Blog: Iain Lanivich

Iain Lanivich is a Digital Creative Director for Campbell-Ewald, directing all phases of creative work from concept development through production. He has also played the Detroit hard rock scene for the last 10+ years as a singer.  Iain believes it's a small world so you better start networking. He'll be writing about finding and keeping talent in Detroit.

Post No. 2

 To Live and Die in the D  - PART 2


I moved quick. I whipped up a resume, got my ONE suit dry-cleaned, and called into work that day. I think I told work that I had court or something – it’s funny how at that job court is actually more respected than any other excuse (cuz most excuses assume hangover). 

Anyway, I went out to Troy. Was pretty nervous, but not scared. I figured worst case, I’m right where I was (trying to figure out a court story), but any other case, and I’m on to a new life. Also, at this point in time, I had taken and loved speech classes, and was rockin’ out playing shows in the area as a lead singer – so talking to a bunch of strangers was of little concern. I walked into this place with my resumes in hand, looking all spiffy, and talked to EVERY SINGLE employer in the place. I didn’t know who 99% of the companies were, or what they did – but I knew that if I could get my foot in the door, than I could figure it out.  

I left feeling really good about myself. And I actually thought I’d get about 3-4 calls back. About three weeks went by, and no call. Finally, I got one call back – the one that would kickstart my career – and that was Compuware. I went to my first interview wearing my suit, and spent about 1 hour 45 mins talking to my recruiter (we talked a lot about Marilyn Manson I remember). She dug the fact that I was in a band. She called me back for a second interview, and I was stuck at work, so I showed up in my oily “shipping and receiving” jeans (I shipped pumps and valves and stuff). She was like OMG!, you’re meeting with one of the managers for this one. I was like "oops, wish you would’ve mentioned that." Anyway, things went fine, and Compuware placed me at Ford Credit in Dearborn. I spent my first 6th months on one assignment doing mainly helpdesk support, before being transferred to another position within Ford where I spent 2 ½ years as a Business Analyst working on Ford’s "very complex" hourly payroll system. It was very challenging to me, and I got to travel to teach plant supervisors that were only a little older than me (I was 21-22 at the time). 


I was starting to get a bit bored of the Compuware position. A lot of it had to do with the drive from Warren to Dearborn (I tend to dose off during rush hour). Plus, I was still playing in the Romeo band, so there was a lot of driving. Again, I didn’t know what I wanted to do – I was looking into IT certification, Project Management and stuff, but wasn’t sure that was what I wanted.  

Finally, in mid-2000, a friend of mine said he got hired at some advertising agency in Warren called Campbell-Ewald. I had grown up in Warren, but never heard of this place. He told me I should interview for a Digital Art Director position. My first response was "What’s an art director?" He’s like, it’s easy, I’ll teach you PhotoShop. Somehow that didn’t make sense to me (especially knowing that I don’t draw), so I declined. 

A month or so went by, and he called me again saying there’s a Digital Producer position available, and it’s similar to being a Project Manager. It spiked my interest a bit, so I decided to look into it. I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into, but I liked the fact of working in Warren, and working on consumer-facing applications, but I still was a bit new to web development, and didn’t know much about marketing and advertising (other than the management and promotions I did for my band). 

I decided to interview for the Campbell-Ewald position, and 7½ years later I’m a Creative Director. I’ve worked on everything from interactive comic books, to video games, to alternate reality games, to music videos, to conspiracy theorys, etc. 

I found my home, and I can honestly say I love my job. There’s always some day-to-day BS that you have to deal with, but you’re going to get that anywhere. However, I find new challenges every day, and get to work with the teams I love to find creative solutions to the business challenge. In April 2006, I achieved my goal of getting back to Universal Studios and got the chance to write a cheesy white-boy rap video and do a bit of directing. I’ll leave you for the day with the video: Rollin in Da Man Van

Oh, and by the way – my friend that got me to interview for Campbell-Ewald, got fired after his first three months for overselling his abilities (gotta give him credit for trying). Sorry dude. 

If you made it this far, thanks for reading. In the next few days, I plan to touch on topics like finding talent in Detroit, the need to network locally, and maybe even talk about the Detroit music scene.