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Copy that.

Ken Moskowitz, aka Spanky, is the founder and CCO of Ad Zombies, while also being the founder and business coach of the podcast EntreGrow. Spanky started his creative career in New York City and quickly rose to the top of the broadcast creative industry. He’s led rebranding efforts over the last three decades for many major and smaller brands such as the Indy 500, FritoLay, Samuel Adams, Coca-Cola, and M&M’s (Mars).

"We have tested AI vs. human and as of now, AI has not won."

Ken MoskowitzFounder and CCO, Ad Zombies


[00:00:00] Katie: Welcome to Building While Flying, a Sasha Group podcast where we interview business leaders about how they tackle challenges, stay resilient and navigate ever-changing skies. 

[00:00:12] Joe: Welcome to the Building While Flying Podcast. My guest today is Ken Moskowitz, aka Spanky, Chief Visionary at Ad Zombies and founder and business coach at EntreGrow Spanky started his creative career in New York City and quickly rose to the top of the broadcast creative industry.

He’s led rebranding efforts for many major and smaller brands over the last three decades, like the Indy 500 FritoLay, Samuel Adams, Coca-Cola, and Eminem, Mars. And as a father of five, he’s learned how to multitask. And with that, hello Spanky. How are you? I’m good, 

[00:00:45] Ken: but I’m not multitasking today. 

[00:00:48] Joe: How have we not talked about the five kids?

I feel like that’s something that over the past year of our friendship burgeoning, we should have talked about by now. I don’t 

[00:00:56] Ken: know. A lot of people just find out one day that I have five kids and I say, we, we actually never set out to have five. We had two and then decided to become foster parents and we fostered 19 and adopted three of them, so hence the five.

[00:01:12] Joe: Wow, man. You’ve got a servant heart. Do you ? We’re kind going through that right now. I’ve got a seven, a six year old and a two-year-old, and we definitely want more. So we’re probably gonna be in that Ken Spanky zone in a little bit here. . I can,

I’m sure you could welcome to the show. So on this podcast in general, we like to talk to founder. Such as yourself and as the name would indicate, Building While, Flying. Just get into the weeds a little bit on your journey and how chaotic and hectic it may have been along the way. So why don’t you give the audience, I know I gave them a quick bio, but why don’t you give them a little bit of 30,000 foot view of what’s brought you to this point where you are the founder of a creative agency out west that specializes in copywriting.

Why don’t you give us a little bit of a flavor for how you. 

[00:02:00] Ken: Sure. How I got here was really simple. I was a broadcast creative director for decades, and I got sick of working for people and decided to march out on my own. And at the time, I really didn’t know what I was gonna do. And so Ad Zombies was my second business, and it started truly by accident.

I was in a Facebook group. In March of 2017 and somebody had written an ad for a plastic surgeon and the ad just didn’t work. And so he got in the group and said, Hey I don’t know what I’m doing. This ad sucks and I need help. And instead of helping him, everybody jumped on him and confirmed how crappy the ad was.

And I thought he didn’t ask you to confirm his crappy ad he needed. 


[00:02:45] Ken: And so I did what I do naturally. I went into the comment section of the post and I said to him, here’s why I don’t think the ad’s working. I rewrote the ad, and which led to a bunch of people going, wow, how did you learn to write like that?

And of course, For me, it’s just very natural. It’s in my DNA to write. I’ve been writing ads since I was like a kid, and so it was just, it was effortless for me. And that’s how the business started that weekend. I had said, if anybody needs help with your copy, with their copy, just email me, DM me, whatever.

And I had like over a hundred requests that weekend, and I knew that there was something there. And so I started this business by accident, and March 6th, 2017 is when it started. And I’m literally building this thing while Flying, even today, in 2023 because a wing tip falls off part of the landing year.

Collapses. Like things go wrong on a daily basis, but you gotta recover and fix them as you’re. 


[00:03:49] Joe: Now, I know that your business today involves working with people that are kind stratified across the country, if not stratified across the world. Uh, Had it been like that since day one, or has Covid pushed you in that direction?

What kind of gave you the sense that working in a confederated manner would be the best way to go here?

[00:04:06] Ken: I think Covid certainly helped push us over the edge in terms of our internal team. Our team is really diverse now and everywhere, but as far as our client base goes, we really grew and expanded from day one into almost every continent except Antarctica.

We don’t have any clients there. I don’t think we ever will, unless research scientists need us for something. I, I think over the last several years, We just realized that we’re . Really good at this one thing and we don’t try to do anything different. We’re not trying to manage campaigns to run ads for clients.

We simply write. What they at. And so we write their ads, their emails, their web copy, and we deliver it to them for implementation, whoever’s implementing it, but that’s on them. But because today’s world is it’s so easy to connect, to take a company from US based to global is pretty easy. It’s just a matter of communicating with the right tone and the right messaging in each of those countries.

[00:05:06] Joe: when you talk about services, I know we’ve honed in on writing. Is that your line in the sand? Is that what you guys do and you do nothing else or have you expanded out your service offering to include other stuff as well? 

[00:05:16] Ken: So we do write the ads. We write a lot of copy. That’s our bread and butter.

We added doing semi custom videos and semi custom images, but we’re using. Partners like promo for our stock video footage and we’re using iStock and then we’re using great tools like Canva where my team that has the graphic design sense goes in and creates these semi custom graphics because we’re not graphic designers by trade.

We’re not, but I’ve got people on my team who have those capabilities. And so we use tools that are really easy for any business owner to. But we do ’em with a little bit of style and flare. Plus we’re doing the creative copy side of it. So a lot of our copy is really helping steer the visual creative that goes alongside it.

[00:06:04] Joe: I’m gonna get to the punchline where I know a lot of our listeners are gonna want go to immediately. I won’t save it for the very end of the episode. Your company Ad Zombies versus ChatGPT Who wins the bake off? 

[00:06:15] Ken: I’m telling you right now we have tested. AI versus human.

And thus far, AI has not won. And it’s not because I’m arrogant or conceited that I’m saying this. I literally have a, an entire blog about this and. The reason is that chat, GPT and Jasper and all these other things, they’re only as good and as creative as what’s been fed into them, and they don’t have the empathy and the human relationship to really dig into when they’re writing.

They’re literally just spitting out a reiteration or a regurgitation of words that have already been used. And so it’s very difficult for an empathetic, humanly connected. ad To come out of these AIs right now. Could that change in the future? Absolutely. Is AI better than it was? Yes. But I think the other thing, and it’s funny, Joe, that you mentioned this, because lately we’ve been getting a lot of people saying why would I pay you guys to write my copy when I can just use a free tool like Chat GPT And the answer is very, Right now chat, GPT and Jasper and all, a lot of these other ones that are using OpenAI are free. But they’re free because they’re trying to figure out how to monetize them, and at some point they will monetize them. But if you split test copy written by a professional copywriter versus copy written by ai, More often than not, the human copy is going to win robots, computers, just don’t have the emotional connection when writing, and it feels very robotic.

[00:07:48] Joe: I would argue though that maybe it’s not necessarily about one or the other. Maybe it’s an, a combination of the things Cause from a lot of different brands perspective. And it’s not just brands, it’s companies, it’s people in general. There’s times in which words really matter, and you gotta get it right, and then there’s times in which you really gotta just fill up the page or you gotta put some filler in there.

The thing that comes off the top of my mind is CPG companies in their websites. You could probably have a lawyer write your copy on a website because nobody’s ever going to your website to look at your candy bar and get the specs on it. So maybe an AI would be decent enough at writing copy for.

M&M’s website, but not gonna be good at writing their Super Bowl spot . You know what I mean? Correct. So I think there’s a ratification there, like words coming from people probably matter more when the moment matters more for your brand. 

[00:08:37] Ken: 100 say I love tools like Chat, G p T and Jasper and OpenAI.

think they’re great. And like you said, they have a place, I use them when I need thought starters for things, right? So sometimes I can’t think of what I want to do as a thought starter. So I’ll punch in I need five thought starters for X or three things for y and that gives me the foundational like, ooh, here’s the thing.

I need to light this. But you’re right. It’s where you’re writing or what you’re writing for an ad, a conversion ad to move a customer emotionally from one thing to another. That’s when you want the human. But filling out the webpage, like the stuff that you would have a lawyer do absolutely.

A, a tool like chat, g p t can do an incredible job, but, and this is something that I just discovered this week and it was like one of those wows to me, Google is now starting to, and I don’t wanna say the word is blacklist, but they’re able to now determine copy that was written. By AI because there’s so much duplicate content and so much plagiarism that’s happening.

because again, the AI is only as smart as what it’s been fed, that they’re starting to block pages that have been generated by ai. So that’s something that you’ve gotta be careful about. . 

[00:09:49] Joe: Gotcha. Now in your line of work, given that you work in a similar industry, that I do a service-based industry, you’ve got clients and stuff like that, and I’m sure you’re out on social media, scouring the web, trying to come up with ideas.

Have you ever come across a creator. That you’re just like, man, I wonder if that person would actually come to work for ads on these, because I deal with that probably on a daily basis where I, I see somebody making content, I’m like, I wonder if they would take a job at Vayner or Sasha. What was the last time you saw somebody’s work and were like, damn, I gotta have that person.

[00:10:18] Ken: Yesterday as I was Flying to Florida for this client that I’m with right now, there’s a person that I keep running across on the internet. I’m going, God, this guy is so good and so creative and he totally has the vibe. And I’m like, one of these days I’m gonna reach out to him. And and just to see if he’d be interested because I think he’d be a really great fit.

And yeah, I, and there are a couple of people that I noticed. Regularly showing up in my feed and I just go, man, they’ve got it. 

[00:10:46] Joe: Do you call people when they take a job with you or a freelance contract, do you call them zombies?

Like what is the internal vernacular around the water cooler at. , 

[00:10:55] Ken: so we do definitely call each other zombies. And so we have a few ways that we communicate internally. So all of our internal processes were custom built out on a platform called which is where all of our workspaces developed.

Like our internal custom stuff is done there. But Again, because of knowing you guys, we started using Marco Polo for our internal communications, and man has that just revolutionized my team communications. So I’ll get on with the team and go, Hey, zombies, it’s me and I’m here and I just, this really cool and I wanted you, or Hey, zombies, I’m working on this and would love to have the team jump in and get creative with me on this.

And so it’s really. It’s amazing the tools and the way we can connect today are just so phenomenal. 

[00:11:42] Joe: I love Marco Polo. In fact, I’ve, I still have this like idea burning in my head that needs to get created. I wanna create like an interview entirely conducted through Marco Polo. We should have done that with you, but maybe we’ll have to have you back on for a second.

Podcast appearance, where we do it entirely through Marco Polo . Okay, so your ideal zombie. What does that person look like? What does it take to work at ad zombies? 

[00:12:03] Ken: I want someone who is a storyteller at heart. Copywriters are, and I hate to say this, but it’s, they’re a dime a dozen.

Anybody can write copy. I need someone who’s a storyteller. I love people who know how to take life experiences and craft them into stories, because stories are what sells. It’s. Connects people to businesses. It’s what connects people to products. It’s that shared experience. And so I look for storytellers first and foremost every day.

[00:12:34] Joe: Nice. Yeah. I had a consulting call this morning with one of my clients and they were coming up with they were trying to come up with a way to write a description for their YouTube show that they’re launching. And one of the first things I told them when they started going through the anatomy of it was like, yeah, that’s okay, but there’s no conflict.

You haven’t introduced a conflict yet, so you. You know, Actually resolve anything if you’re not setting people up for that resolution, . And they, and they started, oh wait, you have to do that for them. Yeah. Pretty much everything in today’s day and age is better when it tells a story, , so you might as well go ahead and introduce that conflict so you can resolve it.

cause I know what you guys do is different from us. We’re a little bit more all over the place. Full service if you will, but you guys are very specific.

What kind of clients work really well with Adson? 

[00:13:22] Ken: So we really have two types of clients that work really well, and those are the SMBs, the small business owners, the mom and pop businesses that have a couple of locations. It doesn’t matter what the vertical is these days, and when I say the vertical, let me, lemme make sure I’m speaking human and not zombie.

What industry you’re in doesn’t matter as much, as long as you’re not in like the weed or sex toys industry. We can do a lot of great creative. Those industries are difficult to gain any traction with we just don’t touch them . But the industries like, funeral home industries to restaurants, to pizza shops, to you, you name the industry, we can do it.

And then the other side are agencies everything from small agencies, that run Facebook campaigns or lead gen campaigns for businesses all the way up to agencies like yours. We service everything in the agency space because for the most part, agencies need help with copywriting and businesses don’t realize that they’re doing copywriting. They just think, oh, I need to write a social post, or an ad or something and they don’t recognize that what that is. It’s the copywriting, it’s the words that you read around the post. And a lot of business owners struggle with this.

I just spoke to someone today. Who said that typically when she’s writing her own messages, it takes her an hour to 90 minutes to craft her message. And I thought, wow, those are the customers that we serve, the ones who are trying to do it themselves, or the ones who need a lot of copy volume.

And so those are really the two spaces, sorry for the long answer, but that’s what they. 

[00:14:56] Joe: No, I might have to hit you guys up so I can hire you to respond to my emails. I’m not a writer by trade. I don’t like writing. I don’t like being involved in writing. I try to cut it outta my day to the best of its ability.

That’s why I go to Marco Polo so often. But probably once a day I’ve gotta sit down and spend a good solid hour on my emails, which coincidentally is my least favorite part of my day. , 

[00:15:17] Ken: you should try using AI to answer some of those. 

[00:15:19] Joe: No, I know. I’ve gotta have a really good authentic response in many instances.

I guess that’s another reason why AI is not gonna take over anytime soon. I really respect what you guys are doing. 

You wrote a book uh, once upon a time about your experiences with GaryVee. Can you tell everybody a little bit about that book and where they might be able to find it and what it’s all. 


[00:15:38] Ken: Yeah, so I wanted to pay tribute and respect to Gary’s jab, jab Right Hook which is really the foundation for how I built ad zombies.

I would just give value, and every once in a while there was an ask, and that’s how I built it. And I’ve said this to so many people and it holds true today in 2023 at the recording of this podcast Gary has added so much value to my business over the years since I had My first dinner with him in October of 2017 and where he told me to hire an operations guy because I’m not that guy. I’m a pure creative, I am not a systems and processes guy, so I started seeing success. The business grew, and I wrote this book called Jab Till It Hurts. How following Gary Vaynerchuk’s advice helped me build a seven figure brand.

And, I’ve gone on to now build, this is a multimillion dollar copywriting business, which still Joe like it to this day pinched me. I don’t know how I did it. And There’s a lot of blood, sweat, and tears that go into it, but I wouldn’t change any, anything for the world. The book is available on Amazon.

There was a really cool moment and I just this moment I share very proudly. There was a moment where my book and one of Gary’s books were selling people who bought this also bought this. And I’m like, damn, that was pretty cool. But it was so gracious of Gary, like I asked him to I said, Hey Gary, I just want your blessing on the title.

Like, that would just not be cool because I have such respect for him. And so I was at, I think it was Voice Con where I showed him the name or the title of the book, and he’s like, ah, I love it. And absolutely. And so the book came out and yeah, it still sells.

 It’s the coolest thing. And I just have so much respect and appreciation for everything. Gary and the entire team at Vayner and Sasha. You guys are just rock stars. 

[00:17:20] Joe: Yeah. And so for the listeners out there who don’t really know what the connection between me and Spanky is, Spanky’s a multiple time guest at our four D’s event that I’m the host of.

I didn’t meet Spanky when he was there the first time around, but we got to become familiar on his second visit last May, and we’ve become pretty good. , liaisons within the advertising industry, we definitely keep in touch via Marco Polo and other means. I think he’s a tremendous dude and I love what they’re doing out there in Arizona.

Spanky, thanks for coming on the podcast. We really appreciate it, and we’ll have to have you back on when we do our inaugural Marco Polo version of this. Let’s do it. I look forward to it. Thanks for joining us on the Building While Flying podcast. I’ve been your host, Joe Quattrone, and we’ll see you again next week.

[00:18:12] Ken: Thanks for joining us for Building While Flying today. I hope you learned as much as we did. We’ll meet you right back here next time for another flight.

Welcome to Building While Flying!

This weekly podcast is brought to you by Sasha Group. We’re the consultancy meets agency arm of the VaynerX family of companies. We help ambitious companies build strong brands that flex with the times through strategy, branding media and marketing.

In ever-changing times, businesses and brands have to shift and adapt. And across all sectors, there is an air of experimentation. Business owners are trying new things out in the wild;  building the plane while flying.

Our pilots, Katie Hankinson, Mickey Cloud, Maribel Lara, and Joe Quattrone will be talking to a diverse range of business leaders and founders. They’ll explore how these guests tackle various challenges while staying resilient and committed to growth. Through these real-life examples of strategies put into practice, we hope to inspire you to experiment and develop your own strategies as we all navigate these uncertain times together.

Starting a business by accident.

Ken Moskowitz, aka Spanky, is the founder and CCO of Ad Zombies, while also being the founder and business coach of the podcast EntreGrow. Spanky started his creative career in New York City and quickly rose to the top of the broadcast creative industry. He’s led rebranding efforts over the last three decades for many major and smaller brands such as the Indy 500, FritoLay, Samuel Adams, Coca-Cola, and M&M’s (Mars).

In his conversation with Joe Quattrone, Spanky shares his creative journey and how he started his business by accident. Throughout the episode, he explains why he thinks human-written copy sells better than AI, what AI can be used for, and how storytelling is still the key to writing copy that sells.

In-flight topics:

  • Starting a business on accidents 
  • Human vs AI, who wins?
  • Why the moment matters when choosing between human and AI
  • What’s his ideal zombie?
  • His book and learning from Gary Vee
  • …and more!
Connect with Ken Moskowitz:

Ad Zombies Website:

Ad Zombies on Instagram:

Ad Zombies on Linkedin:

Ad Zombies on Facebook:

Ken Moskowitz on Linkedin:

New York, NY
Chattanooga, TN
Los Angeles, CA