Editor's Note – This article was published in 2016; Jayanta Jenkins has since left the company.
Creativity is the soul of advertising and marketing—the fuel that powers the best campaigns.
That’s why I’m thrilled that Jayanta Jenkins is joining as Twitter’s new global group creative director. His resume itself is impressive and filled with culture-changing work at world-class agencies and brands, most recently at Apple/Beats by Dre, TBWA\Chiat\Day, Wieden + Kennedy, Gatorade, and Nike. But his vision, philosophy, and creativity is what told me he’s the right person to lead the Twitter brand into the next phase.
I sat down with Jayanta to get to know him, understand what fuels his creative thinking, and to better understand how brands can creatively tell stories that resonate.
In your career, you've worked with some of the most iconic brands out there. How do brands create culture, not advertising?
@Jayanta: Iconic brands have a tendency to inform culture, not mirror it. The result often creates inspired narratives and conversations that engage people in a meaningful way. Advertising and culture can and should coexist. Iconic brands tend to use advertising as the vessel with a cultural point of view as the engine.
How can brands tell stories in meaningful ways?
@Jayanta: One of the fundamental ways brands can tell meaningful stories is to know what they stand for. That’s true on a personal level in the things I admire or want to emulate, be it an artist like Picasso, a musician like Prince, or a brand like Apple. Each knows what they stand for and it’s represented in how they demonstrate and connect with the world. On some level, people want to see themselves in the brands they embrace. It will be fun working with everyone to unlock that centre for Twitter. The world wants to know what Twitter stands for and it's time to create that narrative.
What are brands doing on Twitter that’s interesting and innovative?
@Jayanta: Historically, there are so many brands that have (and continue to) use Twitter in innovative ways. A few examples that come to mind are Nike Chalkbot, Old Spice Man answering Tweets in real time, and Grammy’s “Sing my Tweet”. Brands get the power and immediacy of Twitter’s “in the now” platform. I am eager to join with my Twitter colleagues to identify and recruit additional brands to use the platform in increasingly innovative ways. I’m hopeful that our Creative Studio will further partner with brands in the near future to provide additive high-level creative support for brands as a resource.
What excites you about this opportunity at Twitter?
@Jayanta: This a defining moment in time at Twitter for our brand voice and future engagement. I hope to be a catalyst to create deeper meaning for the brand. It’s rare that a person with a successful career in advertising gets the opportunity to move into a new dimension of leadership and creativity. Opportunities of this kind present an energy and sense of adventure that excites and challenges me at the core of what I get to do creatively.