Color me impressed – Rick and Morty’s Jerry Smith is ‘Hired’ at a real AD Agency.
DDB FTW has named the character its new creative director—but what does that even mean?
It seems “Rick and Morty” has infiltrated a new dimension: The agency world. Last week DDB FTW, which is a gaming and esports network launched out of DDB last November, announced on LinkedIn that it has hired Jerry Smith, Morty’s father and Rick’s son-in-law from the popular animated series, as its newest creative director. (And no, this isn’t another episode of interdimensional cable.)
“Jerry is a unique talent and when you see what he’s done, you can’t help but react,” Gavin Cheng, CEO of DDB FTW, told Ad Age when asked about the “hiring.” He declined to comment further.
Jerry, who has an adversarial relationship with Rick on the Adult Swim series, is known for being the butt of many jokes on the show and is constantly searching for a job. In the series, he has worked at an ad agency known as Haas & Milan and is the creator of an ad campaign called “Hungry for Apples?”
The DDB FTW post includes an image of Jerry Smith’s LinkedIn profile with a caption that reads: “To produce unexpected work, we need unexpected talent. Let us introduce our new Creative Director Jerry Smith who joined our global team today. Jerry is the creative behind a legendary campaign ‘Hungry For Apples?’ and brings years of interdimensional experience to the table. Welcome on board!”
DDB FTW executives and DDB have also shared the update, prompting industry employees to reshare the news and even show support in the comments. DDB’s post currently has 875 likes and has received comments from leaders across agencies such as BBDO, Mother, The Many, Juniper Park/TBWA, VMLY&R, and companies including Google and PwC.
When asked for comment the account didn’t break character.
“I’m just very excited to be back in the industry after all these years of struggle,” the Jerry Smith account responded to Ad Age. “And I can’t thank everyone enough who helped me land this opportunity. Get ready Appley Awards, Jerry is back!”
So what’s this all about? We set out to do some digging. Here’s what we know so far.
The user has done his or her homework
The identity of the person behind the Jerry Smith LinkedIn account is unknown. The account, which has amassed more than 3,000 followers, was started sometime last year according to its first post on the site which makes a reference to Jerry’s most iconic moment as an adman on the show. During the fourth episode of the show’s inaugural season Jerry, not knowing that he is trapped in a simulation of the Earth, goes to a pitch meeting for the Apple Farmers of America and sells his idea with the slogan “Hungry for Apples?” an obvious rip-off of the famous “Got Milk?” slogan.
Many of the account’s comments and posts reference apples. In fact, the account’s LinkedIn profile has several prior jobs listed that make references to the show such as creative at “Haas & Milan,” head of advertising at the “Headism Church,” creative/UX writer at “LoveFinderrz,” and more.
The LinkedIn profile even includes a link to Jerry’s portfolio website where you can see prior ”projects” he has worked on broken down into a typical brief to execution format. The site also includes reasons Jerry would be a good hire, names previous awards the character has won, his personal accomplishments, and links to the character’s Instagram, LinkedIn, and email.
It’s trolling real agencies
The main driving factor of the Jerry account since its inception has been finding a job. The account has been urging agencies to take a look at its portfolio and even posted images of printed job search ads the user pasted onto bulletin boards, walls and more as it decided to take its job search “to the streets,” according to the post. A number of the account’s posts include hashtags like #ajobforJerry and #fuckyouRick.
Beyond making numerous posts about looking for work, the account has been pretty active on LinkedIn commenting on and liking posts on a regular basis while staying in character. From a post reminding employees in the industry to fill out their timesheets to supporting work from various agencies, the account has shown it has actual industry knowledge.
The account has even made posts parodying award shows such as Cannes, the Clios, The One Show awards, and the D&AD awards.
Brands such as Burger King and Liquid Death have also been subject to Jerry Smith’s parody posts.
Jerry links with other “Rick and Morty” characters
“Rick and Morty” has had an abundance of memorable characters over its five seasons. So it may not be surprising that Jerry isn’t the only Rick and Morty-inspired LinkedIn account out there. So there may be a chance they are owned by the same creator of the Jerry Smith page given that the other characters seem to comment and like Jerry’s posts and updates frequently. Other character accounts include Doofus Rick, who is a clone of the original Rick that gets bullied by the other Rick clones but is the only version of Rick to meaningfully bond with Jerry on the show.
This account has significantly fewer connections (71 at the time of writing) than Jerry and seems to mostly interact with the Jerry account on LinkedIn besides its only sole post, made recently speaking about the COVID-19 vaccination.
“I may be the worst of all Rick, but even the worst Rick is vaccinated,” the account wrote. “What are you waiting for? Are you worse than me?”
The other character account is based on Mr. Marklovitz, who is the CEO of the fake agency where Jerry pitched his aforementioned apple campaign. The character’s only line in the episode was “Yes,” since he was part of the unsophisticated version of the simulation Jerry was in. The character’s “About” section of its LinkedIn profile only reads “Yes!” and the account can be found commenting on several posts on LinkedIn repeating the same phrase.
The Jerry account has left many commenters happily confused including Aleix Arenas del Rio, a digital creative at DDB Spain, according to his profile.
“I don’t understand it, nor do I need to. But in this family we DO love you,” del Rio commented on DDB’s shoutout post for the Jerry account. “And lastly Jerry Smith, someday you could come to CREATORS to give us a hand with the Affinity Petcare brand since you get along with cats. Take care and welcome!!”
While it isn’t clear if the account owner works for “Rick and Morty” or an agency, a stunt like this isn’t out of the show’s realm of marketing. After all, it got our attention.
Given that DDB FTW is a gaming agency this could lead to another gaming campaign. The show, which has built a cult following, is no stranger to the space, having collaborated on an ad for the often sold-out PS5; an ad for PlayStation’s “Death Stranding” video game; and the show even helped create a Rick playable character in the free-to-play online multiplayer game Fortnite. The show also has its own video games “Pocket Mortys” and “Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality.”
How about them apples?