After making stops at many of the industry's top agencies (Cliff Freeman, Saatchi, BBDO, Wieden & Kennedy, Goodby, Silverstein & Partners and 180), Ari Weiss joined BBH, New York, in 2011 as executive creative director and recently was named the agency's new chief creative officer.
Under his leadership along with John Patroulis, who was elevated to New York creative chairman, the agency has created award-winning work like Axe's "Susan Glenn," which brought a new, more thoughtful voice to the high testosterone brand, and Sony Playstation's "Greatness Awaits" campaign, a multiplatform effort that included not only standout films but innovative digital plays, including a gamers auction site devoted exclusively to the exchange of gear from the Playstation universe.
In the latest installment of Six Things, Mr. Weiss offers a closer look into his world, which includes tales of rejection, embarrassment and weed.
1. He sent his student book to BBH in 1999 and was never called back. In fact, he also had an interview in the London office in 2007. They never called back either. Reflecting back on it he says, "I guess the lesson here is be persistent."
2. He met his wife the night of a bachelor party. While entirely factual, it's not nearly as bad as it sounds. He left the bachelor party early because he was poor and couldn't afford the cover charge for the gentlemen's club.
3. His father encouraged him to grow weed in high school. A little context: Ari was born in Berkeley, Calif. in the '70s. That's probably all the context you need, but growing weed in Berkeley then was like growing kale anywhere else now. "My father thought it would teach me the responsibility of really looking after something and learn the value of keeping something alive," he said. "He was smart because there was also built-in incentive to keep it alive."
4. His middle name is either Shlomo, Menacham or Marnin. He won't tell you which one it really is but there is one thing he's certain of: "My parents very much wanted everyone to know that Ari Shlomo/Menacham/Marnin Weiss was Jewish."
5. He's the oldest and least talented of his three siblings. Going in order from youngest to oldest you'll find his brother killing it in finance living in the East Village of New York, a sister who is a super talented lawyer in Denver and a brother who writes, plays guitar and is the lead singer of Truest, a Brooklyn based band in New York. "I like to think of myself as being mediocrely good at all the things they're great at, which evidentially will get you by in advertising."
6. He's currently in the process of growing a beard. He knows he's already two years behind the trend, but his first child Layla just turned two and when he dove back into culture to see what had been going on he was bummed to find he had missed the beard trend. "I'm hoping if I start growing it out now it can be at a respectable length by the time beards become cool again," he said.