Kevin Delsanter, Marcus Thomas LLC: "We must reflect our current culture in our work to create a meaningful connection between brands and people."

To create real change, progress must start internally

出自 India Fizer , AdForum

Marcus Thomas LLC
Cleveland, 美国
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Working in advertising is not the typical 9-5 job, so juggling work and personal life can sometimes become a struggle. Kevin Delsanter, Creative Director at Marcus Thomas, weighs in on embracing flexibility and accountability for a healthier work-life balance.


Tell us a bit about your role. How does your experience as a parent inform your work?

I’ve been a creative director for about 6+ years, and being a parent has greatly increased my empathy for all humans. One of my clients is Akron Children’s Hospital, so I’m developing work that needs to resonate with parents. It’s much easier to judge the emotional value of the work after raising my own child.

It also helps with shaping strategy for parents. For example, if you don’t have children, then you might think summertime is this blissful utopia of vacations and free time with your kid when they’re off from school for three months. But, in reality, it’s a highly stressful scheduling mess of finding day camps and babysitters if you and your partner work full time. 

I also have a much greater sense of how fast time goes. You realize that all the cliches are true, but you don’t know that until you live it. So, I use all this experience to my advantage when creating work that shows all the wonderfully crazy, love-filled chaos of family life. 


In what ways does your agency support flexible work arrangements to accommodate the diverse needs of working parents?

Marcus Thomas is more generous with family leave compared to other agencies, so I was grateful for that experience. And since the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve gone hybrid, which has helped me deal with late-morning school drop-offs if there’s the occasional tantrum. 

They trust us to use our best judgment when it comes to getting work done, so I don’t mind answering emails at 8 p.m. after the kid goes to bed if I got to spend a few hours of quality time with the family earlier. Advertising has never been a typical 9-to-5 job anyway – I knew that when I got into it.

Our HR team does a good job of making sure our work-life balance is in check. Things like online meditations and staff-wide subscriptions to the Calm app are available. Even if I don’t use them, it’s nice to know they’re there. We also have a group of working parents that meet on a regular basis as a kind of support group. We’re all friends, so it’s not uncommon for some playdates to happen between us.


Advertising plays a vital role in influencing public perception. How are agencies and brands adapting ad comms to inclusivity around parenting?

We must reflect our current culture in our work to create a meaningful connection between brands and people. If you are only showing a family as a mother, a father, and biological children, then you’re not going to hit the mark. There’s also really no such thing as a “traditional” role anymore. We all change diapers. We all do dishes. We all have to learn how to tie a ponytail (I’m still learning that one). So, embracing the shared responsibilities and the blurred male/female roles in advertising are just a couple ways that brands can connect with today’s modern parents. They’ll say, “Yeah, that’s what it’s like in my house. We all do everything.” I don’t think my dad ever changed a diaper, but I changed all of them and loved it, even if that sounds gross. It’s true – if it’s from your own kid, then it’s not as bad!