Hollywood talent behemoth CAA began a flurry of recruiting from the agency world some five years ago for its corporate client division, CAA Marketing, making our radars extra sensitive to the increasingly close convergence of the entertainment and marketing worlds--and to whether or not brands could truly benefit from such alliances. Since then, the division delivered a number of interesting and sometimes complicated moves, for the likes of eBay, Delta, Harley Davidson and others, but it finally came into its own this past year with Chipotle's "Back to the Start." The endearing animated short directed by Johnny Kelly and backed by Willie Nelson's moving cover of Coldplay's "The Scientist" told the story of an industrial farmer getting back to family farming roots. Not only did the film offer up the best music on the Grammys this year (it made a TV appearance during the show's broadcast), it was the darling of the advertising awards circuit, taking top accolades at the Andy's, One Show Entertainment and Cannes.
"We're a bunch of ad agency refugees sitting in the world's largest entertainment and sports agency," said Jesse Coulter, CAA Marketing Co-Chief Creative Officer. "We all came here because we felt confined by the traditional agency model, scope of work and client expectations—and believed this was the best place to help brands tell their stories in new ways. . . A lot of people didn't get us but we've stuck with it, learned a lot and we're now starting to see our vision come to life. And this is just the beginning. We're going to keep pushing and pushing."
See the rest of the 2012 Creativity 50 here.