Grey New York president and chief creative officer Tor Myhren is widely credited as one of the forces that turned the WPP agency around, thanks to a financially savvy baby, some imaginative scenarios for DirecTV and a steady stream of new business.
But as always, it's the things that don't get reported that are more interesting. Below, we outline a few fun facts about the Grey CCO that you probably didn't know. It's the latest edition in Creativity's series featuring adland's creatives.
1. His favorite place in the world is Vietnam. Ten years ago, he spent a month on a motorcycle going up its coast, from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi, stopping at beach towns on the way.
2. He has injured himself skiing -- but still insists on doing it. Growing up in Denver, Mr. Myhren often went up to Vail every weekend with his father. He broke his leg when he was 4 years old, and six years ago, got two back surgeries and stopped skiing entirely, until last year, when, for his 40th birthday, did a heli-skiing trip in the Canadian Rockies. "It's an unreal feeling being dropped on the tip of a mountain, high above the cloud line, with only one way down," he said.
3. He has weird connections to Scientology: He sat next to John Travolta at the Super Bowl, and got flak for an article he wrote last year titled "18 Reasons Why Tom Cruise is the Best Actor of Last 30 Years."
4. Mr. Myhren has been taking Japanese language classes for three years. Japan is known for its creative thinking, yes, but his real motivation was to be able to communicate with his wife's family and with his daughter, who, at two years old, speaks better Japanese than he does -- a fact that "pisses him off." "There's a term, it's called, 'Egg,'" he said. "White on the outside, yellow on the inside. I'm not an egg. I just happened to fall in love with a woman in Tokyo, and over the past seven years have fallen in love with Japanese culture, food, and most of all people. Oh, and fashion."
5. He has really strong feelings about basketball. He played college hoops at a small school called Occidental in Los Angeles, and loves the game -- but thinks it's got serious problems. He's writing a book called "How Michael Jordan Ruined Basketball," after watching the NBA completely lose its cultural relevance, a result, he says of people like NBA commissioner David Stern and companies like Nike constantly being on the hunt for "the next Jordan," and not being able to find it. "People want to see a team, not a guy," he said. He even gave a speech at the Sports Marketing Summit this year about the issue, and got hate mail from Mr. Stern in return.
6. To clear his head, he takes a walk early every Saturday morning -- either to Central Park, Madison Square Park or the West Village. Now you know where to find him.