VP Creative Director | RPA

J started his production career at MTV NY and came to RPA advertising in 1996. As a writer, he developed a variety of 360 campaigns for Honda, Honda Motorcycles, VH-1, Discovery Channel, SYFY Network, SharkWeek, Tempur-Sealy and California Anti-tobacco. In 2007, J brought the experience from his production, digital and traditional advertising background to build and run social media creative for RPA, overseeing the Honda and RPA work.
J's campaigns have been recognized by Cannes, Shorty, CLIO, One Show, IAAA, Belding, ThinkLA, Addy, J.D. Power, Yahoo! Big Idea Chair, Yahoo! Searchlight, MIXX, OMMA, WOMMA, Drum and One Show.He is a Webby Judge, editorial contributor to FastCoCreate, Adweek, iMediaConnection, Campaign Live, Digiday and more. He can be followed at https://medium.com/@jbarbush.


1.)     What was your very first job? 

MTV NY, working on the second scripted show and music news. I thought I would be in production, but migrated into advertising.

2.)     Please describe, in your own words, what your job is and what work it entails.

 I oversee the social creative for Honda. Most of the job is working with creatives, evaluating opportunities and participating in platforms to know when and where our work fits in best.

3.)     How did you discover that the creative world was right for you? Was there a time in your life that you credit to this discovery? What was there train of events that brought you to where you are today?

 My older brother was good at everything. Still is. Retired from Merrill Lynch at 40 with a potload of money, star athlete, acting in plays, etc. But the one thing he had trouble with was an english class. The high school teacher was incredibly hard. That became my mission, and in the process of beating my brother, I uncovered my love for the written word. From there, I began writing all sorts of things. I still write as much as I can, always challenging myself with new characters, and presenting ideas that can help make the world/work and life better.


4.)     In your constantly growing and expanding industry, how do you find inspiration to keep your work fresh, innovative and relevant?

 I have been at rpa 22 years. I always said I would be here as long as I felt creatively challenged. Mainly that is through the work, but also through my own personal writing, weird ideas and general ways to be efficient with the changing agency landscape. That’s why social is so powerful. The continual shifts may make others crazy, but I see it as a new opportunity. Every day, for the past 22 years, I have looked for ways to take on any challenge. And lucky for me, it all happened under the same roof.


5.)     If you had to pick one piece of work or project that you are most proud of, more for the creative work and innovation it required, rather than its recognition or industry “success,” what would it be? 

My first social project was Element and Friends for Honda. It was a crab that said “I Pinch.” Back in 2006 Myspace was blowing up and brands were trafficking it like ads. I had a friend there and got the login, and made the crab’s page look like a normal user page. We quickly amassed 100k followers, created animated pictures, a petition site, swag from CafePress, an  arrest, a song, a game, an advertorial on Smoking Gun, and a failed Super Bowl spot. I wrote 80 blogs, created 4 videos and answered a ton of comments. It was crazy and rewarding. It’s where I first learned the power of social and storytelling. 


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