Despite being a fixture on many a campaign credits list, Rei Inamoto, chief creative officer at AKQA, says he's not actually in advertising at all. "I don't see myself as an ad guy; I'm too cynical," he said. "I believe that I create things that are useful and desirable." If they happen to sell, all the better.
AKQA has been behind its share of memorable creative work, from Nissan's Bollywood spectacular and a social-viewing app for MTV to a blogger-driven catalog for the Gap, but Mr. Inamoto thinks his best project has been AKQA itself. "My job isn't to work on a project here or a project there," he said. Instead, it's about figuring out how the agency needs to continue evolving, especially now, a time that Inamoto calls the "most exciting" in the industry.
That's why he counts a couple of unusual projects among his highlights in the past year. One is the seventh installment of Future Lions, the Cannes seminar that features some of the best student work in the world -- and often gives those students unparalleled access to the very marketers they come up with concepts for. And another is "Creatives for Japan," a partnership with the One Club and the ADC that asked the creative community to come together for a cause--one especially close to the Japan-born Inamoto's heart.
See the rest of the 2012 Creativity 50 here.