Mindshare Unplugged: Meet Patrick Lylo & TJ Kelly

Mindshare Unplugged spotlights and interview rising stars across Mindshare North America – people who exemplify our core values of Grit, Provocation, Speed, and Collaboration. In this special pre-Cannes edition, say hello to Patrick Lylo (Content Strategy, Mindshare Content+ Entertainment) and TJ Kelly (Associate Director, Strategic Planning), winners of the Media category in the 2017 U.S. Young Lions competition.

About Patrick and TJ: Patrick Lylo and TJ Kelly have each worked at Mindshare for more than four years, and both began their agency careers on the Unilever account. Patrick is a pop culture fanatic with a passion for writing. While working on the AXE business, he was given the opportunity to combine these passions and created a daily Cultural Newsletter to fuel their Planning for Agility work. That fueled his recent move to Mindshare Content+ Entertainment, where he now develops breakthrough content strategies for many of Mindshare’s biggest clients. TJ is the ultimate foodie, with a real knack for baking. And he’s able to further explore this passion on a daily basis, working on the strategy team for Unilever food brands.

The pair teamed up for the 2017 USA Young Lions Competition, where they were tasked with creating a breakthrough campaign for Brave Beginnings – a charity focused on rewriting the story of premature birth. Their idea centered around a children’s book about Gifford, a brave premature giraffe, and connected storytime with donations to make it easy for moms to donate to the cause. They were awarded first place in the media category, and will be sent to Cannes, France to compete as Team USA in the global Young Lions competition at the 64th Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

1) What inspired you to go into the media industry? 

Patrick: I more or less ended up in media on a whim. I was working for a tech startup right after college, but quickly realized it wasn’t for me. During my senior year at George Washington, I had attended a trip to visit a few agencies in New York, where Cindy Gustafson and Greg Manago took us through a great presentation of some recent Mindshare work. Inspired by that session I dug up the business card, booked an interview, and I’ve been here ever since. And after almost four years working on the Unilever account, I’ve now found myself working directly for Greg at Mindshare Content+ Entertainment.

TJ: I stumbled into media, which I’ve found is the case for most people this industry.  But my inspiration to stay in media has come from the people you work with and the level of brand/marketplace challenges you get exposure to.  Name another job that trusts you to invest multi-million dollar budgets, demands innovation as table stakes, and gives you the opportunity to solve investment challenges for Fortune 500 brands?  It gets even harder to name another job when you factor in the kickass people you meet along the way; media is a diamond in the marketing rough if you’re ready for the challenge.

2) What advice would you give to people looking to enter into the Young Lions competition next year?

To prepare for this competition, we were given a ton of great advice from our mentors, Mindshare leadership, and the judges themselves. Here are the three key points that stood out for driving home a win at Cannes’ Young Lions competition:

– It’s all about the big idea. Yes this is the Media competition, but the actual media plan comes at the very end of the presentation. The main focus for the judges is how you link an insight to a breakthrough idea. You need to find a creative solution for the brief at hand; you need to have a clear demonstration of why that idea has legs, and how it will work to solve the key challenge.

Simplicity is key. At the core, your idea needs to be simple enough that it can be explained in a sentence. Think of this as an elevator pitch:  if you had 30 seconds to explain the idea to someone, would they walk away with a clear understanding of it? Will your idea make sense to someone who doesn’t work in the industry? At the finalist stage of the competition, you only have 5-7 minutes to present your entire campaign. If it takes a ton of time to just explain your idea, you’re taking away your chance to show how it comes to life and truly has legs.

– Tell a complete story. The best presentations in our industry are the ones that tell a complete story. When presenting an idea, you can bore someone to death reciting facts and statistics. Or you can immerse them with the power of storytelling. A compelling story brings your idea to life in a way that keeps your audience engaged. For some great inspiration, look no further than Don Draper himself. We must have watched the “Carousel” clip from Mad Men on YouTube at least 50 times in preparation for our final presentation.

3) For brands that are looking to launch provocative campaigns, what advice would you give them?

Remember that creativity and innovation aren’t confined to digital.  Our industry is very often fixated on jumping on the latest digital trend, but innovation can take many forms.

Our winning idea for the Young Lions competition took the form of a book. Palace Skateboards just launched a game-changing out of home ad in London, where users savvy enough to snap a pic and invert the colors on their phone were treated to a first look at their highly-anticipated collaboration with Adidas. iHeart and Spotify are taking the time-tested medium of radio to the next level and debuting new programmatic capabilities to customize their ads like never before.