAge.
In the article, Scott underscores how agencies like The Many are taking on the mindset of content creators and storytellers. We’re moving beyond traditional marketing and advertising and harnessing our creative skills to produce narratives that truly resonate with audiences.
But this transformation isn’t in isolation—it’s an organic integration of our agency’s creative capabilities with content creation. At The Many, content creation isn’t seen as a separate function but a holistic, integrative approach, weaving together our inherent creativity and storytelling expertise to craft engaging relatable content.
Scott’s conversation with AdAge provides a fascinating look at this trend and how The Many is leading the way in this evolution. We encourage you to delve deeper into this exciting shift by reading the full article here for a comprehensive understanding of Scott’s insights and a wider perspective on the dynamic changes in the advertising industry.

Davis Jones, Our Connections Chief, Talks Leadership in Little Black Book Online

The Many | Jun. 28 2023

Our very own Davis Jones, Managing Director of Connections, was recently spotlighted in LBBOnline’s ‘Bossing It’ series. Davis openly discusses his leadership approach and the importance of creating authentic relationships within the advertising realm.
For Davis, leadership is not about fancy titles or office spaces. It’s about people. Guided by The Many’s ‘Connections’ approach, he emphasizes a people-centric culture where every idea is acknowledged and valued, fueling a vibrant, creative workspace.
Intrigued to learn more about Davis’s perspective and our unique Connections approach? You can delve into the full article here. It’s a captivating read!

Jens Stoelken Chosen as Rebel Jury Judge at Creativepool's Annual 2023 Awards

The Many | May. 31 2023

Exciting news from The Many! Our founding partner, Jens Stoelken, has been honored with a selection as a judge for the prestigious Rebel Jury at Creativepool’s Annual 2023 awards. This notable appointment acknowledges Jens’ exceptional talent and expertise in the advertising industry and the consistent creative excellence he brings to The Many.
Launched in 2019, Creativepool’s Rebel Jury has carved a unique niche in recognizing inventive and courageous work that sometimes slips under the radar in more conventional award programs. The panel represents a wide range of backgrounds and expertise, from advertising and design to technology, and Jens’ addition only enriches this diversity.
At The Many, we wholeheartedly embrace a culture that values innovation, disruption, and creativity. We believe in challenging norms and never settling for ‘comfortable.’ Jens’ appointment to the Rebel Jury reflects this commitment, showcasing our agency’s dedication to pioneering ideas and the power of bold thinking.
As Jens lends his unique perspective to celebrate outstanding creativity and innovation in the industry, we look forward to the insights and experiences he’ll bring back to The Many. Once again, our collective spirit of challenging the status quo is being recognized and celebrated. Stay tuned for more as we continue to make waves in the advertising world!

In Adweek’s AAPI Creative Spotlight, Josh Paialii Inspires Future Storytellers

Blake Marquis | May. 26 2022

We can’t say it much better than Adweek, The Many’s Group Creative Director, Josh Paialii, “intimately understands the power of culture nuance.”
Perhaps that stems from his background as a professional Polynesian dancer — he often says, there are few experiences more vulnerable than performing wearing a lavalava, dancing nearly naked on stage, an act that translates effortlessly to the art of the pitch. Josh not only leads creatively for clients like Panda Express and Chameleon Coffee, but he is also often at the creative helm for new business opportunities, performing and winning.

“I always had a passion for creative storytelling, the sharing of cultures and inviting people to watch and experience something entirely new to them,” Paialii told Adweek.

His work on Panda’s two Lunar New Year campaigns, “Traditions Shared” and “The Good Fortune Arcade” are only one piece of Josh’s forward-thinking approach — he leads teams with compassion and passion for the creative pursuit of solving business problems in innovative ways, and he brings important conversation forward to the industry, like his recent leadership in a panel discussion for Creative Week on the topic of diversity in casting.
In Adweek’s AAPI Creative Spotlight, learn more about Josh and his perspective on representation and inclusion, what he’d like to accomplish this year, and who exactly is his ideal client.

Kristin Grant on how Championing Accessibility can Drive Business Success

Blake Marquis | Mar. 31 2022

In the words of Kristin Grant, “Accessibility isn’t just another buzzword. It’s a societal shift toward creating tangible access for all to the things that have been kept behind lock and key. Each push toward more accessibility challenges the status quo.”
For her first-ever Voices of The Many piece published on Ad Age, Kristin explores how as we enter our new normal, one of the major societal shifts we’re seeing is that people are pushing for accessibility to be the norm across all categories and ways of life. Moving us from a culture of exclusivity to inclusivity. The desire for accessibility has found its home in pop culture, fashion, tv, and even tech. It’s clear that the next frontier for accessibility will be one that directly impacts brands and businesses, both internally and externally, as we as a society move through the great resignation and into a more accessible world.
Head on over to Ad Age to check it out!

Kristin Grant is a Brand Strategist at The Many

How We Think About Hybrid Culture

Johanna Penry | Mar. 24 2022

As the People Experience Manager, I find myself thinking about culture quite a bit. In the past year alone, The Many has almost doubled in size. With each new hire that comes through our virtual doors, it’s a combination of the work and our culture that will help our people thrive. This begs the question: what does it mean to build a successful hybrid culture, and how can it evolve as we do?
Buckle up – this is the part where we take the main topic, and add in the Merriam-Webster definition for context:
cul·​ture | \ ˈkəl-chər  \: (noun)

So how do we, The Many, think, behave, and work? For that nuanced (and potentially loaded) question, I enlisted the help of a few friends.
How we think
Let’s start with our mission, because it frames how we think and shapes everything we do. “We have a culture that at its core is about challenging comfortable,” says Davis Jones, Managing Director, People. “This means that if we set the right context for people to explore their interests, curiosities and perceived limitations in a safe way and empower them to stretch into those places, make mistakes and learn, we unlock a whole other level of growth potential. This is deep work, grounded in authenticity with each other and ourselves. It’s simple, not easy.”  
As this concept relates to our culture, it means looking at everything with fresh eyes. Every meeting, every presentation, every chance we have to gather or bond as a team is a chance to “challenge comfortable” and do things in an intentional way that is unique to The Many. 
When we think about doing things differently, and intentionally, our approach to diversity and inclusion immediately comes to mind. From launching employee resource groups that provide support and community, to celebrating and learning about each other’s cultures, to hiring diverse talent, we believe diversity is what makes us better. 
“Diversity, equity, and inclusion is at the heart of our culture and it’s not fostered by just one person or team, it’s up to each individual at The Many to consciously opt in,”voices Ash Ramirez, DEI Lead. “The work isn’t easy and it doesn’t happen overnight, but as long as we strive for progress over perfection we’ll get to where we want to be.”  
You know what else we think? We think our employees should have incredible benefits that are functional and easy to use. We know that there isn’t a one-size-fits all approach to wellness, so we offer a monthly mental & physical wellness stipend designed to be both flexible and inclusive of all options to prioritize your wellbeing. Meditation, therapy, in-person and virtual fitness, massages, PT, home gym equipment and more are all part of our benefit offering.
Sometimes, recharging takes more than a yoga class or massage. “Our PTO policy is unlimited because we recognize that everyone needs time away in order to fully recharge and that not everyone’s work is done and over in the traditional 9 to 5 world,” remarks Tim Cyrol, Director of Human Resources. “We also believe in taking personal responsibility for managing our own time and workloads, so we let our employees have a say in how much time they need away from work. Whether it’s a couple days tacked on to a weekend or a couple weeks to go explore the world, it’s completely up to them to decide how they’d like to use their unlimited PTO.” . 
We also think you deserve Labor Week instead of Labor Day, and while we’re at it, you also deserve additional time off between 12/24 and 1/1. We believe that when you have the time to live your best life or need support to deal with life, you can show up as your best self and create inspired work.
How we behave
How we interact with one another is arguably the most important part of who we are as a company. On a daily basis, the best way to describe our vibe is that we stay close and have a ridiculous amount of fun. Some of these moments are structured, while some are more ad hoc. 
One of those pieces of structure is what we call The Gathering. “To kickoff and close the week, we pause all that needs to get done on our to-do lists, take the pressure off and come together to connect in a way only The Many can!” says Maggie Cadigan, Managing Director, Growth. “We celebrate all that each team has recently accomplished or aims to achieve, get open and curious about new innovations or work in the world, and challenge our comfort through DE&I and personal growth trainings to advance, strengthen and build a stronger community’” . The Gathering is like family dinner, except it’s every Monday and Friday at 9am PST/12pm EST– it’s blocked off, squad only.

The ad hoc moments in our culture are like finding little nuggets of buried treasure, except you're finding them often and on Slack. Take the channel #photoshopbattle, for example: "Many would look at the name and think that it's a challenge to show off Photoshop chops (there is that element) but mostly it's a place where people can make jokes and commentary about our workplace and the world regardless of skills. It is a cultivating ground of culture in this weird from home era we are in," John Paul Brantly, Senior Designer.

Step 1. post a pic 
Step 2. everyone photoshops the pic 
Step 3. whatever photoshop gets the most trophy emojis basks in divine and eternal glory
You never know when the bell will ding, or what the png image will be, but you’re guaranteed to chuckle. And yes, even John Paul Brantly himself has been lovingly trolled– no one is safe.
We also have a ghost. Stay with us now. Thelma Todd was a famous actress in the 1930’s, who also happened to run a restaurant in what is now our Los Angeles office hub on the Pacific Coast Highway. Thelma was unfortunately and mysteriously murdered in a garage just above the office, and now we fondly refer to her as the office ghost. So there’s that. 
We consistently find ways to integrate and pay tribute to Thelma, as a thank you for letting us use her old stomping grounds without haunting us in a way that would actually scare people off. “I started making custom slack Thelmojis™ to help us all precisely communicate what we mean in full 1930’s attitude on the daily. Recently, she’s actually popped up on slack with an account all her own, delivering good news, troubleshooting, and even advice here and there. I don’t believe in ghosts though, so somebody has to be running her account….. right??” remarks Frank Garguilo, Associate Creative Director. Here’s a sample of Frank’s most recent Themoji pack: 

How we work
One of the first things you’ll notice about how we work together is that no one is too far out of reach. “Everyone at The Many has a seat at the table. Our culture is a direct nod to our name, The Many; we welcome everyone’s diverse perspectives because fresh ideas are what make us better and listening to the talented people we’ve hired remains key to our growth and success,” Courtney Burns, Director of Talent + Culture. Our organization is intentionally flat, emphasizing organizational structure over power. In fact, one of our core values is Passion Without Ego. 
In terms of our daily operations, we won’t tell you where you have to dial in from, or when to start or stop working. “Everybody has different needs, different rhythms. We have an opportunity to embrace this. We are aiming to empower our teams to decide the exact hours they work best, and how they can best use office space as a place of intentional connection and collaboration. We continue to push on this, and to question conventional wisdom. Everything we are trying is learning and progress,” Todd Lombardo, Managing Director, Excellence. Read: no micromanaging. We trust our employees.
Transparency is also central to how we roll. “Every other Tuesday is Big Tuesday, agency leadership spends the day assessing the business and formulating plans for continued improvement. Each member of the leadership team will then send a recap of the discussion to the entire agency. There is a standing invitation to the entire agency to present any ideas to the leadership team. Twice a year we hold a special event called State of the Many. This is a deep dive into all goings-on in the agency. We’ll look back on where we’ve been and provide a roadmap for where we’re headed. We celebrate our people, our progress, and our work. Most importantly, we take time to kick it as a collective and reflect on where we are and where we’re going. Perhaps most important of all, we encourage people to just reach out if they have a question or something on their mind. Everyone has something to teach and everyone has something to learn,” Melissa Cabral, Head of Strategy. 
This is just the highlight reel of our culture. It’s not often you work at a place that employees frequently describe as “special.” At The Many, we let our values and creativity pour into everything we do – and that makes magic.

Q&A with Ash Ramirez About SXSW “The Next Generation of DEI Culture” Panel

Blake Marquis | Mar. 14 2022

The recent news coming out of Texas and Florida puts this year’s SXSW in Austin, TX, occurring at an interesting, hard-to-understand, cultural moment.
Diversity, equality and inclusion (DEI). An ongoing important topic in our industry that has shed a light on how some truly feel and also spotlighted how much work lies ahead for our industry.
Ash Ramirez, DEI Lead, spoke on “The Next Generation of DEI Culture” panel at SXSW on Saturday, March 12 alongside Bennett Bennett, co-founder of 600&Rising; Nate Nichols, founder of Palette Group and co-founder of Allyship & Action; and moderator Jazmine Brown, Ad Council director of DEI.
We connected with Ash before and after the panel to get their thoughts on how they anticipate the panel will go, the general vibe at SXSW given what’s happening in the world and in America, and any key takeaways from the panel that resonated with them.

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Q: How did you end up on this panel, Ash? Also, why is this conversation important to you and important for the industry?
I’ve had a long-standing relationship with the Ad Council since I started working in DEI. First, it was attending their events as a MAIPer then it turned into contributing content to their diversity efforts. And before I knew it they kept tapping me for speaking engagements, the latest being this panel.
This conversation is important to me for a multitude of reasons, but I think where this is taking place has an added layer of complexity. The panel is intended to have a conversation as it pertains to the future of diversity practices and the effects the work has on our industry. Aside from creating inclusive cultures many of the initiatives DEI leaders are creating are based around social justice efforts. When you add in the fact that Texas is a very conservative state (and in fact has been 1 of 3 states to pass anti-lgbtq bills in the last two weeks), you can’t help but wonder, “why have this type of convo in a place like that”. Ultimately change will not happen if we keep talking to all the people that agree with our efforts. It’s the ones that either don’t have any resources or information to learn more about the subject and why it’s important and the folks that are against topics like teaching LGBTQ+ history or critical race theory in schools that we need to talk to. And I do want to note, these folks don’t just live in the South, they are everywhere including in our industry.
Now, these are extremely tough conversations to be had, but if we can get even one person to understand the importance of this work and get them to activate, then the panel will have succeeded.
Q: Do you have any outcome hopes for this panel? I.e., what do you hope the industry gains from attending this panel? 
Expanding someone’s perspective will be the biggest win. And personally, I intend to say my peace as it relates to the Anti LGBTQ+ bill in Texas (I am a native Texan and Trans Non-Binary Latine), my hope with that is that it leads to more support for trans orgs and hopefully legislative changes. But for the industry specifically, I hope people understand that everyone has a role to play when it comes to diversity work. It doesn’t just fall on your DEI leads, leadership, or employee resource groups, or BIPOC employees. And I hope leaders get serious (and I mean really serious) about this work. They have to be willing to deal with their white fragility and be open to the folks leading the DE&I efforts – our intention is not to call you out, in fact, we’re calling you in. As a collaborator, as an ally, as a partner.
Q: DEI is a topic that, as others and the media have said, sometimes feels like a lot of talk but little action. What actions can the industry take to become more inclusive?
1. Get creative with your talent pipelines. We often hear there’s not enough talent, but I think we haven’t given enough consideration to looking at folks from non-traditional backgrounds/experiences, who have transferrable skills, who have potential and can be taught. I’m also one for creating your own pipeline or partnering with an organization that is starting to tap into one. 
2. Invest in your diversity departments. Give your leads what they need – a considerable budget they can work with, folks to help them plan and execute who aren’t just doing it as an “extracurricular”, learning and development, leadership backing, etc. We can’t assume the work can be done without these things, and in fact, you’re actually setting your lead up for failure.
3. Consider other facets of diversity as well as intersectionality. We still have plenty of work to do in regards to race/ethnicity, gender/gender identity, LGBTQIA+, etc. but there are areas where we have barely scratched the surface – religion, disability (both visible and non-visible), socioeconomic status, parental/caretaker status. We should start to bring awareness and include folks from these areas in the conversation when it comes to inclusion. Intersectionality needs to also be considered as many people don’t just hold one identity, in fact holding more spaces where there’s cross-collaboration between groups can foster inclusivity and unity. 
Q: Honestly, what was the vibe like at SXSW? Did you check out any other talks or activations after your panel?
It was a bit surreal to be in a space where there’s a ton of people but also I think there was a sense of appreciation to be back and conversing with people. There weren’t as many folks as I was expecting but the intimacy I think made it all the better experience. I  met Roy Wood Jr and said hi to Alok Vaid-Menon (a trans ICON). I wasn’t there for a long time but I did get to check out a talk on breaking stereotypes on Black fatherhood, Keni Thacker from 100 Roses was there, and it was amazing hearing their experiences.
Q: Any takeaways from the panel that resonated with you, Ash?
I think the first is don’t take yourself too seriously. I had a lot of anxiety leading up to us walking on that stage, and I had to remind myself that I’m the subject matter expert and my thoughts are valued. I absolutely loved working with my fellow panelists and moderator. Before this panel, I had worked with these folks from like three degrees of separation, now we’ve gotten close, and I feel like we’ll probably be working together very soon.
On a personal note, I almost didn’t come to SXSW because of the anti-trans bill that was passed a few weeks ago and because, as a trans person myself, I didn’t feel 100% safe. But I’m glad I went because I recognized that I had a platform to share my truth and create empathy. After the panel, I got a lot of thank-yous for my vulnerability, and it left me thinking about my next move in this space related to thought leadership. Stay tuned!