Unexpected Intros: Kay Cochran

Kay Cochran, group creative director, was recently featured in Little Black Book.

At DDB, we have a simple belief. That Unexpected Works. It means that the best idea is the one you never saw coming. The thing that catches you so off guard that you can‘t look away. And the only path to genuinely unexpected works is through creativity. 

And in order to create awesome works, you need awesome people. Because you can’t make the unexpected if you only work with the usual suspects. In this Unexpected Intros series, we take a peek behind the curtain at some of the diverse thinkers that make up our network, and validate Bill Bernbach’s notion that an idea can turn to dust or magic, depending on the talent that rubs against it. 

1. Name, Title, Office

Kay Cochran, group creative director at Rodgers Townsend

2. Introduce yourself in three emojis. 

👩‍👧‍👦 Mirror Ball on Apple iOS 15.4 👢

3. What was your very first job?

My first job was making soft serve cones at my neighborhood frozen custard station. I like to think that I could still execute a decent one today if I tried. Seven symmetrical rings with a perfect curlicue on top was my record.

4. How did you wind up in advertising? 

My degree was in Art History but deep down, advertising was something I always thought I could do and would enjoy. I talked my way into an internship in college (meaning, I offered to work a few days a week for free) and then post-college, I put together a portfolio of spec work by myself and shopped it around. I first took an admin job at an agency in exchange for writing assignments until I could prove myself. After three years at that agency, I moved to a new start up called Rodgers Townsend, founded by Tim Rodgers and Tom Townsend who were D’Arcy alums just striking out on their own. 25 years later, I’m still here! It’s been fun helping to build the company and watching it grow.

5. Piece of creative that inspires you?

It’s funny — my all-time, hands-down favorite spot is the one called ‘Bear’ for Canal + that has been mentioned already in a previous ‘Unexpected Intro’ (Jo Cresswell at DDB San Francisco). I, too, have delighted in the “I don’t give a shiiiiiiit!” moment, and shared it with my son, who was eight years old at the time. He still likes to re-enact it to this day (now 19 years old). Another big one is the Samsung Ostrich spot which made me cry four times. Other favourites are Cravendale ‘Cats with Thumbs,’ the Snickers campaign, and the amazing long form Paralympics work for Channel 4, starting with the ‘Superhumans’ and forward from there. Also, terribly inspiring to me was the Etsy holiday campaign from a couple years ago called ‘Gift Like You Mean It’ that keyed in on inclusiveness. So well done.

6. What are you currently reading, watching, and listening to? 

I am all over the place when it comes to reading, watching, and listening. One of my fave authors is Kazuo Ishiguro. I’m bringing two Agatha Christie novels with me on vacation. I’m a big vinyl collector and always out there looking. I try to only buy from local shops and not online. My last amazing purchase was the ‘Suddenly’ album by Billy Ocean for $2.99! As far as TV, I was shaken to the core by The Handmaid’s Tale and have been watching lighter, positive shows ever since, including ‘All Creatures Great and Small.’

7. What’s a goal/hope/dream of yours?

A goal, hope or dream…good question, because as a single mama I’ve poured my whole heart and energy into my beautiful kids and career for the last 19 years. With one kid in college now and the other halfway through high school, I am currently trying to figure out who I want to be next.