30 Nov Getting To Know Our Creative Directors – Alex Palmer & Dante Lima
1. Who are you and what is your background and experience in the advertising industry?
Dante: I’m Dante Lima and I got my start in advertising as a copywriter at Say It Loud! after making a hard turn from working as a part-time reporter and columnist at the Gainesville Sun. After a few years learning the industry, I left SIL to work at Pearson Online Learning Services as an in-house junior copywriter working on online education campaigns for colleges and universities all over the country. Some were household names. Some I didn’t know existed until I got the creative brief. I also worked in-house for an artificial intelligence start-up for almost two years helping market natural language processing software before coming back to Say It Loud! in late 2017. This is where I’ve been ever since. I was happy to come back home.
Alex: I’m Alex Palmer. Started my advertising journey interning at Laughing Samurai, now Boldist. Starting as a graphic designer at Say It Loud, where every project became a learning curve. Now, as Creative Director, it’s about turning those lessons into awesome creative ventures. Also, I’m part of the Graphics Advisory Board at Valencia’s design program. This dual role allows me to bring a diverse perspective to both the professional and educational realms, enriching my creative vision and contributing to the dynamic advertising landscape. Now I’m looking forward to what this next chapter has in store, for myself and our team!
2. How long have you worked at Say It Loud?
Dante: Between my two stints at SIL I’m coming up on 9 years with the agency.
Alex: It’ll be 9 years in March!
3. What’s your favorite memory from over the years?
Dante: Seeing one of the first print ads I ever wrote in Architectural Digest. And lots of SIL parties!
Alex: Just being present to see how the agency has grown and changed over the years. I think the best is yet to come.
4. Who are some of your creative inspirations/influences in the industry?
Dante: I love some of the work Nigel Roberts has done over the years. David Ogilvy is an obvious but important figure. I try to keep up with all the One Show winners every year. Mark Ronquillo, who used to work in the Orlando area and is now a big-shot New Yorker, was a great example for me of how to carve out a career as a copywriter. I’ve always looked up to him. And of course, my father.
Alex: Artistically – Patrick Nagel – Patrick Nagel has always been one of my favorites. His iconic blend of bold colors, sleek lines, and a touch of minimalism has always resonated with me. Dude is just a badass.
Professionally – Julio ‘El Jefe’ Lima. He was the first person to take a chance on me and he never looked back. There’s a reason I’m still here at Say It Loud!
Personally – My family. They keep me grounded. They inspire me. They push me. They love me. I love them.
5. What’s a quote you try to live by in your life?
Dante: “It’s chaos. Be kind.”
Alex: “If you don’t have anything nice to say…” Just kidding. “I shall either find a way or make one”
6. How do you stay inspired and continue to generate fresh new ideas over time?
Dante: It may sound corny, but I get a lot of indirect inspiration from meme culture. It rarely translates to client work, but there’s so much to be admired by great memes. There’s almost no fat. The writing is succinct, funny, and memorable. The delivery methods span every medium. They’re instantly consumable and shareable. How is that any different from what we all strive for with ads? Some of the best “creative” I see every day comes from jokes on Twitter, clever comments, or a perfectly crafted reel. Social media is a cesspool, but if you’ve culled your feed diligently enough there’s creativity bursting out of it.
Alex: Staying inspired is all about embracing life beyond work. I do things that I love. I cook, I (used to) draw, I go outside, I spend time with my friends and family, I enjoy comedy, I go to concerts.
7. What’s your philosophy on balancing client expectations with pushing creative boundaries?
Dante: This is the eternal struggle for creatives. My philosophy is you can’t push boundaries without trust. You must earn it. Do good work. Listen. Actually listen. Own your mistakes. Don’t pretend to have answers when you don’t. Check your ego. Once your client knows you have their best interest at heart, and that you are an extension of them, they’re more likely to respond to your half-baked ideas or to venture outside of their comfort zone with you.
Alex: I honestly couldn’t have said it better, Dante.
8. What are your long-term goals for the agency?
Dante: I want to continue to expand the skill set and capabilities of our agency. You never know what a client is going to ask for next, and having answers for the ask starts with great talent. We have an amazing group of creatives here now who gel well together and operate without ego, and I’m looking forward to growing our team.
Every agency wants more work, so that’s a given. But I’d also like to carve out time for us to take on more community-oriented projects and pro-bono work. Most of the time the organizations that need effective branding and professional creative work the most are the ones who can’t afford it, so it’d be nice to be able to use the talents of our team to enrich and serve our community. Advertising doesn’t have to be soulless and commodified.
Alex: My long-term vision for the agency revolves around perpetual growth and shared learning. Complacency has no place in our journey. Good people – driven by good intentions and a strong work ethic – form the backbone of any great workplace. We’ll continue to push boundaries, embrace challenges, and craft exceptional work.