Brad and Jason Getty. The quintessential advertising duo—Art Director and Copywriter—with a stunning roster of shared work.
...And they're brothers!!!
We in the industry are well acquainted with the highs and lows of collaboration. But partnering with a sibling? And surviving? Now that’s a story we wanted to get to the bottom of. So here you have it: sage advice and some endearing storytelling from Sid Lee’s favourite brothers.
Tell us a bit about how you both ended up as creatives in the industry.
Jason: I’ve always loved sketching and drawing.
Brad: He was drawing—legitimately—at like three years old.
Jason: Yeah, then that slowly grew into an interest in graphic design and design as a whole. Brad actually came to speak at my high school with some people from his college; they saw my work and said that I had to go into advertising. So that pushed me to try Art Direction, which I connected with right away. But the love for art in general is where it all started.
Brad: Growing up, I really excelled at math and was planning to be an engineer. Then I had an accident in high school where I got so severely concussed that I forgot how to TALK. For six months I was really fucked up, and eventually just had to relearn everything. In that process I completely lost my ability to do math. It was to the point where I thought I’d just work on cars or something because my brain was completely mush. But when I was introduced to advertising, suddenly there was this whole creative part of my brain that caught fire; the direction of my life completely changed.
What’s it like doing campaigns together? Any lingering resentments from childhood?
Jason: Well, when I was five he did throw me into a cactus.
Brad: I would say that I deflected him with some judo into a cactus.
Jason: Our working relationship is good because we understand the lines between professional stuff and family stuff. We were conscious of establishing ourselves separately before we ever worked together. The other thing is that it’s an industry where you need to be able to take criticism, and Brad prepared me for that by criticizing my entire life.
Brad: This is true. I’ve always criticized him—in a productive way! We’re able to delineate because being brothers allows us to give feedback in the most straightforward way possible. If he thinks my idea is terrible or dumb he’s probably right, and being able to say that without fluff it really speeds up the process.
Did you have any shared projects together growing up?
Brad: No, just forced manual labor from our parents.
What’s your favourite memory from Sid Lee?
Jason: I can’t say it on the record. But it’s a time where I was right and Brad was wrong.
You collaborate from different cities. What advice do you have for keeping the quality of work high when remote?
Brad: I think the most important components to any campaign, whether you’re on Zoom or in person, are honesty and authenticity. And a connection to—or at least a deep understanding of—the product.
Jason: Also, a solid understanding of the goal. The best work comes from teams who have a collective vision, strong trust between not only the client, but each other, too, and that includes respect for people’s personal lives. If you have these elements it doesn’t matter where you are.
How would you describe your work styles?
Brad: So we have a very similar style, which is that we’re both control freaks. This works to both our advantage and disadvantage because we will both try to control the other person. Like, if Jason’s building a client deck or something I want to be involved and vice versa. We’re very much in the weeds.
Jason: It’s worth pointing out that we’re obsessive and detail-oriented because we care about doing the best work. Caring is at the core of everything we’re trying to do, which drives the level of respect we have for each other.
Brad: Again, we know it’s not personal. It’s about making the work better. I don’t mind eating shit; if I’m wrong, I’m wrong, I’ll be like okay your stuff’s better. Let’s go.
There’s a brief intermission here where I can only hear “Wendy’s! Wendy’s! Pull over!” for 30 seconds.
Jason: Don’t put that in the interview.
I won’t. Any advice for conflict resolution?
Brad: People tend to take work really personally. You have to avoid that; it’s better to completely remove your ego from the situation.
You’re both diligent about separating your work from your personal life. That said, would you say that working together has brought you closer?
Brad: I mean, of course, we talk like two or three times a day for an hour. It certainly hasn’t driven us apart or made us hate each other. It’s simple as the little things, like that when Jason’s in town for work he’s able to see our family. There’s just a lot more time together.
Jason: And I think before it was like, oh we chat once a week every two weeks, or whatever. In between the odd coffee you just see each other on holidays.
Brad: And now we’re just sort of…always together. 🙂