Edward Boches is chief innovation officer at Mullen (www.mullen.com), an independent full-service agency within the Interpublic Group of Companies (IPG). Mullen integrates disciplines from creative to digital marketing, public relations and social influence, media planning and buying, mobile marketing, direct response, and performance analytics. Mullen specializes in what it calls an “unbound” approach to marketing, a term that Boches pays homage to with the name of his blog, Creativity Unbound. Boches has been with Mullen since its early days, working in the creative department, ultimately as chief creative officer. Mullen clearly provided Boches room to soar as it ranks among Advertising Age’s Agency A-List and Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies.
Boches created the role of chief social media officer and later, chief innovation officer, as he sought to inspire change and encourage people in the agency and industry to embrace new technologies, platforms, and consumer behaviors necessary to create cool and relevant ideas for clients. He proudly says, “Somehow I’ve survived for 30 years in a business that typically eats its young.” In this interview, he shares a rare glimpse into the story of Mullen in its early days and a look at where, having learned many lessons from the advertising industry, his life is headed.
The following excerpt is from my interview with Edward for Advertisers at Work. Edward also shared some of our interview on his blog, which you can read by clicking here.
Tracy Tuten: What led you to advertising as a profession? Did you grow up wanting to work in this field?
Edward Boches: I grew up wanting to be in the media in one way or another. Even at an incredibly young age, like seventh grade maybe. I loved the printed page, newspapers, magazines, and everything about it. I was a bit of a news junkie, even back then. I also was interested in film, starting probably about early high school. By high school, I decided, well, I want to be either Walter Cronkite or Orson Welles or somebody who is making something out of the media to perform, persuade, influence, and entertain other people.
I liked the idea of being a creator of popular culture and ideas that mattered. I started college as a journalism major. I went back and forth between film and journalism. I actually thought I wasn’t a good enough writer to be a great journalist, which may have been a premature conclusion, and then I also thought the idea of becoming a famous Hollywood director seemed slightly elusive, and I ended up majoring in a hybrid: public communication.
My first job was as a newspaper reporter for a weekly newspaper. I then went into PR, later became a corporate speechwriter, and then I ended up in advertising. It was sort of circuitous route, but it still seemed to be connected and related to my first love, which was [working] with the printed page and creating ideas and content where nothing existed before.