Creative Energy hires big agency strategist who wanted to come home
Published 3:36 pm Thursday, March 17, 2022
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JOHNSON CITY — Creative Energy, an East Tennessee-based marketing and advertising creative firm, has recently brought on Bradley Eshbach as their new Vice President and Managing Director. A native of Johnson City, Bradley has spent over a decade of his career as a creative strategist and culture consultant at some of the fastest-growing agencies in the country including; Havas Chicago, Match Marketing Group, Razorfish, and SOCIALDEVIANT. Bradley’s core passion is helping brands become patrons of the cultures they often appropriate and unlocking the power of a truly engaged community of loyal advocates.
“I’ve always enjoyed the challenge of working with brands with complicated business problems, translating them into a human story that creatives can explore,“ said Bradley. “A strategists’ real job is to set the stage for the magic to happen. To dig under rocks and connect dots and help brands reimagine their future.”
Bradley developed his passion for compelling consumer storytelling at East Tennessee State University (ETSU), located in Johnson City among the ancient rolling mountains of the Appalachians. He’s grown his expertise by helping global brands turn passive audiences into fully engaged fandoms. He’s done everything from helping Coca-Cola build a world-class social agency embedded in their ATL HQ, to helping Amazon fuel the largest hiring spree in human history.
In 2020, Bradley and his wife opted for a porch swing and back yard over a Chicago winter lockdown, moving back to Johnson City. Like many successful creatives, the shifts in how we work allowed him to take stock in his own career and reprioritize the things that were most important to him in order to continue to invest his time, energy, and passion. While leading global pitches with his team at Havas (from his office in Appalachia), he began to notice new insights and behaviors stemming from the simple fact of living in a community that’s reflective of the consumers many brands want to engage. “The work I’ve done in the last year feels much more engaging than anything I’ve done before because I’m not talking to a random target audience — I’m talking to my neighbors!”
“I was constantly getting questions from my peers in Chicago, New York, and other large cities as to why I was moving to a smaller town,” stated Eshbach. “They were less thinking I was crazy and more wondering if I knew something they didn’t. People began to consider this new paradigm where they could have the career they’d always wanted while also having a big impact on a community that mattered to them. I literally had folks ask me ‘how do I find a small town that’s right for me?’”
Tony Treadway, the owner and CEO of Creative Energy, began meeting with Bradley about his agency and the work they were doing to find out if there was a synchronicity in the vision they both shared. Tony explained, “When Bradley and I began to meet I was really excited to hear him explain a lot of the same things that I’ve been saying for years to global clients about our agency based in Johnson City. We’ve always been unapologetic in our belief that great creative work comes from professionals that are living the life they want to live, in a place that matters to them at a core level. Bradley and I share a passion for this region that I think can create amazing creative work for brands of any size.”
Through their conversations, Bradley and Tony began to structure a vision for the future of Creative Energy — and on a larger scale the East Tennessee region as a whole. Bradley was offered the opportunity to come on board as an executive leader to help Creative Energy begin to prepare for the next substantial growth phase for the agency.
“I’ve been aware of Creative Energy as a local agency since my days at ETSU,” said Bradley. “As I met with Tony and began to review the work they’ve been doing for their clients, I was incredibly impressed with the quality of their creative work and the content they were producing as an agency. They were doing things that I know agencies substantially larger have been trying to create for years and haven’t been able to put together. I knew that this agency had the ingredients to become a global player working with some of the biggest brands on the planet, and I also knew that I would love to have the opportunity to be a part of that.”
As VP and Managing Director at Creative Energy, Bradley will begin to organize and develop the team needed at Creative Energy to attract the next level of brands to the agency. His expertise in brand strategy and cultural marketing will help him educate and empower the creative team to take their award-winning skills to a new class of aggressive and intrepid brand leaders.
“I feel like I’ve been developing a set of skills throughout my career for this very purpose,” stated Mr. Eshbach, “I’m obsessed with what makes an agency excel in our new culture and business context. I’m thrilled and humbled to get a chance to set the course of the next era of Creative Energy, proving that a location like Johnson City is not a compromise, but can actually be one of the most powerful assets when helping clients create their best brand work ever.”
Bradley shared his vision for the evolving advertising industry by explaining, “The agencies that win the next decade will be remote and come from places you least expect. The seismic shifts in how we work over the past 24 months have leveled the playing field. Geographic constraints removed, an entire generation of talent is now calling the shots, centering their lives where they want to personally thrive. You’re no longer forced to uproot and move to one of the few homogenized metro’s where the industry lives in order to succeed. And, I don’t think holding companies, Private Equity, or out-of-touch billionaire owners are paying close enough attention. How many times in this industry have you been in a room full of $1,000-hoodie-wearing-creatives as they debate how to sell trash bags to a family of 5 in Salt Lake?” That dog won’t hunt.
From our home in the Mountain South, Creative Energy is building a new kind of agency of diverse and dispersed talent who live, breathe, and create in the communities our clients serve.
“In an industry that can often feel inhuman, where the soul of your agency lives matters,” concluded Bradley.
To learn more about Creative Energy, visit www.cenergy.com.