Giant's McCasland on chasing novelty

Joshua McCasland“Don't let the fact that we're heavily regulated stop you from bringing a crazy idea to life," said Giant's Joshua McCasland.

Chasing new experiences, constantly learning and evolving – these are key themes when it comes to the professional and personal life of Giant's new SVP and executive creative director Joshua McCasland. He's a “novelty junkie,” he explained.

In his 20s, McCasland moved to Europe for several years to satisfy his thirst of experiencing novel situations. That interlude continues to shape his professional career in many ways, he said.

“I still want to chase that impossible dream of always coming up with new and exciting experiences,” said McCasland. “And I want to challenge myself and my teams to never get too comfortable. Getting too comfortable can be deadly in this industry. You always have to stay on edge a bit, always be a little bit uncomfortable. That's when the magic happens.”

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Having worked at Giant since 2006, McCasland has witnessed the agency's evolution firsthand, watching it grow from a small West Coast startup of 25 people to a 150-strong team with offices in San Francisco and Philadelphia.

“The entrepreneurial spirit that it had back then still exists and it's what keeps me going,” he said. “I remember working late nights, eating kung pao chicken and drinking cider. It was everyone coming together doing something great and it's those kinds of memories that I look back to and enjoy.”

His San Francisco base, in which innovation continues to thrive, provides additional inspiration. “There are people creating crazy and innovative things all the time,” said McCasland. “It makes you think, ‘Why can't I do a similar thing?'”

Which isn't to say that McCasland doesn't find himself dealing with common industry challenges. His friends in consumer advertising often ask him how he works around the regulations for which pharma is notorious.

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“You have to be more creative and we have come up with pretty inventive solutions,” said McCasland. “Don't let the fact that we're heavily regulated stop you from bringing a crazy idea to life.”

Major industry milestones, including the incorporation of digital mediums and big data, have impacted Giant's work a great deal, helping the agency tell “more sophisticated and specific stories that are really meaningful.”

“Now with almost everything we do, we can track whether it's successful or not,” said McCasland. “It is a very powerful thing. It's allowing us to hit the right message at the right time and the right place.”