Paul Woods is CEO/COO of Edenspiekermann, Los Angeles.
How did you get into advertising?
It’s a pretty unglamourous tale, to be honest. When I graduated high school, I had the wild idea that I should study fine art painting at university. And boy, did I suck at that. For some reason, I was obsessed with painting rotting leaves in glass boxes. Weird shit. I failed just about every module in my first year and dropped out soon after. Realizing that I still needed to somehow make a living, I managed to convince a friend that my “failed art” skills would translate perfectly into the vacant “webmaster and designer” role he had at his record label. And the rest, as they say, is history.
The best piece of creative work around at the moment is?
I’m a sucker for any type of work that aims to solve a big societal challenge, and as a result I’m really excited about what’s happening in the mobility space. This is an industry that has needed a rethink for decades, and with the rise of technology, it’s finally happening. Some of the most interesting creative work in the world is being done in that domain: From what’s happening in the electric vehicle space, to offsetting carbon emissions with smarter ways to move people on-masse (e-scooters, etc.), to rethinking the perennially awful flying experience—mobility is where it’s at in terms of solving big problems.
What do you think the piece of advertising work you wish you had thought of is?
The new live subway map for the MTA that Work&Co created. Incredible job of taking something iconic, and using technology to create an entirely new—and enriched—experience for the end-user.
What do you think the next big advertising trend is going to be?
I really think we’re going to see a throwback to simpler times. The world is full of so much crap, noise, and information overload. People are exhausted from doom-scrolling, privacy infringements, and the media in general. I think we are going to see a resurgence of analog experiences (yes, shit printed on paper), and the importance of real human interactions (post-pandemic, of course). Technology is going to still be present, but far less visible and intrusive.
Your dream collaboration is?
A service design project with JFK airport. The logistics of moving that many people on masse on a daily basis is fascinating, and there is so much that can be optimized using user-centric design.
A great piece of advice I received …
Stop procrastinating about what you should be doing. Pick one thing and just do it. That’s how shit gets done.