Tell us about yourself and what you do.
I’m Tom Lorenzo, and I’m the VP of Creative at Situation, a digital agency focused on building passionate communities for modern brands. Since joining the team in 2006, I’ve had the opportunity to work with a variety of clients including NBCUniversal, Major League Soccer, Wicked the Musical, and HBO’s Game of Thrones. I’ve been doing this for about 15 years now, and I’ve loved every minute of it.
How has the shift towards more responsible or politically correct advertising impacted your work?
The shift is all audience driven – they’re demanding that brands act responsibly, take a stand and have a POV on crucial issues. That shift towards embracing responsibility has opened the opportunity to create more meaningful work that’s not just an ad, but also a statement. When you choose to make a statement, you not only have the chance to establish stronger individual connections but to build powerful and passionate communities through bold work.
Do you believe this helps the audience develop a deeper bond with their audience? Might taking a stance on social/political issues also turn away some potential customers?
There is no doubt there’s a threat of alienating some of your audience when you take a stand on a social or political issue. Brands must make a strategic calculation, but first, they need to do some soul searching and really dive into their brand’s core values. There are times when a brand’s values will inherently dictate action even when the calculation comes up short. Sometimes it’s about a strategic balance, and sometimes it’s about simply supporting what you stand for.
Are there any specific causes your agency as a whole or you yourself hold near and dear? If so, tell us about them.
Meals on Wheels America (MOWA) is a cause that’s always been close to my heart. They are an essential organization dedicated to our nation’s at-risk seniors. The number of people they impact on a daily basis, from delivering meals to innovative approaches to healthcare, is staggering. We’re now the digital agency of record for MOWA, and it’s been an incredibly rewarding experience for the agency as well as me personally. A range of policy issues has thrust them into the spotlight recently, and we’ve had a unique chance to be on the front lines during some very high stakes moments. It feels good to be a part of it as a creative and as a human being.
As we move towards more socially conscious advertising, are there any campaigns from the past that you think simply wouldn’t be able to get made today?
I don’t want to name names here but definitely. Just go to YouTube, type in “1980s TV Ads” and see for yourself. Pretty much all them fail in one way or another when you apply 2019 standards.
Is there a specific campaign for a good cause you worked on that you’re most proud of? Or a favorite campaign from another agency.
I’m a big fan of the Ad Council’s “Love Has No Label’s” campaign. We’ve been the Social AOR on the campaign since last year, and it’s been a tremendous honor. R/GA is the creative agency behind the campaign, and I have a ton of respect for their work on it. They’ve managed to deliver the campaign’s message in beautiful and unexpected ways over and over again. If you haven’t seen their most recent work for LHNL, the short film Rising, stop what you’re doing and check it out.