Julie Scelzo, executive creative director for Pandora, is returning to the agency world to lead McGarryBowen’s American Express business as global executive creative director.
In the new role, Scelzo will manage creative worldwide for the account, which McGarryBowen won last year. Scelzo, who is reporting to McGarryBowen U.S. CCO Ned Crowley, will relocate next month from San Francisco to New York.
During her time at Pandora, Scelzo led the in-house agency, which is in charge of all advertising, marketing, design and content for the brand. Before that, she was a creative strategist for Facebook and Instagram, where she worked with agencies and brands to bring creative to life across social media.
Scelzo, who started her career at Leo Burnett and then went on to Element 79 and FCB West, decided to go back to the agency world for a number of reasons.
“The thing people don’t realize is that at a tech company, they don’t create ads – creativity isn’t what they make. At agencies, creativity reigns king and when you’re passionate about something, you want the company to be passionate about it too,” she said.
She has also had the benefit of seeing how the likes of Facebook and Pandora attract creative talent. It’s “not just about the perks and snacks and free lunch,” she said.
“They realize that work and life is blurred and they give people the respect and accountability of getting work done without being at your desk at midnight. It’s about making people feel their whole life is valued. That freedom and respect is something the agency world needs to embrace,” said Scelzo.
One of Scelzo’s first objectives at McGarryBowen is to explore opportunities for American Express around the globe. Since winning the business last year, the Dentsu Aegis Network agency has launched “Powerful Backing,” which was American Express’ first global platform in its 168-year history, as well as the ad campaigns “Don’t Live Life Without It” and “Don’t Do Business Without It.”
Scelzo said she was attracted to the role because American Express is a global brand based on humanity, and it plays a major role in the lives of its customers and businesses. She also admired the fact that McGarryBowen Founder and Chairman Gordon Bowen still comes into the office every day and is part of the work.
In addition to being eager to work on American Express, Scelzo said she’s excited to be part of the push in the industry around diversity and inclusion.
“There’s a huge shift happening for the better and I want to be part of that change,” she said. “There are not that many women ECDs or creative leaders, so I’m honored to be part of that.”