Student View

Randy Hughes helped develop the “Dog Tested” commercials. Most commercials begin with sketches like the one above right.

Stories That Sell

Randy Hughes talks about developing advertising campaigns

Scholastic Art: What is your job?

Randy Hughes: I’m an executive creative director at Carmichael Lynch, an advertising firm. I’m responsible for everything that is creative in advertising for Subaru, including the “Dog Tested” commercials.

SA: What is the key to creating good advertisements?

RH: A lot of advertising is based on storytelling. In the “Dog Tested” campaign, we try to tell human stories through the lens of dogs. We have a commercial where the dogs are driving along and suddenly they just start barking like crazy because they pass a mail truck. It puts the dogs in a human situation, but they’re still acting like dogs because they can’t help it. And the story jumps from dogs acting like people to, “Oops, we’re still dogs,” and it’s a nice surprise in the story. 

SA: How do you tell a story in an ad?

RH: I’m in the business of simplifying. So I take out the extraneous information to get at the heart of what’s important.  

SA: What skills do you need to be successful in advertising? 

RH: I understand what consumers care about. I can also empathize with my clients. I think about how I can help the consumer and how I can help my client, and when both of them win, then we all win.

SA: Why did you go into advertising?

RH: When I was in fourth grade, my mom asked me to create an ad for her beauty salon. When I saw my work in print, I thought, “Whoa, this is what I want to do!” I studied art in high school and in college. I don’t have the technical skills that a lot of artists have, but I do have a good eye and good ideas. And then I learned what advertising art directors do: They come up with the ideas, hire artists, and direct them. 

SA: What do you love about your job?

RH: I am a creative person, and I have to make things. I’m not the kind of guy who can sit in an office shuffling numbers all day. I need creative freedom.

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