Jess Coulter

Dunkin’s “Drag”

Jess Coulter

O Positive

1) What was your first professionally directed work and when was it?

The first spot I directed was for a little-known brand called Federal Express or “FedEx” as the kids call it. At the end of the shoot the entire crew stood up and cheered for my first spot. It was a moment I won’t forget.

2) How did you get into directing?

After many years as an advertising creative, it was my great luck to be working at BBDO NY on famously funny comedic brands for people who completely championed my dream to direct (people like David Lubars! Greg Hahn! Peter Kain! Gianfranco Arena! Eli Terry! To name a few!) The moment I expressed my desire they helped create opportunities where I could write to direct.

3) What is your most recent project?

Most recently I shot a second round of Dunkin’ spots with my very funny friends from BBDO NY. One of which is a spot that will highlight Dunkin’s new signature Pumpkin Spice latte come fall which will probably actually be come August because smart brands get a jump on that Pumpkin Spice season early.

4) What is the best part of being a director?

I’m in it for getting the perfect performance out of an actor.

5) What is the worst part of being a director?

I’m too new and enamored to complain, call me in 5 years.

6) What is your current career focus: commercials and branded content, TV movies? Do you plan to specialize in a particular genre–comedy, drama, visual effects, etc.?

Commercials. Mostly the funny kind.

7) Have you a mentor and if so, who is that person (or persons) and what has been the lesson learned from that mentoring which resonates with you?

I’m pretty sure Jim Jenkins called me within five minutes of hearing that I was thinking about maybe contemplating the idea of directing. He has always been supportive and instantly available to me for advice. And since joining O Positive, both Jim and David have been a place I can go to bounce ideas or ask questions. Because when you have those guys at your disposal, you’d be a dumb-dumb not to use them.

8) Who is your favorite director and why?

I’m grateful to say I’ve worked with too many talented and collaborative directors to choose a favorite. Many of them happen to be at O Positive which makes my goal of being the kind of director I’d want to work with much easier.

9) What is your favorite movie? Your favorite television/online program? Your favorite commercial or branded content?

It’s been a good year for women-driven shows. I blew through entire seasons of Shrill, Russian Doll, Killing Eve and Fleabag in a matter of nights.

10) Tell us about your background (i.e., where did you grow up? Past jobs?)

I grew up in Portland, Oregon and went to University of Oregon where I double majored in Creative Advertising and Video Production and started the University’s television show. It was at U of O where I also I met my husband 18 years ago in Copywriting 101 and we’ve been makin’ ads and ad babies ever since. After college I worked as a copywriter at a handful of agencies in the Pacific Northwest before moving out to NY to work as a writer under the great comedic eye of Gerry Graf. Eventually I found my forever-ish ad home at BBDO NY where I worked on brands like Foot Locker, HBO, FedEx, Twix, AT&T and more until I made the switch to directing.


Contact Ralph Laucella , Executive Producer, O-positive, regarding Jess Coulter, via email  
O Positive