In an attempt to showcase the personalities of the people behind the media and marketing sector, The Drum speaks to individuals who are bringing something a little different to the industry and talks to them about what insights and life experience they can offer the rest of us. This week’s 10 Questions are put to Melissa Jones, CEO and creative director of DTE Studio.
What was your first-ever job?
My first job was as a junior graphic designer at Tommy Boy Records in New York. I was so excited to be in the music business, designing record covers was my dream. The day I started I supported the art director on Naughty By Nature and De La Soul covers and I couldn’t have been more thrilled.
Which industry buzzword annoys you most?
Disrupt. Disruption is about creating a disturbance, a negative, oftentimes aggressive and inconsiderate action, I don’t like that this is now praised as cool and innovative.
Who do you find most interesting to follow on social media?
@mastheadmagazine is the Instagram of our new online platform where we collaborate with artists, influencers and celebrities as contributors, we are fairly new on Instagram but I am excited for what’s to come.
What is the highlight of your career (so far)?
Undeniably the highlight of my career so far was working with Karl Lagerfeld on Fendi and also his casual wear namesake brand. He was funny, charming, so polite, and of course a creative genius – but the best part was he left room for me to contribute and he really knows how to use people’s skills and let them make the best work they can for him.
What piece of tech can you not live without?
Any of my apple devices. I pride myself on being very up-to-date on software and tech, I’m probably one of the few creative directors at a senior level who knows all the keyboard shortcuts and actively designs herself, many people have others deal with the tech but I love my computers.
Who or what did you have posters of on your bedroom wall as a teenager?
Wow, this is embarrassing! I have to admit I was a huge fan of Keanu Reeves and River Phoenix in My Own Private Idaho so they definitely had a spot on the wall. Otherwise, I was a big The Cure fan, and I used to love De La Soul, lots of music posters
In advertising, what needs to change soon?
We need to bring the quality of creative back up again. With the do-it-yourself social media market, the quality of creative has gone way way down for the average brand. Sure, there are some knock out videos and viral ideas that stand out like never before but overall I find looking at sub-par creative that mimics everyone else in the startup world so boring and uninspiring and I look forward to when it really pays again to have top professionals working on branding and campaigns.
What is, in your opinion, the greatest film/book/album of your life?
The Cure Mixed Up album is hands down the best record ever. I guess you always remember what stays strong for you as a child and I remember I got that record from my father when it first came out of the compact disc. The cover made me realize that I wanted to design record covers because I loved it so much. And the way The Cure was able to remix, reinvent and re-issue their old songs in such a fresh cool way that even stands the test of time today 20 years later is just genius. That, and Arthur Russell’s Calling Out of Context album which I released together with my co-founder of Audika Records and was the first record I ever received a producer credit on.
Which industry event can you not afford to miss each year and why?
There are so many industry events now that it’s hard to know what’s what anymore.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
Be an angel to the angels and a devil to the devils.