Congratulations on your recent appointment as global chief creative officer at Wunderman. You are no stranger to the agency; tell us what prompted the return.
The single answer is a formidable global network, with a serious ass-kicking data capability. Wunderman is the world’s most connected agency and a place where I see great creative possibility.
How would you articulate Wunderman’s global creative strategy?
It begins with a thoroughly integrated and road-tested global network. Add in geniuses by the dozen working with a seemingly unlimited amount of emotional and creative data. Use all that to serve up awesome creativity to an amazing roster of global brands.
If you do all that, you create an environment that allows you to develop fearless, highly functional executions, and relentlessly pursue flawless executions globally.
Describe the creative process at Wunderman.
We are already scaled and executing brilliantly. I want to inspire our clients to think like challenger brands and bring them into a new process.
As the new guy, I see the process as nimble, incredibly thoughtful and thorough. Moving forward, we are going to want to extend our desire to challenge the clients and to challenge ourselves. We are going to push ourselves to new places, with new partners. We will continue to do what we do well, but we are going to be fearless and force ourselves to really explore every new opportunity.
What’s the most sophisticated piece of creative content you’ve seen lately?
I was absolutely gobsmacked by our Nokia tweet. I admired it before I even got here. Totally fearless, thoughtful and remarkably intelligent. It really resonated, and that’s why it was the most retweeted tweet of all time. What a coup!
I just saw HBO’s King Joffrey Roast. Like every geeked-out fanboy, I can’t wait for the new season of Game of Thrones. I read the books and was still freaked out by the “Red Wedding” episode. And I loathe that little prig Joffrey. I love what HBO and 360i did here: Savvy and self-aware. It’s a great way to keep their social mojo going in the off-season.
Who are/were some of the industry’s best storytellers?
Brands are still the best storytellers: AMC, HBO, Coca-Cola, Instagram, American Express and Call of Duty.
Each one of them puts a great deal of time and consideration into crafting and telling their own story. AMC has been especially good at it and, as a result, has become a household name. They did that by providing an endless flow of great content like Mad Men, Breaking Bad and Walking Dead, and supported it with fun opportunities to generate their own creative material.
What’s the most stimulating conversation you’ve had with a fellow creative recently?
Hands down, Lester Wunderman. I’ll take five minutes with Lester above anyone else.
Coming back to Wunderman means spending time with a true legend. I’ll share with you one of my favorite moments. It’s something that stayed with me for a very long time. Lester shared with me the notion of bringing your client “un cadeau” – a gift. If you just show up at a client’s office with “the work” in hand, you aren’t doing your job to the fullest. You have to bring clients a gift of intellectual property that will excite, inspire or even frighten them.
Which brands are the smartest players in Adland right now?
Dove, Coca-Cola, American Express, adidas, YouTube, iHeartRadio and Twitter, as well as Justin Timberlake and Miley Cyrus for very different reasons.
What are some of the current and emerging trends in advertising?
If creativity is king, then data must be its queen. And I am going to say mobile, too. Every year has been the year of mobile, and that’s because there seems to be no end to its possibilities. Whether it’s social, e-commerce, content creation, geo location or the data that we can mine from it, mobile is constantly refreshing itself and increasing its value to us.
The constantly exciting possibilities presented by start-ups also get me fired up. When you talk to people like Bre Pettis from MakerBot, it’s very inspirational. They are embracing possibility head-on, and it opens your eyes to how our world is reshaping itself – and how we can take part in that process.
Which ad have you referenced more than any other as an example of creative genius?
It may be a little clichéd to say it, but Apple’s Think Different campaign still hits me on a variety of levels, both personal and professional. It’s one of those pieces that makes you hit reset on everything in your life.