The multi-hyphenate alum has grown ACE Creatives into a seven-figure success story.
Following a Zoom interview with ACE Creatives founder Adam Constantine ’10, I did a quick Google search: “flowers that bloom anywhere.” The first result — well, the first that wasn’t a drab crabgrass or pigweed — was a daylily. That’s Constantine, a daylily. But, before you assume I’ve likened his masculinity to a culturally unmasculine thing, allow me to explain.
Unlike most other college students, Constantine — a Division 1 basketball recruit — all too easily dribbled his way through every corner of Elon’s campus, landing leadership stints as film critic for The Pendulum, account executive at Live Oak Communications, president of the Student Athlete Association, and co-founder of his own production company. When he wasn’t training in Alumni Gym, the Theater Studies Minor was getting into character in the Center for the Arts.
It wasn’t until much later in his career that he realized why he was so attracted to each of those opportunities: they allowed him to tell a story, whether it was through a script, an account campaign or a game-winning basket.
“I didn’t realize why I liked it so much,” he said, “but just the ability to tell stories, to bring out emotion through a narrative, is really what I enjoyed.”
One of his first opportunities to tell stories professionally started at his alma mater, serving as Elon’s social media manager for three years. Now, more than 10 years after graduating, Constantine is doing just that for brands through his self-started creative agency, ACE Creatives — and with his own “dope” spin, he says. It all started when he saw a gap in the market for catchy content that not only pleased the client, but excited their audience. And so, ACE’s first move with any new client is actually to disregard what they want entirely.
“I felt that, in certain places that I was, there was a disconnect between what brands wanted and what audiences wanted to see, especially on social,” Constantine said. “You know, you have to put yourself in somebody else’s shoes to see, OK, why are they doing that? If I’m telling a story for an audience that, maybe, I don’t relate to, I have to put myself in their shoes to see what it is they want.”
ACE Creatives has already garnered an impressive roster of clients — some international names with 90+ million YouTube subscribers like Mr. Beast, and others that have booked him gigs across the world in Fiji. And working with him at ACE is Aaron Moger ’12, who serves as the company’s creative director and previously worked with Constantine in Elon’s Office of University Communications.
Before growing the agency into a seven-figure success story, Constantine toured the globe as a player in Germany’s Bundesliga pro-basketball league. “You always hear these stories, you know, ‘I always knew I was gonna be…’” he said. “I didn’t. I thought I was going to be in the NBA right now, and I didn’t make it there. It was more about where my adaptability took me as I continued to see where things would go and flow.”
And things did — go and flow, that is. The pro job wound up flying him from Bulgaria to Sweden, from Israel to Finland, and then back home, where he soon after cut the ribbon on ACE.
“The only way that I could talk to people while abroad was through social media,” he said. When I graduated, Instagram wasn’t even around yet. You know, I had a list of 300-some people that I would literally post a blog to their walls. I just loved storytelling and social media was the way to self-publish and get your name out there with a maximum footprint compared to anything else at that time.”
So, Constantine never took the traditional storytelling route. It wasn’t a newsroom or a journalism class where he got his experience — he claimed journalism was “too cut and dry” for him, anyway. All along, he was learning how to tell a story by unfolding his own.
“I think it was always going to be me as an entrepreneur at some point, I just didn’t know what I didn’t know. So, I didn’t know how,” he said. “But with every job, I always felt like I was looking for the next step. And being an entrepreneur, it’s the first time that I’m not looking for the next step outside of it.”