Rob Erskine is VP, Lead Creative Technologist at Hill Holliday and our latest Champion for Good. He's worked on numerous Ad Council campaigns and us is also a member of our UX Advisory committee. Get to know him below!
Question: How have you worked with the Ad Council? What campaign(s) have you supported and what was the project you worked on with us?
Rob Erskine: I originally got involved with the Ad Council in 2017 when Hill Holliday partnered with the American Lung Association (ALA) for the Saved By The Scan campaign. Our creative technology team worked in tandem with the traditional creative team to come up with ideas to help move the needle and get former smokers screened. From there, we worked closely with the ALA to build a custom experience on their main lung.org properly. We built a custom quiz, relationship management, and custom stories section. The latter was my favorite part of the experience; we have stories of people seeing our campaign, taking the quiz, getting tested, discovering they have cancer, and getting treated. It’s amazing to work on a campaign that has the potential to save lives.
Since then, I’ve been involved on the Ad Council UX Advisory committee. I definitely have more of a technical background than other typical UX professionals, but that helps me have a better understanding of the technical requirements related to the way the web works, especially in the realm of accessibility and how people with disabilities use computers with screen readers or other assistive devices. Through these initiatives, I’ve provided consulting services for page speed and accessibility usability on a few popular Ad Council campaigns like Discover the Forest and Alzheimer’s Awareness.
It's amazing to work on a campaign that has the potential to save lives.
Q: Social good ads pull at our heartstrings. What social good ad has made you cry or stand up and cheer?
RE: This is a pretty boilerplate answer, but I stand by it: Love Has No Labels. I love the simplicity in the revelation of the campaign and how it’s a universal truth that you just can’t ignore or argue with. It’s that simple conveyance of truth that makes that campaign so brilliant.
Q: What age would you want to meet up with your former self, and what advice would you give to that younger you?
RE: I’d love to hang out with 16-year-old me again. When I was 16 I wanted to be a designer/developer/professional skateboarder. The last one there wasn’t afraid of anything (even jumping eight stairs and breaking his arm), and I would love to get some of that back in my professional career. Taking risks and pushing the boundaries is at the crux of creativity. I would probably advise myself against NOT JUMPING the stairs, but knowing myself I would do it anyway.
Taking risks and pushing the boundaries is at the crux of creativity.
Q: What value(s) of your organization are you most proud of?
RE: I’m super proud of Hill Holliday’s diversity & inclusion efforts—the agency does a great job at showcasing ways we can all support D&I. By organizing the diversity & inclusion council and integrating other D&I touch points into the agency, like our community partnerships, mentorship program and other culturally-focused events, Hill Holliday has yielded some pretty amazing results that, if not pushed by the agency, may not have been achieved.
As a cis white dude, I understand my responsibility in taking a step back to listen to the adversity others face and stepping in where I can be of support. Our increase in collaboration has offered so many different points of view, making us empathetic to experiences that are oftentimes very different than mine and my peers. As the manager of hhcc.com, I was grateful to have been a part of our 2016 #BlackLivesMatter website takeover. It helped me, and Hill Holliday, make a statement about something we care about. Within my own team, I’ve focused on gender and racial equality, successfully adding more women to the tech team, and nurturing young, racially-diverse talent who are more likely to have a difficult time getting opportunities in tech.
While there’s still work to be done, I’m proud of the progress we’ve made as an agency so far, and the work we’ll continue to do to become a diverse and inclusive culture.
Q: Tell us what you hope to see more of or experience more of in the next year, using only emojis.