Six Things You Didn't Know About McCann CCO Linus Karlsson

The Swedish Creative Lets Us in on a Few Secrets

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McCann chief creative officer/chairman global brands Linus Karlsson, one of the many talented Swedes in the advertising industry, left his native land in 1990 to come to the U.S. Before joining the agency in 2011 to lead its creative department, Mr. Karlsson worked at Fallon Minneapolis alongside partner Paul Malmstrom, with whom he later co-founded Mother New York. While only close friends and family might know that he also has a secret hobby, knitting, there are a few other things most people don't know about the creative leader.

This is the first in a new Creativity series about things you might not know about adland's creatives.

1. He's named after Linus in "Peanuts." His parents loved cartoons and were going to name him either Linus, or Casper (the Friendly Ghost.) As a kid, he didn't like his name, and wanted to be named after anything but a cartoon character with a blanket.

2. Even though he was born in Stockholm, his favorite place in Sweden is Smaland, a region that is home to author Astrid Lindgren (Pippi Longstocking) and IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad. It's also the place where turn of the century Swedish illustrator John Bauer created his drawings and stories (right). He said it's a small place with little to do -- so people get creative and make things and invent stuff. But when Mr. Karlsson gets homesick in New York, he goes to IKEA to meet other homesick Swedes. A stroll around the Ektorp sofa section usually does the trick.

3. His hobbies are old maps, pick up trucks, football team Paris Saint-Germain, Harvard Business Review and "slow-walking" -- where you walk really slowly with someone you want to chat with. He also loves green tea and doesn't like nice restaurants.

4. He recently taught himself to play the piano, but isn't too good at it. The goal is to make his dog stop howling when he plays.

5. He got into advertising because of a girl. When at business school, he fells in love with a woman at the Berghs School of Communication in Stockholm. To be close to her, ended up going there.

6. He carries around a little finger puppet monkey that he keeps in a small box in his computer bag for luck. He got it when he moved to Minneapolis in 1996 (he can't remember how) and has had him in the bag ever since.

Linus photo credit: Lasse Burell

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