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Special Project

Special Project
From the 16th Annual Shorty Awards

I Want To Be Major

Finalist in Employee Engagement


Told from the perspective of INNOCEAN USA Chief Creative Officer (CCO) Jason Sperling.

We used a seemingly innocuous article about AI from Ad Age, which sought perspectives from "major" agencies, as a chance to announce my ambitious agenda as the newly installed INNOCEAN USA CCO to both the industry at large and the hundreds of people within my agency. I wanted them to know I wanted to be a major shop, too. And under the guise of anger over the glaring omission where I humorously took umbrage with the article author, I called out other agencies by name and had current CMOs from our client roster sing on our behalf. I aimed to gain visibility and credibility to INNOCEAN.

Strategy and Execution

After reading the Ad Age article, I was inspired to write a song. Knowing that timing was everything, I wrote the song over the course of a few days, as well as recorded melodies into my phone. 

I shared the idea with agency leadership“–you have heard of a letter to the editor. I want to write the first ever song to the editor.” I’m fairly certain that they did not understand it. They may have even questioned my talent, but they humored me.

It was a big risk. I had only been at the agency a few months. I did not want to fail. It could potentially frame myself and the agency in a bad way. Essentially, begging the question of why we aren't regarded as ‘major’ in the article. I also didn’t want to embarrass our current clients. And when I shared the idea with people I trusted, there were opposing reactions. But I had to trust my gut.

We contacted a music house, and they agreed to compose something– gratis. Then, it was time for a music video. Since there was no paid media to get it noticed, we knew we had to make something buzz-worthy. Our internal production team shot the video over the course of a few days. Several employees got involved in the music video. We shot in our offices, on the beach and in a studio we use for car shoots. We contacted an editor who had just finished a project for Travis Scott. Finally, we presented it to agency leadership, and they instantly fell in love.

 As for releasing it, we decided that organically posting it on our channels was a more authentic approach than reaching out to the trades to get coverage. However, we did share it with Ad Age early on, who loved it and asked if they could circulate it internally. Ultimately, they posted about it after they saw the buzz it generated.

In the end, it was a great way to plant the flag at INNOCEAN and let everyone know – the industry and our employees – know that we were going to be MAJOR.


The goal was to get the attention of the marketing industry and have them look at our agency in a completely different way. I also wanted to send a signal to my agency–that it wasn’t going to be business as usual here. 

We succeeded in both regards. INNOCEAN USA employees were well engaged in the making of the video. When asked to participate in an all agency email, our Creative Director, Ryan Simpson, said, “I’m in. I’ll be bringing my Kenergy”. Others joined in the email thread and volunteered to bring a saxophone!

The buzz online came from industry peers, leaders, and coworkers. My LinkedIn post received over 550 reactions, 24 reshares, and 135 comments.

And not long after it launched, we entered a new business pitch. Before our presentation the CMO sent me a note saying, “I’m rooting for you. I really want you to be MAJOR.” That was pretty cool.


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