A stroke of good fortune recently let me to swing by the Boston offices of Mullen, one of the nation’s most successful and, frankly, interesting advertising agencies. The firm works with great brands like Panera Bread, Ask.com, Stanley, CSX Transportation and the Boston Bruins, among others. It also has developed quite a reputation as a social media savvy ad agency.

To explore why, I took a few moments to talk to Edward Boches, Mullen’s chief creative officer (who also lists “chief social media officer” on his business card – very cool) about his agency’s approach and successes.

SME-TV: An Ad Agency Doing Social Media Right from Jason Falls on Vimeo.

Boches hit on what I believe is the solution to bridging that gap between the traditional advertising creative approach and the world of social media. Including a developer/programmer or technical partner as part of each creative team, you expand the thinking to the digital world. Digital/Interactive professionals don’t often have the creative chops to deliver the online equivalent of what traditional ad creatives can offline. Ad creatives don’t often have the digital experience or acumen to reach the same. Until either discipline develops the other’s capabilities, collaboration is the only way to get there.

Kudos to Boches and Mullen for seeing the world differently and doing something outstanding to deliver solutions for their clients. We could all learn a bit from the approach.

And a special thanks to Stuart Foster, a social strategist for Mullen and a frequent commenter and guest author on SME, for inviting me by for the visit.

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About Jason Falls

Jason Falls

Jason Falls is the founder and chief instigator for Social Media Explorer's blog. He is a leading thinker, speaker and strategist in the world of digital marketing and is co-author of two books, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing and The Rebel's Guide To Email Marketing. By day, he leads digital strategy for CafePress, one of the world's largest online retailers. His opinions are his, not necessarily theirs. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).

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Comments Policy

Comments on Social Media Explorer are open to anyone. However, I will remove any comment that is disrespectful and not in the spirit of intelligent discourse. You are welcome to leave links to content relevant to the conversation, but I reserve the right to remove it if I don't see the relevancy. Be nice, have fun. Fair?

  • jesse

    Jason
    why, exactly are they getting it right?…that agency is rooted in traditional and is only paying lip-service to SM. Boches is as old-school as it comes. Putting something on a business card doesn't make it so.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      You're certainly entitled to your opinion but back up your claims. The
      efforts I saw there had some very nice social ideas and executions and
      Boches is far from old school.

    • http://edwardboches.com edwardboches

      I used to be old school, admittedly. And while you can't ever overcome your past totally, you can certainly embrace the current and the future. I have seen the light my friend. And while I may never be as digitally-centric as the generation that comes after me, I can take the time to learn, experiment, and try to create in all the new spaces. Last time I checked there weren't any admission requirements.

  • http://twitter.com/FFcommunicator The Communicator

    It's refreshing to see an advertising agency begin to understand social media concepts. Unfortunately, I find most are slow to adopt. What are your thoughts?

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Slow to adopt is an understatement. Most aren't even trying it yet.
      Mullen is doing a good job of integrating social thinking into a
      uniform approach. I'm glad I got to see some of their work.

  • http://edwardboches.com edwardboches

    Jason:
    Thanks for the kudos and the video. Damn I look old. Anyway, the one thing that you left out, is that we drive all of our social media/influence through a large social influence (formerly PR) group that does much of the strategy and then incorporates the appropriate resources from digital and creative if and when needed. I am often asked by others in the ad or general communication business who should do social. I have two answers. 1. Everyone as it's only a matter of time before all communication and marketing is social in one way or another. 2. It makes sense to start with a PR group that understands social media. PR inherently gets strategy, engagement, distribution, blogging and blogger relations, experiential and community more than some of the other groups. However, the more digital native someone is, epitomized by the generation just getting out of college, the more all of this is blended together. Great getting together. See you soon.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Thanks for the additional thoughts, Edward. I twas a honor to come by
      and chat.

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  • http://twitter.com/RiverwoodWriter Elizabeth Cottrell

    Fascinating post and interview, and I appreciate Jason's emphasis on bridging the gap between old ways and new ways and looking for both the tools and the willingness to do that. Shining a spotlight on those who are working towards that goal is helping to illuminate the way for us all. Thank you.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Thank you, Elizabeth. Very much appreciate the comment.

  • http://www.LoveTheCool.net LoveTheCool BLOG

    I love that. I was an Interactive Producer at Hill Holliday for a while and certainly did not experience that sort of social media acceptance and effort integrating old and new, like it seems Mullen is doing. Exciting.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Thanks for chiming in!

      • http://www.LoveTheCool.net/ LoveTheCool: A Digital Life

        Sure!

  • facebookmanagement

    Great read and video, its good to see companies doing social media correctly.

  • shea_park

    Great Interview with Edward CCO with Mullen and refreshing to hear more agencies evolving about Mullen. Thank you for sharing and all that you do to Jason Falls.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Thank you, Shea! Glad to have you stop by.

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  • http://www.londoncopywriter.co.uk/ Dean

    Thanks. Just came across your site. I enjoyed your interview and hearing a traditional adman talking enthusiastically about social media.

  • http://www.londoncopywriter.co.uk/ Dean

    Thanks. Just came across your site. I enjoyed your interview and hearing a traditional adman talking enthusiastically about social media.

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