posted on Friday, October 10, 2014 by njoslin
One of our fall interns, Natalie Joslin, interviewed DVL’s Creative Director, Nelson Eddy, as part of our Meet Our Partner series. Nelson has been with DVL for almost 30 years. Here is his Q&A covering his professional history, the PR industry and his love for travel, writing and his family.
How did you get your start at DVL?
I came in 1985, but most people don’t know that I left for a brief period to be the Vice President of Marketing with a hockey team. I came back after that, and I’ve been here for soon to be 30 years. I was an English teacher before DVL, and I taught high school English and Theater. My wife and I were looking to settle down and start a family. I had a friend here and thought, “I’ll let her read my resume,” thinking she’d tell me where to apply and give me suggestions. She looked at me and said, “Why don’t you just work here?” I have no formal PR or Advertising training.
Aside from DVL, what would your ideal job be?
Well, I’ve already had my dream job before I took this one – that was travel writing. But I’ve had most of my success as a writer here at DVL.
So, what’s your favorite travel destination?
Right now, that would be Lausanne, Switzerland. My daughter and her husband live there.
You’re stranded on a deserted island with three items. What are they? Why?
Well, they’re all bound. The Bible, for obvious reasons; Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman, because you can read it again and again; and a sketch pad to entertain myself. I probably should have said my family, but you did say it was a deserted island.
What would people be surprised to know about you?
Probably a lot. I’m kind of a mystery over here on this side of the building. One of the things that got me my job here was actually a 450-mile canoe trip from Nashville to Memphis. And the thing that propelled my career here is media pitching.
Well that’s interesting. How did you jump from media pitching to creative director?
I worked as an account supervisor for a sporting goods client, and I was picked to work with an out-of-house agency to do TV spots. We merged with that creative shop in the process, and I got brought on to do creative work and have been doing it ever since.
Then describe the perfect new business pitch.
It quickly transforms from a monologue to a dialogue, where the client is contributing to what you’re saying.
What advice would you give someone just starting out in the industry?
I would say a couple things. First, be a sponge. Soak up everything. Second, don’t wait for someone to give you your ideal job. Create it. You can do whatever you want if you can figure out what an idea is and sell it to the client.
What is the most rewarding thing you’ve done outside of DVL?
The most rewarding thing I’ve done is designed, created, and installed a mosaic that decorates the entry to an orphanage in Mexico. My family and I have gone down and helped there for years.
What do you consider your greatest achievement in your career?
All my greatest achievements are being a part of a team that did something. One was to help DVL emerge as a creative force in Nashville. Another is being part of a team that protects and nurtures the Jack Daniel’s brand. Finally, being part of the team that helped inspire and spark the revitalization for the Ryman at its centennial mark. I wasn’t the lead in any of these teams, but a part.
Who has had the most influence on you in your life and why?
God. Because as a writer, it’s nice to know the end of your story. It helps make sense of the middle parts. I think that’s why clients value writers because we help them make sense of things.
What is the PR industry going to be like 10 years down the road?
The mediums will continue to change, and really what we do is deliver content – not just words and images, but it could be a real life experience, an event, something interactive. Understanding what connects a brand to a consumer, what bonds them, will continue to be of value. And that’s the value we have.