Why I’m leaving Soho for Madision Avenue

Or in this case, Lexington Avenue.

After almost three amazing years at Electric Artists, I’ve decided to take a new opportunity with a company that I’ve admired for long. Later this month, I will be starting my first day as Digital Strategist with JWT New York. I’ve joined a niche and unique group at JWT called JWT Experience charged with putting digital at the forefront of all the client businesses. From a recent press release, “Positioned as a peer to the Creative, Planning and Account departments, the Experience department is geared to ideate and develop digital experiences that enhance the other online skill sets within the business.”

I don’t think JWT needs any introduction – but for those that are not in the advertising/ marketing business, check out the Wikipedia page for high-level highlights.

Why this move? After spending the last years in 100% digital environments and doing some amazing work for a range of clients, I wanted a different challenge. And my decision to join a traditional agency is based on these thoughts:

1. Driving change on a large scale is impossible to achieve by a purely digital agency.  I believe that a marketing  concept has to be medium neutral – and the brands that will achieve the most success will be the ones that use all platforms in synch. As a Digital Strategist, I will always be partial towards the role of digital in business, but I want to acknowledge and understand how all the spokes of the wheel fit together. I want to put my money where my mouth is and instead of being one of those digital know-it-all’s that sit from the sidelines and criticize brands and traditional agencies for ‘not getting it,’ – I wanted to join one and be a part of this change internally.

2. The role of Digital Strategists in 2011 and beyond will be to inspire a shift in how digital is perceived. The ones that will have the strongest impact on the future of digital will be the ones that are thinking beyond tactical applications on digital platforms and tools. Imagine the volume and quality of work that can be done if there isn’t just one but a million digital evangelists, both on the agency side and the client side? Shifting this mindset and helping others embrace digital (while  learning from them) will elevate the industry on the whole and enable us to collectively do amazing things in the future. It’s probably not going to be easy or quick, but the ability to influence change and see it through is perhaps the most important skill-set I will cultivate as a business leader – and this stage in my career, that’s more exciting to me than launching yet another digital doodad.

As excited (and I’ll admit, a tad bit nervous) I am about this role, it is also with bittersweet memories that I leave EA. I found a mentor and a teacher in my boss here and couldn’t have asked for a more motley, fun and brilliant crew of colleagues to work with. Wish me luck  :)

5 Comments

  1. Satish Krishnamurthy January 11, 2011

    This is great news, Jinal! Congrats on the move. It looks like a lot of wonderful things are lined up, with the way things are churning in the ad industry. Rock it!

  2. Jinal Shah January 11, 2011

    Thanks Satish. I am excited and a tad bit nervous. Am looking forward to the changes and making an impact. Btw – I’m in Bombay 18th Jan onwards. Coffee? Drink? Emailing you.

  3. Geoffrey Colon January 31, 2011

    Congrats on the move Jinal! I think you’re going to do some BIG things. JWT is one helluva an agency to work at and have on the resume.

  4. Lyle Shemer February 10, 2011

    How refreshing to meet a digital person that actually understands that digital isn’t an island entire of itself; every medium is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.

    My apologies, John Donne.

  5. Serge Lescouarnec February 19, 2011

    Found out about you and your work, via LinkedIn.
    Would like to connect and know more about JWT Experience.
    Serge

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