Juuso Myllyrinne is the Head of Stategy of the Digital Arts Network of TBWA in New York. TBWA is a global advertising agency of about 12 000 people. It has around 250 offices around the world. FACC met with Juuso at his office on Madison Avenue to find out how one can grab New Yorkers’ attention. 

How did you end up in New York? I worked at the digital marketing function of Nokia for a number of years and had a lot of contact with different ad agencies. At the end of 2009, a friend of mine who had just moved over to TBWA asked me if I wanted to come over to New York and I said sure. I saw Nokia’s roadmap of products and services and I didn’t have a whole lot of trust in the company’s future.   

How is the advertising industry really like in NYC – are there any real-life Don Drapers around? It’s a creative culture, we have a lot of fun. I really enjoy working with different brands and problems – you get to flex your creative muscles on different things. I’m not even sure that there ever was a real-life Don Draper. We’re one of the few agencies that are actually still left on Madison Avenue.   

How does one grab New Yorkers’ attention? Marketing is basically resource optimization. You have a certain pile of gold coins you need to allocate into marketing tactics. You have to play the game of disruptive marketing and create tactics where the return on marketing investment is higher than expected. That involves risk – you have to create things that people will love or hate. That’s the fun part.   

Can you give us an example of a memorable project at TBWA? We did a campaign called Agent 23 for Nissan in the Middle East. In auto shows, it’s important to get people to touch the car and experience it but those events are usually very rational and conventional. We ended up creating a movie studio next to the auto show. So you walked into this set and it bumped out of the other end like a movie trailer where you were the hero – you came out looking like a real badass. It was a clever way to infuse action into something very conventional.   

What is a realistic marketing budget for a startup entering NYC? Their number one marketing channel should be the product itself. Any startup creating an app or a game should have organic growth. There’s no point in fueling growth with advertising because you’re gonna run out of money. For bigger advertisers, budgets here can vary from hundreds of thousands to hundreds of millions.   

Do you find your journalistic background useful in marketing? Sometimes people find some old clips of my radio or TV shows and they send them around. It definitely humiliates me every once in a quarter. I think the ability to write is very important for a person in strategy.   

You launched your own Antibrooklyn clothing line last year. How is it doing? I pretty much just spent a weekend to get it up and running. It did decently well, I sold like a couple hundred t-shirts. A lot of my colleagues actually live in Brooklyn, so it’s also good to piss them off.   

Why New York? It is the most diverse city in the world in many senses. I enjoy the pulse of the city. It also has enough population density so new services can form.