Creative Experiences, Thirty Collaborators


sherwin schwartzrock

creative director  |  smARTer  |  Minneapolis

illustration: Don Baker

There’s a hugely important conversation happening in our industry right now: identifying and understanding what authenticity really means, and how that translates into business. That’s our job. Because the old concept of design – making things look pretty – just doesn’t work anymore. We have to be strategic; relevant; true.

Sometimes that’s easy. Like one of our biggest clients, a hospital, is a great brand to work with because they’re literally saving people’s lives. Every day. I mean, how can you not love working for a company like that? You look at the nurses who have been delivering babies for 20 years and they still see every birth as a miracle. How cool is it to be the standard-bearer for a brand like that?

But everything is super competitive these days. Consumers have real choices in the marketplace. And they’re smarter than ever. Especially millennials. Their bullshit detectors are pretty good. They can sense it a mile away. That’s why it’s so important for companies to convey the truth; to add real value to the marketplace versus just selling another widget at whatever cost.

My partners and I have learned that we have a say in who we identify with and who we communicate for. And that we, like the clients we serve, can add value to society instead of just being another ad agency; to provide a service not only to them, but also to their customers – instead of the way it was during the Mad Men era when people in this business could get away with pretty much anything.

And here’s the thing: If we in this in