John Davidson goes ‘beast’ mode, joining The Marketing Arm

As satisfying as helping build a company almost from the ground up was, John Davidson (’11, Business Administration) was ready for a different opportunity on a global stage. And he wants to see that his fellow Sacramento State graduates have similar chances to shine when they enter the working world.

After five years, Davidson has moved on from Already Been Chewed (ABC; the name is a play on the skateboarding term “already been done”), the motion graphics studio he helped launch and manage. He has joined The Marketing Arm (TMA), a Dallas-based company responsible for well-known campaigns such as PepsiCo’s “Uncle Drew” ads featuring NBA star Kyrie Irving.

John Davidson graduated from Sac State in 2011 with a degree in Business Administration. (Photo courtesy of John Davidson)

As Davidson puts it, he has migrated from “the boutique to the beast.” He’ll venture from the belly of that beast March 7-9 to visit the Sac State campus as a mentor and company exhibitor at the Business Pathway to Success Luncheon, and as a guest speaker in the Business Honors Practicum class and guest marketing classes. He also hopes to find candidates for TMA’s apprenticeship program, Gateway to Greatness, a five-month, full-time educational program that provides a few exceptional candidates the chance to work with the industry’s leading consumer engagement agency. Participants must be seniors in their final semester, recent college graduates, or young professionals.

While his experience at Sac State was invaluable, Davidson says the one thing he wishes he could have done was the sort of apprenticeship offered by TMA. “It’s such a great opportunity for Sac State students because it gives them firsthand experience in the real world with leading brands and gives them a steppingstone into the industry,” he says.

An apprenticeship would mean less reliance on the intuition, moxie and luck that Davidson and ABC founder Barton Damer needed to fuel a big breakthrough. Davidson, however, never saw himself in design for the long haul. “My passion is more for marketing than design,” he says. “I felt I had a scratch I needed to itch. … For a couple years in the back of my mind I knew I wanted to do something more marketing-specific.”

Davidson found a fit in the people-centered culture of TMA, founded in 1993 by Ray Clark. Employee input is valued on all levels. For example, the company conducts a “Creative Soup” session each Friday where anyone from any division can brainstorm campaigns.

Now he’s ready to pay it forward. “My main goal is to help out Sac State students any way I can,” Davidson says. “I think an apprenticeship program resonates most because their biggest question is, ‘How am I gonna get a job?’ ”

And while Davidson has left the world of design for his true professional love of marketing, he left room in his heart for at least one other passion: He still skateboards regularly. And, in fact, he looks forward to skating the parks at Power Inn and Mather Field when he comes to town.

“I miss those places.”


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