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Business of Hype: John C Jay

Business of HYPE is a weekly series brought to you by HYPEBEAST Radio and hosted by jeffstaple. It’s a show about creatives, brand-builders and entrepreneurs and the realities behind the dreams they’ve built. On the season 5 premiere, we sit down for part one of this two-part series with creative mastermind John C Jay.

For the past few decades, John has been changing our perception of today’s most recognizable brands, having worked at Bloomingdale’s, Wieden+Kennedy and most recently holding the title of President of Global Creative at Fast Retailing — subsidiaries including Uniqlo, Helmut Lang, etc.

Born to Chinese immigrants, John details having to overcome the innate underdog mentality to take risks in his career. He originally began as a social commentary editor then transitioned to a creative director of editorial work covering business, science and law. Through a fateful connection of marketing executive Marvin Traub’s son, he landed a coveted job as creative director at Bloomingdales, with only prior knowledge of working in the editorial space. 

“My portfolio has absolutely no relevance to what Bloomingdale’s business is. I come from business, science, law and medicine. The thing about that experience is that it made me think conceptually.”

Under the guidance of Traub and a vast network of creatives, John was exposed to the creative mecca of Japan and artists such as Andy Warhol. After turning down an offer from Ralph Lauren, John yet again switched gears moving to Portland to work as the Executive Creative Director at Wieden+Kennedy — having never worked at an agency nor visited the office.

Days within his new job, John was given the task to rebrand Nike and his first project would later become one of their most recognizable ads — Nike’s City Attack of 1994. It was there where he dedicated 21 years and would become the lead on opening Wieden+Kennedy Tokyo and Wieden+Kennedy Shanghai. 

Listen in to hear John C Jay’s illustrious career. Stay tuned, as he discusses going from Wieden+Kennedy to President of Global Creative of Fast Retailing in part two next week.

This episode features references to the following:

3:10 – John’s schedule
4:34 – Wieden+Kennedy
4:40 – Dan Wieden
4:51 – Wieden+Kennedy Tokyo
5:00 – Fast Retailing
5:20 – Bloomingdale’s
6:00 – New York Times
6:50 – Andy Warhol
8:30 – Marvin Traub
10:11 – MBA Communcations
11:22 – Rupert Murdoch
11:25 – NY Post
12:04 – NY Mag
12:17 – James Brady
13:09 – Walter Bernard
14:17 – James Traub
16:04- Pitching for Bloomingdale’s
22:04 – Ohio State University
22:53 – Early life
33:13- Transition to Wieden+Kennedy
35:06 – Jay Chiat – Chiat Day
35:36 – Adweek
37:35 – Tom McElligott
41:43 – Studio J
45:00 – Ralph Lauren
48:20 – Phil Knight – Nike
50:13 – Nike “City Attack” 1994 campaign
51:59 – Bobbito Garcia
53:55 – Nike NYC swoosh logo
1:04:40 – Air Darwin
1:06:53 – Deadstock
1:08:13 – Sandy Bodecker
1:09:52 – Wieden+Kennedy Shanghai opening
1:17:54 – Mark Parker
1:19:57 – Kanye West’s Yeezy