Loading ...

How did you discover your passion for copywriting and advertising and get started in the field? I was looking at my older brother’s college course catalog and saw a class about sports marketing. The description said, “Find out how Nike came up with ‘Just Do It.’” At that moment, a lightbulb went off for me.

In college, I majored in advertising and minored in creative writing. The irony is I went to that same college but never ended up taking the sports marketing class. Between my junior and senior year of college, I attended a two-week program hosted by The Martin Agency. We didn’t sleep. We pulled all-nighters to come up with a campaign. And we pitched it to a real client. I was hooked.

What do you do in your role as executive creative director and the co-lead of ad agency Team One’s Dallas-based office, and what do you like about it? As executive creative director, I oversee creative teams in Los Angeles and Dallas, mostly on the Lexus account. I help guide teams to make ideas of all shapes, sizes and mediums sellable so they can be produced in real life. As co-lead of the Dallas office, I work with my counterpart to keep us connected to overall Team One culture, but I also focus on helping the culture of our unique smaller office in Dallas to flourish. I take pride in bringing creative energy to our office and reminding people in every role and department that we are in the business of making cool stuff together.

What was it like to work on the Lexus account at Team One and help evolve the long-standing relationship with the December to Remember campaign? I think when some people hear that I “only” work on one account, they see that as limiting. But working on a brand like Lexus is never the same. Each vehicle has its own personality. Each campaign has its point of view. Every project is new—even something as iconic and enduring as the Lexus December to Remember campaign. While the spirit, wonder and red bow remain, the approach evolves with the times. We’re using video to put vehicles at the heart of emotional, magical storytelling. We’re leaning into new ways of storytelling, like making a mini holiday scene with a social creator and creating the largest imaginable snow globe on the Sphere in Vegas. And of course, we love when other brands (and Saturday Night Live) give us a nod. It just shows how the Lexus December to Remember campaign is ingrained in pop culture.

Tell us about your interest in infusing ads with emotional storytelling. Would you have any advice to other creatives on how to find and portray those emotions to elevate their campaigns? At our best, we aren’t marketers. We are people exchanging stories with other people. What inspires us? What motivates us? What frustrates us? What makes us giggle? What makes us tick? We have the opportunity to tap into a spectrum of human emotions and experiences. And use those emotions to create a connection with someone else. That’s the beauty of what we do. What other job gives you that opportunity on such a consistent, ongoing basis?

Other than the Lexus campaign, what have been some of your favorite projects you’ve worked on at Team One? What do you like about them, and how have they changed your perception of advertising? I like dropping into pitches from time to time for quick sprints on something totally new. It’s a nice refresher and great way to flex creative muscles. I also like working on some of the internal projects that are unique to Team One: like Moonshot, a speaker event series that showcases entrepreneurs outside of advertising who haven’t just aimed for the moon—they’ve landed their moonshot. Working on promotional materials and prepping for these events gets us fired up about all the things that are possible to accomplish in the world—with real, tangible evidence of someone who did it.

My absolute favorite project of the year, though, is the One Club Bootcamp. For the past few years, Team One has hosted a virtual boot camp for Black students and recent graduates. Each team is given an assignment and has three days to come up with an idea. As a mentor, I hang up my creative director hat and simply help be a sounding board and guide for my team. It’s absolutely incredible (and a great kick in the ass) to see the innovative, inspiring ideas teams come up with in a short period of time. The winning team gets internships at the agency. We’ve also had the opportunity to bring some of the participants on full time.

The rise in technology should be forcing us to be even more creative. AI can be a useful tool. It’s fun to experiment with. And it reminds us that we need to think with even more audacity, heart and ingenuity than we ever have.”

You previously gave lectures on advertising and coached emerging talents as an adjunct professor at Temple University. What did you like about educating new talent, and would you ever like to do it again? I think one of the most inspiring things to do is working with people who are completely new to advertising. Their enthusiasm is palpable. Their ideas are fresh and unfiltered. It’s invigorating. It’s a great way to get out of a rut and realize what we do is very, very cool.

When I taught at Temple University, I was given materials to use. Most of those materials asked students to emulate existing scripts and ads. But that doesn’t really teach people to think creatively. So, I came up with different kinds of exercises to fuel that thinking. I cut out cartoons from The New Yorker and asked people to caption them in a line: headline writing. I assigned teams a well-known fairy tale but gave them a pretty exhaustive list of words they couldn’t say, so they were forced to tell the story through dialogue and description: audio advertising). And I asked students to pick a side on a divisive topic—then, in a twist, I asked them to persuade people to do the opposite. All of these are skills that inspire thinking versus imitating something else. Coming up with exercises like those also inspires new thinking in me.

If you could choose any product to create an ad for, what would it be, and why? This is always such a hard question. I don’t have a dream product I want to work on! I guess my dream project is probably to work on something that hasn’t existed before and figure out how to introduce it to people in a way that feels familiar and also exciting.

How is the rise of technology helping or hurting the brands you work with? The rise in technology should be forcing us to be even more creative. AI can be a useful tool. It’s fun to experiment with. And it reminds us that we need to think with even more audacity, heart and ingenuity than we ever have. AI is a new kind of partnership. But we’re still the ones who drive, refine and elevate creative.

What trends in advertising are you most interested in and why? I hope this isn’t so much a trend but an ongoing evolution and change: I love to see and hear more unique voices and perspectives in ideas, both in front of and behind the camera. The more people feel seen, heard and represented, the more interesting and inclusive our work becomes. And our work has the power to shape pop culture.

Do you have any advice for people just entering the profession? Find your voice. Not your peer’s, not your boss’s, not your client’s—your own unique voice. You will always have to flex and navigate representing brand, client and agency voices, but when you know your own, you will stay true to who you are. ca

Amanda Abrams is the executive creative director and Dallas office co-lead at ad agency Team One. Beginning as a copywriter, she has been with the company since 2017, executing campaigns for the Lexus account. Under Abrams’s leadership, the long-term AOR partnership has evolved to reach icon status, solidified by highly anticipated yearly iterations of the brand’s December to Remember campaign. Prior to her time at Team One, she was a creative director at Red Tettemer O’Connell + Partners and led creative for Planet Fitness, Reyka Vodka and Under Armour Women. Abrams is also a coach of emerging talent, having previously taught advertising lectures as an adjunct professor at Temple University.


With a free Commarts account, you can enjoy 50% more free content
Create an Account
Get a subscription and have unlimited access
Already a subscriber or have a Commarts account?
Sign In

Get a subscription and have unlimited access
Already a subscriber?
Sign In