Six Things You Didn't Know About David & Goliath's Colin Jeffery

For Years, He Just Wanted to Be in 'Les Mis'

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Colin Jeffery
Colin Jeffery
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Colin Jeffery joined David&Goliath in 2006 and was promoted to chief creative officer this year. A native of Cape Town, South Africa, his career has spanned three continents -- Africa, Asia and North America -- over the last 15 years and his portfolio includes work for Volkswagen, ESPN, Hewlett Packard, Toyota, Burger King, BMW and Land Rover. Mr. Jeffery is especially familiar with that last brand. He grew up in an outdoorsy family and spent much of his childhood either in a Land Rover Defender exploring the bush or out at sea. His stories are amazing, and he shares them in this week's edition "Six Things."

1. He has his fair share of "this one time, in the wilderness" tales. Like when he was caught in the crossfire between elephant poachers and game rangers on the banks of the Zambezi River. "Or the time we saved a British couple from a pride of lions in Zimbabwe. Or the night we decided to hunt crocs with our bare hands in the Okavango Swamps," he said. There were also mishaps -- he was stung by a scorpion once. And there was the time he and friend capsized a boat off of Cape Point, breaking the mast and leaving him with a bloody hand in icy, shark-infested waters. "I miss those days," he said.

2. As a young boy, he dreamed of playing Gavroche in Les Misérables. Mr. Jeffery started singing in church choirs at the age of six. At 17, he was made head chorister of the Diocesan College Boys Choir. He also sang with the St. George's Cathedral Choir and Cape Town Philharmonic. He dreamed of moving to London to play Gavroche in Les Misérables. It never happened, but he's performed in multiple productions including, "The Mikado," "Pirates of Penzance," "Tom Sawyer" and "La Tosca."

3. If Colin were a superhero, garlic would be his kryptonite. "Hate is a very strong word, but I can say with confidence that I absolutely hate this stinky little plant," he said. He hates the way it smells, tastes and makes him feel, particularly the long-lasting "garlic hangovers" he gets.

4. He was a snowboarder by day and a cowboy by night. In 1999, Mr. Jeffery quit his ad job in Johannesburg and moved to Beaver Creek, Colo., for the winter. "My plan was to work as little as possible," he said. He found a night job as a host on a sleigh transporting guests up the mountain to Beano's Cabin restaurant. "I had to wear a cowboy outfit and entertain guests. The better my outfit and stories, the bigger the tips were. Needless to say I went full cowboy, Stetson, boots, oilskin jacket, the works," he said.

5. One time, he woke up in a forest and went to a job interview with Jeff Goodby. In 1999, Mr. Jeffery finagled a meeting with then Goodby Silverstein & Partners talent director Linda Harless. Doing so from the tip of Baja, Mexico, where he was on a two-month surf trip, posed a slight problem. "I started the 1,500 mile drive north towards San Fran in my '82 GMC poo-brown van," he said, "I couldn't miss an opportunity like this." The interview went well and Linda invited him back the next day to meet with Jeff Goodby and Rich Silverstein. Unfortunately, with just enough cash for gas and one night at a youth hostel, he'd run out of money and had nowhere to stay. "So I drove even further north across the Golden Gate Bridge, pitched a tent and slept overnight in the forest," he said.

6. An industry legend once suggested that advertising wasn't for him. Mr. Jeffery attended the Red & Yellow School of Logic and Magic in Cape Town, studying art direction and graphic design under the eyes of founders Brian Searle-Tripp and Allan Raaff. He got off to a rocky start, with low scores on his first few projects. "Brian called me into his office a few weeks later and told me he didn't think advertising was for me...I've always hated losing and that chat ended up being the inspiration I needed," he said. He redoubled his efforts in his final year of college and won a gold award in the student category at South Africa's Loeries Creative Week,