'I’m lucky to be doing this': Beyond the Brief featuring Pam Fujimoto, Wongdoody

Pam Fujimoto, Wongdoody ECD

The E in Wongdoody’s ECD Pam Fujimoto’s title doubles for exceptional—one listen to her Exceptional Women Out West podcast interview, and you’ll get it.

Her 16 years of experience in the industry have been bookended (so far) at the Seattle-LA agency, first as an art director right out of the Art Center College of Design, and now in her current role for the past three years. People wonder how she got here, young creatives want her job, but it’s absolutely clear Fujimoto has created some of the best campaigns of the past 15-plus years.

The MAIP 1995 alumna is probably best known for launching Absolut vodka’s award-winning “In An Absolut World”, the triumphant follow-up to a 20-year long campaign. And perhaps you’ve seen some more of her work for Dickies, T-Mobile, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, or her award-winning creative at Cannes, or in Communication Arts and One Show annuals. (Ed. note — LOVE the Sky High Airlines work for Alaska Airlines from back in the day.)

Equally important contributions for Fujimoto include establishing the Wongtern internship program and their Women in Advertising scholarship, both crucial in bringing diverse talent into the industry. It speaks to her importance to Wongdoody’s growth that she was also tasked in refreshing the agency’s visual identity, giving it just a little more electric appeal.

It’s a labor of love that this mother of twins doesn’t take lightly, a career that’s paid dividends and allowed Fujimoto to live beyond the brief.

What skill/personality do you have that draws colleagues to you?

I'm more of an introvert than the average ad person, I think. I'm more interested in growing others one by one than preaching to a group. It makes me different but it also makes me genuinely more interested in you than I am in myself.

Have you ever thought you should quit your job, but didn’t? Why?

People would be surprised to know that I think about quitting my job all the time and I have for my entire career. That's normal, I think...? Even though I try and give perspective to other people I lose my own sometimes. I don't quit because I know I'm lucky to be doing this. And also because I like the people I work with – we have fun, though sometimes what we do isn't always fun on a daily basis. And also, work is hard. That's part of the deal.

If you went back to school to pick up a new skill, what would it be?

If I went back to high school, I would be on the debate team. Because it turned out that making a case for something, being able to argue a POV, is much more useful than calculus on a daily basis in my job.

What non-advertising things do you draw inspiration from?

The non advertising things I draw inspiration from are my kids. They have a compulsion to be creating at all times, and don't second guess their creations, they just truly love the act of creating.

To celebrate its 100th Anniversary, the 4A’s has partnered with us at The Drum to pull back the curtain and look at an industry full of problem solvers, creative types and analytical minds. But what keeps them going once the briefs are written, the campaigns executed, and the pitches won (or lost)? We’re interviewing 100 people at 4A’s member agencies — across all disciplines, levels, regions, and agency types — to get a glimpse into what drives them at work and what fuels them in life.

To pitch someone from a 4A's member agency for Beyond the Brief, please complete this linked form.

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Bennett D. Bennett

I am a NYC-based writer who calls BBDO NY home — putting copy together for major brands (and fiction for myself and others) and pushing for more inclusive, smarter work environments everywhere. I've previously sat on the ADCOLOR Advisory Board, and currently am a member of AAF's Mosaic Next-Generation Leadership Council and the 4As Steering Committee for High School Initiatives.

All by Bennett D.