As executive creative director of Colle+McVoy, Mike Caguin has helped transform the agency from a quiet ad shop in the burbs into a vibrant, creatively-driven and nationally-recognized agency in downtown Minneapolis. He oversees the agency's creative output and under his leadership, C+M has been recognized nationally and internationally by the industry's most revered award shows.
Prior to C+M, Mike worked at shops large and small, including BSSP and TBWA\Chiat\Day and his client experience includes Aveda, Bikes Belong, BMW MINI, Cannondale, Caribou Coffee, ESPN, General Mills, GT Bicycles, Infiniti, Land O'Lakes, Nissan, Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation, Red Wing Shoes and Schwinn.
Aside from advertising, Mike's passionate about running, cycling and triathlons—he's completed several marathons, an Ironman and commutes year-round by bike.
As Awesome As It Sounds
If you have a degree, in what field is it? Bachelor of Science in visual communications from the University of Delaware (1994).
If you could choose one person to work with (outside your own agency), who would it be? Chuck Porter. Chuck has been a mentor to me for a few years and I learn something from him with every interaction. He’s insanely passionate about great work and has impeccable instincts... and he’s funny as hell.
Who was the client for your first advertising project? The first ad I ever produced was for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority. It ran in an in-flight magazine and was translated into German. I wrote and art directed the ad using an existing photo of Washington Dulles International Airport and the headline went something like, “You don’t have to fly first class to arrive that way.” It was as awesome as it sounds.
If you were to change professions, what would you choose to do? As long as this industry will have me, this is what I plan to do. I love the creativity that drives this business we’re in and can’t imagine doing anything else.
What do you consider to be the greatest headline of all time? “MEN WALK ON MOON” —New York Times, July 21, 1969.
From where do your best ideas originate? The best ideas always happen when I work closely with other people. I’m a big fan of the word we.
How do you overcome a creative block? The best way to overcome a creative block is to take a break. Under pressure, creative thinking can become more elusive which only adds more pressure. It's a vicious cycle that is best broken by a significant disruption like a heated ping pong match, a lunchtime jog, a quick swim at the gym or a bit of video gaming. A twenty-minute break can work wonders.
If you could choose any product to create an ad for, what would it be? I would love to talk Capitol Hill into investing a billion dollars in an idea that will help reduce obesity in America. It sounds like a lot of money, but it’s a fraction of the health care costs we’ll face if we continue to condone what is now an epidemic.
Do you have creative outlets other than advertising? For me, creativity is just a way of life. It has always been that way. I don’t turn it on when I get to work and turn it off when I leave for the day. It just is. I suspect a lot people who read CA can relate.
What’s your approach to balancing work and life? Somewhere during the sixteen years I’ve been in this business I’ve learned a lot about achieving a work-life balance that’s ideal for me. For long-term happiness, it’s important to figure out what ratio works best for you and then strive to find a culture that’s a good fit.
What product/gadget can you not live without? Running shoes. My road bike is a close second.
What’s your favorite quote? The Dalai Lama says, “Everything is connected.” I’m not a Buddhist, but I believe this to the core. It explains the strong relationship people can have with a brand. It explains integrated marketing at its best. It explains why every one of us should try to treat everyone else with a little more respect.
Do you have any advice for people just entering the profession? Try to be as good as your most talented coworkers; if you can’t be as good, outwork them. Either way, you’ll earn your keep.
What’s one thing you wish you knew when you started your career? Creativity is a skill that is never mastered. The better you get, the bigger the opportunity for growth becomes. It’s humbling and invigorating at the same time.