Eric Mower Advertising Forum speaker offers 25 tips to stay nimble and creative in your career

By Tara Schoenborn

April 22, 2014

Anthony Yell is executive vice president and executive creative director of MRM/McCann East

After being introduced at the recent Eric Mower Advertising Forum at the Newhouse School as the “definitely digital man,” Anthony Yell, executive vice president and executive creative director of MRM/McCann East, made two things very clear. First, he jested that he was not there to talk about website advertising banners as “you are more likely to survive a plane crash than click on an ad banner.” And second, he said he was there to act as a mentor, not to talk about his own accomplishments.

Staying true to his word, Yell provided a wealth of knowledge—with a touch of comedy—that he’s learned from his mentors:


What Yell learned from Michael Cronan, his former boss and one of Fast Company magazine’s 100 most creative people in 2009:

1) Discipline, challenge, fury, and most important, neatness.

2) It is necessary to have fun regardless of how messed up everything can get.

3) Tenacity pays off. Proving your ability to work hard is critical because it is the most visible way to show people you care.

4) Learn to listen first and listen to everyone. Get into as many meetings as you can, encourage dialogue and listen to all of the other people around you.

5) Never go into business with your wife like Michael Cronan did, according to Cronan.


What Yell learned from Studio Archetype, a design company where he worked with notable clients such as Apple:

1) Surround yourself with smart people. Especially when I was starting out, there were no classes on digital marketing and it is still a largely developing field.

2) Work hard because you can change everything.

3) Do not get caught up in all of the digital lingo and stay focused on good ideas because in the end, those are what count.

4) Learn how to manage down, up and sideways, or, in other words, be prepared to have others influence you while you influence them.

5) Getting free back massages is really cool.


What Yell Learned From Sapient/Nitro, a digital and interactive brand manager with clients such as Coca-Cola, Dunkin Donuts and Target:

1) A common goal can change a massive organization. Sapient/Nitro was highly organized around what it wanted to do, had a great team spirit and a shared passion that made it really successful.

2) Debate and challenge leadership. You should want to work for people who want you to challenge them.

3) Openness is the best team tenant to have.

4) Technologists are creative. They make the ideas real. You need them.

5) You should know what RSU is. It is a restricted stock unit and it’s how people in the advertising industry make money.


What Yell Learned From Michael McClaren, his current boss at MRM/McCann:

1) Know what to affect first. For me, it is inspiring my employees.

2) Empower the passionate advocates, your employees.

3) To be discovered because I am still learning.


Yell’s personal advice to Newhouse students:

1) “Think deeply when deciding whether you want to work in a small or large agency. In a small agency, you can wear many hats, it is crazier, the pay is worse and there are broader opportunities. In a larger industry, there is more structure, which can be good and bad, bigger brands, more cash and it can be difficult to move up. Choose wisely because it can have a big impact on your career.”

2) “Try everything to start. Do not focus too easily and lose the opportunity to learn something new or discover a passion.”

3) “Then get focused. Pick something that you are passionate about. It helps. For me, my passion is digital because it is literally never the same each day.”

4) “Tenacity is a virtue, but do not act like a jerk. Present strength, but be aware of how you are doing so."

5) “Find a mentor, whether it be a boss, client or someone on your team, and learn something from them.”

6) “Get out of advertising and pick a way in which you can learn and get perspective. For me, it is cars and travel.”

7) “Get yourself on great assignments and try to pick ones that you know will drive your career forward.”   

Tara Schoenborn is a public relations and political science major.