NativeAdVantage 10-Q2BA:

(10 Questions 2B Answered)

What do you do best?
What makes you the best?
Biggest success?
What are your aspirations?
Most challenging moment?
Favorite Motto?
Favorite People?
Favorite Places?
Favorite Products?
Current Passions?

Featured NativeAdVantage:

Andy Weir: Author of "The Martian"

John Philipson: VP, Six Senses Resorts

Tom Sito: Chair of Animation, USC Film School

Elizabeth Wynn: Broker, Sotheby's RE

Leonard Greenhalgh: Professor, Tuck-Darmouth)

Ryan Blair: NY Times Best Selling Author/Entrepreneur


Featured NativeAdVice:

Shai Reshef: Founder of University of the People

Paul D'Arcy: SVP of Indeed

Susan Hatje: GM of Mandarin Oriental, NY

Dan Laufer: Co-Founder of RentLingo

Hilary Laney: President of Tri-Digital

Greg Marsh: Co-Founder of onefinestay

Omar Qari: Co-Founder of Abacus

Gabriell Weinberg: Founder of DuckDuckGo

Stacy Rauen: E-I-C of Hospitality Design Mag

Jon Gray: CRO of HomeAway

Joe Speiser: Co-Founder of

Ben McKean: Co-Founder of HungryRoot

John Boiler: Founder/CEO of 72andSunny

Wayne Pacelle: CEO of The Humane Society of the US

Tom Guay: GM at The Sagamore Resort

Dr. Alejandro Junger: Founder of The Clean Program

Rob Flaherty: CEO of Ketchum

Neil Thanedar: Founder/CEO of LabDoor

Andy Grinsfelder: VP of Sales/Marketing, Delaware North Resorts

Laura Frerer-Schmidt: VP/Publisher of Women's Health

Avi Steinlauf: CEO of

Kathy Bloomgarden: CEO of Ruder Finn

Gabriel Flateman: Co-Founder/CTO of Casper

Mark Bartels: CEO of StumbleUpon

Bill Hagelstein: President/CEO of RPA

Adam Singolda: Founder/CEO of Taboola

Jonathan Plutzik: Proprietor of The Betsy-South Beach

Jessica Scorpio: Founder/VP of Marketing at GetAround

Ralph McRae: CEO of Leading Brands

Warren Berger: Bestselling Author

Liz Kaplow: Founder/CEO of Kaplow Communications

Dave Girouard: Founder/CEO of UpStart

Dave Asprey: Founder of BullectProof Executive

Douglas C. Smith: President of EDSA

Val Difebo: CEO of Deutsch NY

Guido Polito: CEO of Baglioni Hotels

Doyle Graham, Jr.: CEO of Valencia Group

Oscar Farinetti: Founder of Eataly

Angelo Sotira: CEO of DeviantART

Ali Khwaja: CFO of Safecharge

Zach Erdem: Proprietor of 75 Main

Jim Beley: GM of The Umstead Hotel

Alexis Gelburd-Kimler: Proprietor of West Bridge

Elie Georges: Proprietor of Hotel San Regis

Kalen Caughey: Founder o VOKE Tab

Michael Friedenberg: CEO of IDG

Donna Karan: Founder of DKNY

Edward Nardoza: Editor-in-Chief of WWD

Scott Dadich: Editor-in-Chief of Wired

Rhona Murphy: Former CEO of The Daily Beast

David J. Pecker: CEO of American Media

Lilian Roten: VP of Swissotel Hotels

Kenny Dichter: Founder/CEO of Wheels Up

Joshua Tetrick: Founder/CEO of Hampton Creek

Paul James: Global Brand Leader of The Luxury Collection

Dr. James Wagner: President of Emory University

Amy Thompson: President of ATM Artists & Management

Neil Gillis: President of Round Hill Music

Brett Matteson: President of Columbia Hospitality

Jonathan Reckford: CEO of Habitat For Humanity

Phil Harrison: President/CEO of Perkins+Will

Chef Bill Telepan

Tony Horton: Founder of P90X

Beth Weissenberger: Co-Founder of The Handel Group

Michael Fertik: Founder/CEO of

Dana Cowin: Editor-in-Chief of Food & Wine

Bob Proctor: Chairman of Proctor/Gallagher Institute

Dennis Turcinovic: Owner of Delmonicos

Vittorio Assaf: Co-Founder of Serafina Restaurant Group

Shafqat Islam: Co-Founder of Newscred

Matt Williams: CEO of The Martin Agency

Bruce Rogers: Executive Chef at Hale & Hearty

Caleb Merkl: Co-Founder of Maple

Candy Argondizza: VP of Culinary at ICC

Neil Sazant: President of The Sagamore

Matt Straz: Founder/CEO of Namely

Terry Couglin: Managing Partner of Marta/Maialino

Andrei Cherny: Co-Founder/CEO of Aspiration

Ronen Nissenbaum: Managing Director of Waldorf Astoria NY

Patrick Godfrey: President of Godfrey Q

Sarah Berman: Founder/President of The Berman Group

Michael Schwartz: Owner of Genuine Hospitality Group

Stephan Aarstol: Founder/CEO of Tower Paddle Boards

Peter Shaindlin: COO of Halekulani Corp.

August Cardona: Founder/CEO of Epicurean Group

Nick Kenner: Co-Founder of Just Salad


Carolyn Hadlock: Principal & ECD, Young & Laramore

My NativeAdVice:


As Young & Laramore’s longtime executive creative director, Carolyn Hadlock is the driving force behind the agency’s creative department. Carolyn has spent more than 20 years at Y&L, inspiring teams to deliver original, startling, and consistently effective creative for the likes of Brizo Faucets, Goodwill, Scotts Lawn Service, Schlage, and Stanley Steemer.

Among other noteworthy efforts, Carolyn played a key role in establishing the Brizo-Jason Wu partnership, reinforcing the Brizo faucet brand’s position as a fashion label for the home. Carolyn led the charge to have the up-and-coming Brizo fashion brand partner with an up-and-coming, unheralded, young fashion designer named Jason Wu. Since 2006, she has encouraged Brizo to sponsor Jason’s shows during New York Fashion Week, exposing influential architect and interior designer bloggers to the Brizo brand. In January 2009, Carolyn’s efforts shone through as the client—and the rest of the world—watched Jason shoot to superstardom when Michelle Obama wore his gown at the Inauguration Ball.

How did you get into the advertising industry?

I started school as a nursing major, but switched to design in my third year. After a year in my new program, my professor asked me not to return the next year, saying, “You have no talent and you’re wasting your parent’s money.” Yeah.

Dejected, I started over at an art school in Indianapolis.

My plan after graduation was to head to NYC or Chicago to work with the likes of Woody Pirtle, Paula Scher and Rick Valicenti. They were my heroes. I loved the succinct power of their work.

But, life had other plans. Towards the end of my senior year we toured this agency called Young & Laramore. It was relatively new and creating quite a scene in the Midwest. I met the founders on the tour, David Young who was a philosophy major and writer, and Jeff Laramore, a designer with a fine arts background. David was flat on his back on the floor, drawing on the underside of a table during on a conference call. They were strange, but I couldn’t stop thinking about them. So, I decided to put my big city plans on hold and start my career as an Art Director at Young & Laramore. 24 years later, I’m still here.

Any emerging industry trends?

When I first started in the industry, good advertising defined culture. Brands like Nike, Apple, and Coke set the bar and other brands clamored to ascend to their iconic status.

Today, the paradigm has flipped—some of the best advertising is coming from culture and the conversation on social media. Social causes and political issues are omnipresent in our daily feeds and in our lives. The recent political work for Hillary from Droga5 is a perfect example. And it’s not a lone occurrence—Obama was Ad Age’s Marketer of the year in 2008. The Ice Bucket challenge won 2 Gold Lions with no agency involvement, just the momentum of the public.

Many would say this shift is a result of the death of mass media and the rise of social media. Of course, those things play into it. But it’s more nuanced than that. The real struggle comes down to businesses competing with causes for consumers’ attention. The good news is that advertising’s reputation can be saved: good branding is the phoenix rising from the ashes of advertising.

Any opportunities or challenges?

The challenge is that many of us have been trained in the discipline of advertising using mass media for growth, but the world has gone grassroots. The skills and stamina required to make that shift are significant. Advertising no longer creates the wave - it rides it.

Additionally, the “revolving door” CMO culture that makes it increasingly difficult to find clients who are willing to take long-term risks. As an industry, we’re struggling when it comes to balancing agility with scale and resources. Staffing for a project-based business is a challenge for agencies. Those that have alternative revenue generating businesses outside of advertising are the ones who will thrive.  

Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for it?

Advertising can be a very insular industry, which is why the best creative leaders I know look outside of it for inspiration.

As the daughter of a stockbroker, I have been reading the Wall Street Journal Marketplace section every day since I was a child. Understanding what drives business allows me to drive brands.

My father taught me how to identify indicators of a successful business beyond their product or service. He could easily tell if a business was one-dimensional and doomed to fail. He helped me understand that a brand is what allows a business to endure the tough times. This is the foundation I set for the creative department. And it’s why at Young & Laramore, creatives participate in strategy and positioning development and the account group weighs in on creative.

What's next for Y&L's creative department in the near future?

At Y&L, we think of creative as a mindset, not a department. On our best days, we are so integrated that the work is fluid across departments. I know we’re doing well when I see an Art Director hanging out in the media department mulling over possibilities for a campaign. From an executional standpoint, I encourage invention. We start over with every project, pushing ourselves to create something people haven’t seen before.

I also encourage infusing art into the work. Too much advertising today is over-produced, polished and manufactured. Keeping a more authentic, or raw edge to it, makes it distinctive and human. Our founders were poets and painters and I aim to maintain that sensibility.

Your key initiatives for the success of Y&L?

Internally, we have to continue to recruit top talent, which isn’t always easy for an agency that’s off the beaten path of the industry. It makes us work harder to identify potential and actively develop it. We hire for what we believe we need, but we’re also not afraid to develop the agency around the skillsets we have. Passion is the heart of internal success.

Externally, the biggest challenge we face is managing our clients’ time and resources. They’re in the same boat as agencies in many ways. Facilitating growth for them through alternative means is where I spend a fair amount of my time. Recently, I worked on a project for one our clients where we brought six well-known home accent brands together to create a style alliance: ELEVATE Design Collective. Our client, Schlage needed to move in a new direction, and move the needle quickly. Though each of the brands had strong awareness with consumers, they weren’t being included in the larger design conversation among interior designers. Though only halfway through the year, the alliance has already helped forge relationships with this key audience.

At Young & Laramore we have a deep understanding of the ethos of brands, which gives us the unique ability to find compatibility between brands and help create long sustaining impact. So often, these types of alliances are superficial, and therefore fleeting. I believe advertising’s future (and to some degree, Y&L’s) lies in creating long lasting brand alliances with a common cause to keep up with the demand for accelerated growth.

Your most difficult moment at Y&L? (and what did you learn?)

Two stand out to me. On the same day I was named partner, we lost a significant client—one I had worked on. We were starting to really gain momentum and the loss stalled us out for a bit. It was gut wrenching for me, because I felt personally responsible. After that, I realized that I couldn't do my job if I allowed the agency’s failures and successes to define me. Our job is to forge a path for the agency, not ourselves.

Several years ago, we lost our biggest client. We’d kept them for 18 years, survived five management changes, and stood with them on the NY stock exchange floor when they went public. It was a Cinderella story for everyone involved. Until the client experienced a hostile takeover, and we didn’t survive the aftermath.

At Y&L we had always prided ourselves on running lean and staying whole through tough times, but this loss left us with a bigger hole than we could manage. The problem with having a client that dominated so much of our resources was that we grew according to what they needed. Because there were a few areas that they didn’t require, we ended up falling behind in some key areas, which forced up to catch up quickly. It made me realize how important it is to develop the agency proactively to stay competitive, even if our clients don’t require those skills.

Ideal experience for a customer/client?

It’s simple. When a client let’s us do what we do it inevitably makes for a good experience for them. We’ve been in the business of creating, managing, and building brands for over 30 years. Our senior leadership team has been intact for the majority of that time, so our experience is deep and wide across all disciplines. When a client allows us in at the business level and is honest about their challenges, we will move mountains to make them look good.

How do you motivate others?

By being transparent. Vulnerability is a key attribute for leadership. It allows others to see the human side of you. When you are unafraid to show the struggle, others feel more confident to take risks. Of course, not every risk is a success. But I’ve learned that the worst thing that can come of an audacious ask is the answer “no.” Creating a safe culture for exploration and risk is tantamount for a creative business.

Career advice to those in your industry?

Don’t try to design your career. And don’t set goals that limit exploration. I realize I basically just told you, “It’s the journey, not the destination.” But I stand by it—cliché and all.

Because I believe there’s value in setting your compass by curiosity, not outcomes.