Six Things You Didn't Know About EnergyBBDO's Dan Fietsam

The Chicago Chief Creative is No Good at Breaking iPods

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Dan Fietsam took the creative reins at Energy BBDO in 2008. Since then, the Chicago-based shop has grown by leaps and bounds, winning major clients like SC Johnson, Frito Lay and Quaker. Most recently, it made headlines when it snapped up Bud Light domestically, reuniting the agency with the brewer's VP-marketing, Paul Chibe, who had worked with the Chicago outpost of BBDO in the past.

Formerly of DDB, Y&R and Leo Burnett, Mr. Fietsam started his career at Ogilvy Chicago as a junior copywriter. He's the latest participant in Creativity's ongoing "Six Things" series.

1. The hardest thing he's ever done was be a judge on "Celebrity Apprentice." He calls it one of the "most uncomfortable experiences of his life." The show has four cameras trained on the judges and filming at all times. "I was convinced I was going to absent-mindedly pick my nose and two million people would see it on TV," he said.

2. He was adopted. He has not tracked down any biological family members, but he recently took part in, and found out that he's British, with some Irish on top. His wife always joked that maybe he was the love child of a St. Louis girl and one of the Rolling Stones. It's a possibility -- the band toured the U.S. the year he was conceived.

3. He's a musician. Mr. Fietsam has had bands with names like Planet Warehouse, 65, Brave New Squirrels and Viewers Like You. The Planet Warehouse CD is actually on iTunes, and his wife and her sister were the singers on it. His 16-year-old son now sings and plays guitar. They're like the Von Trapps -- just with "a little more edge," he said.

4. He once tried -- and failed -- to break an iPod to impress a client. When he was creative director on Dell at DDB, he was charged with launching the company's MP3 player, called Dell Jukebox, which was supposed to compete with the first-generation iPod. While presenting, he thought it would be fun to literally "smash" an iPod with a hammer. "In the most awkward moment ever -- my first strike resulted in the hammer bouncing off the iPod with a unsatisfying dull thud. I had no idea how well those suckers were made," he said. He never managed to smash it.

5. He once tried to crash a costume party, but wasn't let in because he wasn't in costume. To make up for it, he and his friends stripped down to their underwear to become "Captain Underwear and the Brief Brigade." The police were called.

6. If he hadn't ended up in advertising he would have become a fireman. "I love the idea of just hanging out watching ESPN and cooking up some chili and at any given moment getting to drive a big, loud truck really fast into the most terrifying situation possible," he said. "But I'm not hunky enough to be a fireman, so I'll stick with being a creative."

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