Advertising Week 2014

Want Great Creative? Hire Outside the Industry

'Inspiration' Panelists Seek Talent In Non-Traditional Ways and Places

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The next great creative director might just be found reading Mad Magazine.

That was one of the creative inspirations TBWAMedia Arts Lab Chairman Lee Clow had growing up, along with Walt Disney and California surfing, according to a video shown at an Advertising Week panel. Following that short film, a trio of creative officers discussed what moves them and where they find creativity in today's saturated environment.

Susan Credle
Susan Credle Credit: Billy Siegrist

A common theme was fresh perspective -- looking outside of the industry, or, as Jimmy Smith, CEO and chief operating officer of Amusement Park Entertainment, put it, "getting in front of new people." He said he is currently working with an aerospace physicist on one of the company's brand campaigns.

Susan Credle, chief creative officer of Leo Burnett, said that the agency's internship program actively seeks young people involved in poetry, theatre, art and other creative endeavors that aren't necessarily classically trained in advertising.

Growing up in South Africa in the '80s, TBWA/Chiat/Day Chief Creative Officer Stephen Butler said he always knew he wanted to do something artistic, whether it involved surfing or drawing. He warned against codifying the advertising business too much and said that having an utter fascination with people is one of the most important qualities you can have in this industry.