Six Things You Didn't Know About TBWA L.A.'s Stephen Butler

His Favorite Color is 'Flesh'

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Stephen Butler
Stephen Butler

Stephen Butler, who was named chief creative officer at TBWA/Chiat/Day Los Angeles last month, only joined the agency in 2013, when he came stateside after seven years at Mother London. Prior to that, he was a creative director at BBH, leading Levi's. But there's much, much more to Mr. Butler than advertising, as you'll find out in this week's installment of Six Things.

1. He has never seen "The Matrix." "What started out as nothing more than one of those quirks of fate has turned into a personal challenge to see if I can get through life without it," he said. "It never fails to draw gasps from anyone who finds out. Perhaps I will be in The Matrix before I see 'The Matrix.' Is this The Matrix?"

"I like to walk round neighborhoods at night and stare into other people's lit homes."

2. His favorite color? "Flesh." It started when he was a kid, when he had a set of Crayola crayons that still contained the now discontinued "flesh" color. "Later my favorite color would also become my favorite feeling," he said. "I was advanced for my age."

3. His aunt was his uncle. His aunt was one of the first state-sponsored sex changes in South Africa in the 1960s. He was 18 when I found out and he said it "didn't so much shock me as inspire me to believe that, no matter what you were, or how different you seemed, you had to be true to yourself."

4. He has creepy hobbies. In his words: "I like to walk round neighborhoods at night and stare into other people's lit homes. I can stand and stare for hours. Yes, that's me out there. I hate people who pull their curtains. It seems so selfish."

5. But turns out, it's not creepy, it's Dutch. "I had to go to Amsterdam last year to get my American visa. My mother was born in Amsterdam. It was a revelation. I realized I wasn't weird, I was Dutch," he said. "They have these wonderful, large windows that face out onto the streets and they have no curtains. These windows and the interiors beyond are designed for the pleasure of the person in the street."

6. He has been involved in a car chase. He met a girl, fell in love and it turned out she loved plants. One night, on returning from dinner out she spotted a beautifully planted public flowerbed by the road. "'She must have one' she said, 'just one.' Ten minutes later and the back seat of my car looked like a nursery." Next, a car pulled up behind them. He sped off, with the other car in hot pursuit. But he took a wrong turn and literally ran out of road. "A big black hole opened up before us and the car launched off a ten foot drop into a low tide canal. My girlfriend jumped out and screamed, 'Run!' I've been running ever since."

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