Digiday’s new “Before They Were Madmen” series will look at those who arrived in the agency world through a circuitous path. Please contact me at the info below if you have an interesting story to share.
As director of content strategy at Huge, Marko Hurst’s days are typically filled with client and staff meetings about developing strategies or executing on deliverables. That’s a far cry from his earlier life, when he was a Marine from 1991 to 1995. Those days meant serious runs at dawn, braving the elements and extreme discipline. Rather than a cool Brooklyn office, Hurst’s workplace used to be Camp Pendleton California Marine Corps Base. Hurst was awarded a Combat Action Ribbon while serving during Operation Restore Hope, Somalia. Hurst says he fell into working in the advertising industry from building websites on the side during college.
Can you describe Marine life for the rest of us digital-media civilians?
Military life, especially as a Marine in an infantry unit, isn’t an easy one. A typical day started out with an early morning 5-8 mile run, often before breakfast, and was combined with some type of calisthenics. On base we humped (hiked) everywhere that we weren’t running to. On our longer humps, say a 30-miler, we’d start out extra early around 0300 (3 am), so you could be finished by lunch. Since it was Camp Pendleton, that meant that a 30-miler was up, over, and down a few mountains while in full BDUs, boots, and full gear: armor vests, packs, weapons, ammo, water, food, NVGs, etc. That’s 60-90 lbs. depending on a few things. But all that being said, I always managed to have a good amount of fun as well. While it was tough, I had a great experience, saw the world, loved what I did, and wouldn’t trade it in for anything.
Do you miss Marine life at all?
Definitely. I miss the simplicity of military life sometimes, but the thing I miss most is the camaraderie. Of course, I also miss the fun things like training, firing weapons, especially rifles, and blowing things up. As an infantryman, there are some things that never leave you.
What do you like about being at Huge?
Having stocked beer fridges and snacks and food always somewhere to be found is a great perk you don’t get most places anymore. But if I had to chose one thing I like most, it’s the flexibility and willingness to let me experiment on almost anything when it comes to managing and building up my department, Content Strategy.
What is the best and worst part of being in advertising?
I’m a quant jock, so for me he best thing is seeing, bringing change, and incorporating how and what we do as an industry through “the data.” The worst thing in the industry is when I occasionally come across someone who will only rely on gut-based decision making and will ignore “the data.”
If you could do anything else besides being at an ad agency, what would you do?
I freelance for the Zambelli firework company as a pyrotechnician, where I’m part of the team that does the firework displays for cities. Not sure it would support my lifestyle, but it would be a lot of fun to do that full time.
Google-Meta duopoly continues to creak in their ‘heightened maturity’ as Amazon, Apple ascend
The shadow both Apple and Amazon have cast over advertising dollars is getting longer by the quarter.
Why advertisers are still making space for experimental budgets even with economic uncertainty
Even in the midst of economic uncertainty, advertisers are bullish on experimental ad spend.
Marketers move beyond the basics of ChatGPT with new tools
Companies are setting their sights past OpenAI's free version and integrating their own data sets for new ads, bots and idea generators.
SponsoredWhy Best Buy Ads sees retail media as integral to its customer-centric purpose
Sponsored by Best Buy Ads Retail media networks have become critical for marketers, with retailers investing in ways that enable advertisers to engage consumers across online and offline channels. Given the wealth of retailers’ first-party customer data and measurement capabilities, retail media networks have become a natural fit for augmenting performance marketing programs. Alongside the […]
How the recession could impact brands’ metaverse spending
Digiday reached out to four experts to figure out how brands’ spending in the metaverse might change as they tighten the purse straps in preparation for a recession. Here are some of the biggest takeaways.
How Amazon is leveraging AWS to accelerate its courtship of Madison Avenue
Amazon's ascendancy on Madison Avenue has been clear for some time. Still, the extent of its ambitions was laid bare when it started to explicitly state its media revenues last year.