10 top creatives, as selected by 'Creativity' magazine

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Ty Montague/Todd Waterbury

Wieden & Kennedy, New York

The creative directors behind ESPN Without Sports have done their damnedest to ensure New York is no B-team to the trailblazers in Portland. In addition to great ads, the team forayed into content with a documentary for Nike's Jordan, a sneaker feature for Nike and an out-there online hoax for Sega Sports' new football game.

Steve Simpson

Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco

Together with Rich Silverstein and designer Steve Luker, Simpson created one of the most compelling campaigns of 2003. Simpson and the team introduced the HP "+" device and added to it some of the most stunning commercial imagery shot this year.The campaign bestowed a dramatic, colorful new image on post-merger, beige HP and made us all care what happened to the venerable company next.

John Immesoete

DDB, Chicago

One of the consummate ad writers was behind one of the funniest campaigns of the year. OK, Bud's Real Men of Genius didn't technically break in 2003, but we must recognize the writer who brought to life Mr. Footlong Hotdog Inventor. Immesoete also added director to his resume,co- helming (with Greg Popp) on the Bud-sponsored short film "The Wedding Toast" and the "Leon" spots for True.

Gerry Graf

TBWA/Chiat/Day, New York

Another of the industry's real writers, Graf helped create the successful FedEx campaigns as executive creative director at BBDO. Graf also lent his skills to award-winning work for Guinness and Red Stripe. He was recently tapped as executive creative director at TBWA, New York. But BBDO isn't "doomed!" because....

Eric Silver

BBDO, New York

Silver, acknowledged as one of the industry's comic masters, recently stepped into the EVP/ECD role at BBDO New York. Silver, the creative force behind award winners for Fox Sports (Cannes Grand Prix winner, 2001), Budget Rent a Car and Outpost.com while at Cliff Freeman, made a quick detour to Saatchi this fall before landing in what seems like a more suitable place at laugh-prone BBDO.

Alan Russel

Palmer Jarvis DDB, Vancouver

PJDDB was named agency of the year in Canada-for the seventh time in a row- and Russell cited as top creative director. The agency distinguishes itself in a buzzing Canadian market-this year with spots for the Canadian Hockey Association and BC Dairy. Ripe for U.S. agency plucking, or diehard Canuck? We'll see.

Ari Merkin Fallon, New York

In short order, Merkin went from Mr. Cannes Grand Prix at Crispin (as the copywriter on the Ikea "Lamp" spot) to associate creative director at Cliff Freeman to taking over the creative reins at Fallon, New York. Merkin, who won 13 One Show pencils this year, is already in action at Fallon, recently staffing up an already creative-forward shop.

The Swedes

Mother, New York

Linus Karlsson and Paul Malmstrom, formerly of Fallon, New York, grabbed the industry's imagination after moving here from Sweden with unforgettable work for Miller and MTV. The pair was tapped for perhaps the plummest creative gig in recent memory-leading the New York incarnation of London hotshop Mother.

Duncan Milner/Eric Grunbaum

TBWA/Chiat/Day, Los Angeles

The brains behind the dead-on work of Ad Age's Marketer of the Year, Apple. The duo made an object of desire even more covetable with infectiously groove-driven spots for iPod. For iTunes, the creatives built on Apple's superb testimony campaign, this time with believers literally singing the product's praises. The result is a simple, powerful statement about music and the unselfconscious cool of Apple.

Mark Figliulo and his team

Y&R, Chicago

Executive Creative Director Figliulo has engineered a creative regeneration in the Chicago office of Y&R, which has been turning out fine work for Nascar (which left the agency this year), Orbitz, and Miller-as the brewer endeavors to step away from the boobs. The new spots, "Dominoes" and the Traktor-directed "Epidemic," in which a panicked populace introduces the catch phrase "I Can't Taste My Beer!" represent a fun new vibe for Miller, as it is positioned as a choice for individuals.

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