Longtime BBDO creative leader Bill Bruce has announced that he will be leaving his role as the agency's Chairman/CCO, N.Y. to direct full time out of RSA. At BBDO, Bruce helped to oversee the agency's campaigns for HBO, FedEx, Monster.com, GE and others. He was also instrumental in securing Mountain Dew a place in advertising history books—the "Do the Dew" campaign, which he steered and penned for more than a decade, became the subject of a Harvard Business Review piece and later, of a book on brand icon-making. Also among Bruce's credits are campaigns for Sierra Mist, DuPont's Stainmaster campaign, Diet Pepsi's Ray Charles commercials and Aquafina's "Drink More Water."
"Of all Bill's many talents, making great film is his best," says BBDO Chairman/CCO North America David Lubars. "He's going to be a tremendous director." The agency has no plans to fill Bruce's vacated post but recently added four ECDs, Mathias Appelblad, Toygar Bazarkaya, Ronald Ng and Ralph Watson.
The creative-soon to be-director will be starting his new gig on April 3 and shared his thoughts about his big move with Creativity.
So, how long have you been thinking about moving into directing full time?
Seriously—7 years ago.
Very seriously—3 years ago.
I told the agency my intentions—6 months ago.
What made you decide to take the leap now? And, why did you decide to go with RSA?
It seemed every time I was on a set, someone from the crew or production company would inevitably ask me when I was going to go into directing. [RSA President] Jules Daly and I just kept the conversation going. But what I really admire about RSA is that they possess the same qualities I always looked for when hiring someone at the agency: world-class talent, good souls, works their asses off.
What lessons learned at BBDO do you think will serve you best in your new career?
Listen. Be prepared. Collaborate. Think on your feet. Don't get rattled. Clients aren't the enemy. Be brave, not reckless. Don't settle on the first solution. It could always be better, so keep pushing for great.
Any interesting lessons learned from other directors that you'll keep in mind as you go forward?
I have had the pleasure of working with some of the best directors in the business, each with their own style and personality. But what separates the great from the good is having a vision.
What are you going to miss most about BBDO? Was it hard for you to make this move?
It was and it wasn't. Of course there are things I will miss about helping to guide an agency the size of BBDO, N.Y. into new media and mediums. But it simply became time to take what I know and to do what I love.
When it comes to directing, what are you most excited about? What sorts of spots are you hoping to direct?
I am most excited about telling stories and creating unique characters that help define and communicate a brand idea in the most thought-provoking, emotionally relevant way possible. Beyond that, I have written and produced in every conceivable genre as an agency creative and I hope to do the same as a director.
Are you inspired by any directors/the careers of any directors in particular?
To be honest, I am inspired by directors, DP's, FX and postproduction people, editors, production designers, wardrobe stylists, sound engineers. When you are working with talented people who really give a shit, there's nothing better.
Are you looking at any boards/signed to direct any spots now?
I just came back from Ethiopia and Bangladesh shooting for Save the Children...But I am looking forward to what's next.
New Balance Feet, Directed by Bill Bruce
Some Bill Bruce classics:
Mountain Dew Ram, Directed by Kinka Usher
Mountain Dew "Spy vs. Spy," Directed by Traktor