Verizon and The Community CCOs on ups, downs and roller coaster of creativity amid crisis

The creative duo has worked together for nearly three years.

Joaquin Molla, CCO and co-founder of The Community; Andrew McKechnie, Chief Creative Officer of Verizon.
Joaquin Molla, CCO and co-founder of The Community; Andrew McKechnie, Chief Creative Officer of Verizon.

A New Zealand brand creative, Argentinian agency founder and Jersey girl editor sit down in a Google Hangout chat room…

No, this isn’t the beginning of a joke. It’s Campaign US’ latest Pillow Talk virtual chat, featuring Verizon Chief Creative Officer Andrew McKechnie and The Community Founder and Chief Creative Officer Joaquin Molla.

The duo, which has worked together for about three years, gives really transparent answers about everything from the ways they’re creating amid the pandemic to how they’re handling the challenges and staying motivated and more.

Molla was honest about how much he misses collaborating with his creative team in person.

"I love to work with people," he said. "I’m better when interacting with people. I have a theory that we’re rocks and when we crunch together we become diamonds, so I’m missing that part of it [creativity]. I’m not at my best when I’m alone, so that’s a challenge."

That being said, the agency leader brought up the fact that he grew up in Argentina, where there was "always a crisis to deal with," so he’s used to trials and tribulations. And he gets through these days by painting and consuming content, and of course, keeping busy with clients, like Verizon.

McKechnie told Campaign US that having to try to keep his own internal teams and agencies partners – a combined group of more than 1,000 people – motivated and inspired these days is no easy task. He tells his team and agency partners that they need to look at how fortunate they are to work for a company that is providing an essential service to the world, while having the opportunity to create great content.

In the next six to 12 months, McKechnie believes new creative opportunities will open up that push the industry forward. 

For McKechnie, creative inspiration comes when he unplugs from his daily work responsibilities a bit. 

"Creativity is more about taking my mind off of work and not thinking about my job, per se, and giving myself space to think, so creativity for me comes when I’m exercising or doing gardening or something very manual, like things around the house," he said.

When it comes to their working relationship throughout the pandemic, McKechnie said Verizon and The Community, as well as the brand’s other agency partners, are grateful for having family-like vibes because they don’t have to spend time with small talk on calls or videos. 

"We’re already at that level, so we can enter a conversation really quickly and make decisions," he said. "We’ve eliminated a lot of the bureaucracy and red tape or layers that gets bogged down in the way the teams are structured or operate."

Molla added that the dynamic is fluid and that by "eliminating the fat," the agency and brand are able to work tighter and faster than ever.

Watch the video above for deeper dives into how the agency and brand are working together, how they’re handling non-stop video calls and which companies they think are doing great work during the COVID-19 crisis.