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Q&A with the Javelin co-founder, Joe Dobbin

Javelin has been proudly creating advertising for over 30 years, and it really is no wonder we’ve lasted so long (and keep getting better) when we have had Mr. Joe Dobbin steering the ship for every single one of them. He’s a man of many hats: founder, managing director, art director but perhaps most importantly, he’s chief ‘question-answerer’. If ever there’s something you want to know about advertising, you can bet your bottom dollar Joe’ll not only have the answer, but he’ll happily share it with you. So we thought, let’s not gate keep, here are some of Joe’s FAQs.

  • When did you know you wanted to start your own agency? Paul Myers, Conor Kennedy and myself were working for a wholly owned subsidiary of McConnells called King, Myers, Moy, Dobbin or KMMD as it was also known. And after building an agency for someone else, we decided it was time to give it go for ourselves.
  • How did you choose the name Javelin? I didn’t have anything to do with choosing the name Javelin. I was on holiday with my family on Valentia Island in the days before mobile phones. My daily communication routine was to stand beside the village phone box at an agreed time and wait for Paul Myers to call. That’s when I first heard that the decision had been made: “Javelin”.
  • What made this warehouse (as opposed to other Javelin premises) perfect for the agency? It was the style that attracted us. A rundown old stone warehouse that came with its own unique atmosphere, and feeling of warmth. Everything else we had seen was pristine, new and boring.
  • What does independence mean for Javelin Advertising? Independence means one thing and one thing only: Independent.
  • In one line, what do you think Javelin has that no one else has? Javelin people.
  • Can you describe what makes a successful “Javelino” (a staff member) Initiative, integrity, and above all else soundness.
  • What were the key beliefs behind Javelin when you co-founded the agency and do they ring true today? Javelin was founded by three creatives who believed that – ideas, above all, are the ingredients that prove the value of advertising – . Digital has changed the media landscape, but it still needs ideas to make it function as an opinion altering tool.
  • What do you think is the key to great advertising? Finding the one thing of real value to the intended audience. Waking them up to the value. Then selling it.
  • What has been the biggest seismic shift in the advertising industry throughout your career?Technology. And how it’s supposed to speed things up. Without ever doing so.
  • Who creatively inspires you? The great initiators and thinkers who created modern advertising: Bill Bernbach, David Ogilvy, John Hegarty and the like.  
  • What creatively inspires you? Seeing work that I wish I’d thought of myself.
  • Who helped you get where you are today? The people I’ve had the pleasure of working with over my career.
  • What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? When you think you have an idea, you’re just getting started.
  • You’re hosting a dinner party. It will be you and three guests, who can be alive or dead, real or fictional, but not family or partner. Who will you invite, and what will you serve?
    • The guests would be my friends and my co-founders, who are no longer with us
    • I would serve.. it wouldn’t matter what I served that evening, I’d be there for the company