It’s probably not that common for military vets to say to themselves, “I know what I’m going to do next: I’m going to check out some marketing services agencies and land myself an account manager job.” But one new agency in New York believes that military vets have a lot to offer.
Newly unveiled shop Ayni Brigade fully intends to concentrate its hiring efforts on military veterans. Given that one of its founders, Brian Hollyfield, was a marine Corp fighter pilot before he took up his career as COO in two Adland biggies – Atmosphere BBDO and JWT North America — the strategy isn’t so surprising. He knows from the inside that the transition from military life to online advertising agencies can be not only be made, it can be highly fruitful, too.
From army to account manager?
Hollyfield is joining husband-and-wife advertising veterans Mark and Sherry Russell to found the new shop, which will also have an office in Dallas. As alumni of New York-based Eric Mower + Associates, both have distinguished careers in the advertising world. Mr. Russell is CEO and Mrs. Russell is the Creative VP.
Hard-nosed account managers may be skeptical about the shop’s hiring plan but the founders sincerely believe that they can achieve a competitive advantage by harnessing the skills of veterans.
Other ad agency leaders share their vision – back in 2007, during his 4A’s management conference speech, Tom Messner argued for a recruitment drive amongst military veterans and others like Rick Boyko and Ed Vick have been doing just that.
The military experiences that Russell sees as highly desirable for Ayni Brigade are familiarity with emerging technologies, intelligence gathering and tactical execution. These may go into the making of an especially savvy account manager, but what about an art director or copywriter? Russell says, “The only area that we will be a little more loose in hiring is in the creative space.”
The new agency will focus on events marketing and digital and is preparing to hire new staff even as this article goes to print. The Russells plan to remain in the New York office, while Mr. Hollyfied heads out to Dallas.
And the name? It comes from the Andean area of South America and means reciprocal assistance.