Always Keep Working: DeVito/Verdi Featured in Graphis Journal #376

Recognized as one of the most exceptional creative agencies in the industry, DeVito/Verdi has been voted “Best Agency” six times by the 4As. The New York–based, independent agency has created numerous award-winning ad campaigns over the past 35 years, and today has expanded its expertise in the digital arena. DeVito/Verdi offers highly innovative client services, including attribution modeling and product development. Their lengthy list of marketing and creative awards includes top honors at the major competitions.

Here’s a part of their Q&A:

What inspired or motivated you to have a career in advertising?

Eric Schutte (E.S.), Executive Creative Director: My family. They recognized that I had a lot of talent as an artist, even as a young child, and they pushed me to stick with it and helped guide me through going to art school. Thank you Mom, Aunt Charlene, and Uncle Alan.
Rob Slosberg (R.S.), Creative Director: I wanted to be a news reporter. My dad said, “Well, you’re pretty funny, and you can write—why not try advertising?” He directed me to some award show books, and I was mesmerized by the greats at that time, such as Fallon, Ammirati, and Cliff Freeman. I said, “I wanna do that!”

What is your work philosophy?

E.S.: I have a few: Don’t ask anyone to do anything you wouldn’t do yourself. Any problem can be solved if another thought is put into it. Never make assumptions. You can’t reason with crazy. Crazy knits a sweater for a hamster. You can’t try to explain things to a crazy person using reason or sound logic. (Sorry, it’s a saying. I didn’t make it up. I know “crazy” has become an unpolitically correct word.) Never underestimate stupid. Just when you think someone wouldn’t ever do X, you’ll find out they did X.
John DeVito (J.D.), Creative Director & Copywriter: Always think smart, even when the client doesn’t. And when it comes to writing ads, it’s not what you say but how you say it.
R.S.: Keep working until you have something great. When you think you have something great, it might not be as wonderful as you think. So, keep working. And the cycle continues until you run out of time.

What is it about advertising that you’re passionate about?

E.S.: I’m the most passionate about public service announcements that I believe in. Convincing the public to get vaccinated. Convincing others that we need stronger gun laws. Convincing people to help the homeless. Anything I can do to make my advertising have a positive impact on the world is
what I’m passionate about.
J.D.: Doing great advertising that gets attention, from the conception to the copywriting to the winning awards. Whether it’s a funny TV script, an emotional radio commercial, smart social posts, or writing a headline so powerful that the people reading it feel it in their gut; doing that kind of advertising is
what it’s all about for me.
R.S.: I’m not saying we’re a bunch of Picassos over here, but creating something from a blank piece of paper and seeing it come to life out there where many others are viewing it can be incredibly rewarding. I love making something out of nothing.

What is your most memorable project?

E.S.: A public service announcement that I’d worked on years ago to convince the world that we need stricter gun laws.
J.D.: It was a campaign for Meijer Superstore and my first commercial shoot. Everyone remembers their first, but I really remember it because one of the TV spots won “Best of Show” at the New York ADDY Awards and a Bronze Cannes Lion. What makes it even more memorable is the fact my father, Sal DeVito, had said he would never hire me full-time. That was always my goal: to prove to him that I belonged at DV. At the time, I was just freelancing for him, so winning those awards got me a full-time gig. Been here ever since.
R.S.: I’m a musician in my secret life on the weekends. When a project for Legal Sea Foods came up, I had this idea of using footage of fish moving their mouths. They would sing about the product, and how they were sad to not be the chosen fish for Legal. I wrote original songs, played all the instruments, and sang all the different fish voices. It was a blast producing them, and the client loved the commercials. It started as one test commercial, and we ended up doing 10 of them over the years.

What professional goals do you still have for yourself?

E.S.: To continue making advertising better and more accountable for the world we live in today. To make advertising and marketing reflect a better level of diversity and equality. To use the power of marketing and advertising to help the world, not just to help a few select businesses make money.
J.D.: To win more One Show Pencils and Cannes Lions.

To read the full Q&A and more, you can preorder Graphis Journal issue #377 at

Author: Graphis