Jason Sperling Senior VP/Group, RPA

In our most recent Creative Pursuits,we caught up with Jason Sperling, Senior VP/Group Creative Director from Santa Montica-based RPA.

What are you currently working on?

At the present moment we’re putting the finishing touches on our Super Bowl commercial and our CR-V campaign. We’re getting set to launch big initiatives for several cars this year. And then pile on top of that campaigns to support every other car in the lineup, all our regional work and everything we do to support our social channel. It’s a big workload, but it’s a big brand with a lot of creative potential.

Describe what it was like being the CD behind the Mac vs. PC campaign. When you were working on the campaign, did you expect it to take off in the way it did?

Well, creatively, yes. It was very different, albeit true to Apple’s tone and voice. But back then, Macs were still that ‘other computer’, and even though Apple had hit its stride with the iPod and iTunes, there wasn’t the halo effect you see today. So I was surprised that when we went for the PC jugular, it really resonated with PC users and helped the Mac catch on.

Working on Apple has also turned me into somewhat of an impassioned perfectionist. I expect people to care, push and set a high bar for themselves the same way I do.

How would you say your work has evolved over the years?

A few ways. Obviously with the influence of digital and social, and media truly evolving into a creative platform, it’s changed the way I think about things when developing campaigns. Working on Apple has also turned me into somewhat of an impassioned perfectionist. I expect people to care, push and set a high bar for themselves the same way I do. To not be satisfied with first ideas, to protect it from people who don’t understand its potential, and to sweat every last detail on a project until it’s finally out the door.

Formal education vs. work experience: which is more valuable in advertising?

I think a formal education just makes you a smarter, more interesting person. And ultimately that makes your work smarter and more interesting. But I don’t think you need to come from a Portfolio Center, Creative Circus or Academy of Art to know how to create a good idea. Plus with the way the industry is changing the training you get from those schools has an expiration date. Ultimately, smart people will adapt and do well. And that’s something you can’t teach.

Rumor has it you created an iPad app for kids. Could you tell us a little more about that?

It’s something I developed before I left Apple. When I started working on the marketing for iPad, I thought this thing would have a huge impact in schools. I could see textbooks consolidating themselves into this one device and becoming this amazing new interactive experience. And if all your textbooks were on this thing, why couldn’t your notebooks and notes be on it too? So I came up with Totes M’ Notes, which hearkens back to the old Pee Chee two pocket folders we used in grade school. You can write all over them, cover them with stickers, but then inside, you can take notes, share notes, and have really powerful school tools. Plus being in advertising, I thought it could be interesting if you licensed the folders like you would real ones, but embed all that cool iPad technology. Anyways, it’s an experiment, but its been fun to launch something on your own.

Best thing to happen in music/film/books in 2011?

I think this question might be a little expired. Although I’d say the influence of technology on all these things over the year has been pretty invigorating. Digital movies, 3D programs on TV, ebooks….

Worst thing – the breakup of R.E.M.