Robyn Stern — Associate Creative Director, Saatchi & Saatchi LA

Robyn talks to TheNextGag about what excites her about working on a car account, being a New Yorker living in California and embracing meditation.

Robyn Stern is Associate Creative Director at Saatchi & Saatchi LA in the USA.

Robyn started her career in NYC as an Art Director and has worked with some of the brightest minds in advertising. She is what many consider a Hybrid Creative. She has been an Art Director, a Copywriter and a Content Strategist. Robyn has worked in Print, TV, Digital, Social and Experiential for a variety of clients.

Her client portfolio includes IBM, Coors Brewing Company, AmEx, Cisco Systems, Toyota, AT&T, Sprint, Kraft Food & Beverages, Purina and more.

Outside of work, Robyn is an active mountain climber and snowboarder. When she is not on a mountain, you can find her playing with her dog or at her desk writing her first TV pilot.

THENEXTGAG: DON’T WE ALL HATE ADVERTISING ?

ROBYN STERN: Well, I think we should. Once we’re content with something, we stop trying. I was told once, “good is the enemy of great” and I don’t disagree.

TNG: WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO A YOUNG CREATIVE STARTING IN THE INDUSTRY AND LOOKING UP TO YOU AS A MENTOR ?

RS: Be yourself and put that into your work! We are all our own stories, and our unique points of view should be shared and celebrated. That, and get outside more; interior lighting is not good for the soul.

TNG: HOW DOES MEDITATION BLEND INTO YOUR LIFE ? DO YOU FIND IT IMPORTANT ?

RS: I’m from New York. I live and die by the multi-tasking, fast-paced New York Minute. Then I moved to California and a friend turned me on to meditating. I laughed thinking what people back home would think. How ‘foofy’ I sounded. I kept at it anyway. And then I started to see and feel the differences. My mind became clearer; I was able to get a deeper, more relaxed sleep; I was also able to control that radio station inside my head that always seemed to be “on,” which made it easier for me to focus, listen and be more present. It’s also helped me to understand that responding is way more beneficial than reacting.

So yes, I do find it important and try to meditate at least 3x a week. RPM is my new mantra. Rise, pee, meditate. My dog enjoys the quality time together as well.

TNG: DID YOU WATCH MAD MEN AS PURE ENTERTAINMENT OR DID YOU SEE A REFLECTION OF THE JOB YOU ARE DOING ?

RS: I was a late comer to the series. People I knew were SHOCKED I didn’t watch it. Then I was handed the first two seasons on DVD which happened right before a long flight, so I watched. And then I was hooked. Not so much because I saw myself in some of the characters (Peggy for example) but because no matter how much has changed, so much has stayed the same. (That, and the writing was amazing!)

TNG: DO YOU BELIEVE THAT A GOOD IDEA CAN LIVE WITHOUT A GOOD STRATEGY ?

RS: NO.

TNG: IS THERE A PIECE OF WORK THAT YOU SAW LAST YEAR THAT YOU FOUND PARTICULARLY BRILLIANT ?

RS: Highlights that stand out include the Lockheed Martin Mars “Virtual Reality School Bus” idea and REI’s “Opt Outside.” I love experiences that leave you feeling hopeful.

TNG: HOW DID YOUR SPIRITUAL JOURNEY DOWN THE ALPHABET START ? CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT IT ?

RS: I went through a rough time three years ago and an EP I knew introduced me on to a Life Coach. (I let the foofy-ness of it all slide) A lot of what I got out of those meetings felt like useful information, or rather, “tools,” that I wanted to share with everyone.

I still see my Life Coach monthly and I highly recommend it. It’s not therapy. We don’t explore my past. Instead we deal with real-time situations and how to handle them better. My favorite lesson has been WAIT: Why Am I Talking?

If a brand can make you feel connected to their purpose, then the ad agency is doing their job right.

TNG: REGARDING YOUR WORK ON TOYOTA, HOW DO YOU MAKE SURE TO DISTINGUISH THE CAR BRAND FROM ITS COMPETITORS ?

RS: I really believe in Toyota’s brand philosophy of Let’s Go Places. And if a brand can make you feel connected to their purpose, then the ad agency is doing their job right.

TNG: IS IT CHALLENGING TO WORK ON A CAR ACCOUNT WITH ALL THE EXCITEMENT GOING FOR INNOVATIVE WAYS OF TRANSPORTATION RIGHT NOW ?

RS: Nope. Toyota is much more than a “car” company. They’re a mobility company.

TNG: WHAT’S UP WITH THE DINNERWARE ? WHERE DID THAT COME FROM ?

RS: That’s me taking my conceptual thinking and applying it to one of my passions — food. As a creative I feel it is very important to explore other ways to express yourself. It keeps the mind fresh and the burn-out in the distance.

TNG: HOW DO YOU COMPARE WORKING IN AN AD AGENCY IN NEW YORK VERSUS LOS ANGELES ?

RS: New York will always be home, and I think I bring a little of New York to the table, but my personal experiences have taught me that NY life is very much like the landscape — vertical, while LA is very much like its landscape, open.

Robyn Stern

Associate Creative Director

Saatchi & Saatchi LA

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