Bob Winter, the veteran creative/copywriter best known for Budweiser's multi-honored "Real Men of Genius" campaign, has been appointed Chief Creative Officer at Y&R Chicago. Winter fills the post vacated by Ken Erke, who recently became an ECD at R/GA. Winter will start his new role in December and moves from Leo Burnett, Chicago, where he was SVP/Executive Creative Director. At Burnett, he oversaw creative on clients like Altoids, Kellogg's, Greenpeace and Caesars Palace. Prior to that, he had been a creative director at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco and worked on clients like Budweiser, Netflix and Ace Hardware. The previous eight years he spent at DDB Chicago, where he was one of the creators of Budweiser's "Real Men of Genius" and penned such classic lines as "You gave every single one of us our fondest wish - a bigger weiner."
Creativity checked in with Winter about his plans for his first-ever post as an agency creative honcho.
Tell us about the move. How did it happen? Did you always have it in your sights to lead your own agency?
You work hard, try to make some great things and you dream about this kind of opportunity. Well, I do anyway. It's right up there with the flying dream and the one where you can run faster than cars.
I had kept in touch with Kary (McIlwain) from Y&R over the years and when I got a call from Tony (Granger) to ask if I wanted to come help build the place, I knew it was the right time. I think we are going to have a lot of fun making some (hopefully) great work.
What's first on your agenda when you get to the agency?
Job one is: ponies for everyone. I don't care how much it costs. That way no matter what happens they'll all say, "Well, he did get us these ponies."
First I'll have to get in and meet everyone, meet all the clients and get a feel for their collective hopes and dreams and aspirations. I know that the place is capable of turning out some really inspiring work. We're just going to turn up the volume.
Any plans on reworking creative department structure or bringing on new talents?
The best environments seem to be more liquid, less rigid in structure. Like one of those cool infinity pools. So it would be great to get people out of their offices and working collaboratively, where ideas - digital, traditional, whatever - can run into each other. I think they're already doing this to some extent. And if we can bring in some fresh faces to help that's always good.
Obviously, technology has driven a lot of changes in the industry and the work. How, if at all are you planning to address this with regards to Y&R Chicago?
Of course we should always keep innovating, but the good news is the agency already has a lot of the tools we'd need to make pretty much anything we can dream up: an in-house digital lab, a global partnership with VML. And the support of a network of Y&R offices around the world. If we can't make great things with all this, we're dumb.
What's your favorite campaign that you've created over the years? What, if anything has it taught you about advertising?
"Real Men of Genius" taught me so many things - that there are opportunities everywhere. Even in briefs for radio commercials. That if you collaborate with great people you can make something special. That you should write for yourself. And when in doubt, whatever the project, add the lead singer from Survivor.That campaign is one of our all-time favorites. Which ad from the effort was yours?
Mr. Bowling Shoe Giver-Outer. It was the first.See more of Winter's work below: