The 2009 Creativity 50: David Droga

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David Droga
David Droga
In these trying economic times, many ad folks, not unlike those in every other industry, nervously chew their collective finger nails about what the near future holds. But David Droga remains cautiously optimistic. And why shouldn't he?

This last year has been a damn good one for Droga5. The ongoingTap Projectfor UNICEF continued in cities around the world, and the mobile- and incentive-based Million pilot project launched with the NYC Department of Education. The agency also continued its streak of films that gain insane online popularity—something that began with Ecko's "Still Free" in 2006 and continued in 2008 with Net10's monster-spawning "Microwave," Sarah Silverman stumping for Obama in "The Great Schlep" and a look at what happens when Guitar Hero goes analog on the streets in Activision's "Bike Hero." The shop also grew substantially this year. But it's not the growth itself that excites Droga, rather the way it happened. "We doubled in size and, more importantly, we grew the right way," he says. "Fundamentally we're still a creativity-led company and we're not afraid of growth. A lot of companies have caps on how big they want to get but I think that's bullshit as long as you're able to stay true to who you are and as long as how you interview the 150th person is the same as how you interview the 20th."

Although Droga recently saw Publicis put to rest Honeyshed, his agency's much publicized—and much criticized—online shopping co-venture with Smuggler, he still has plenty to look forward to with new clients Puma and Method. "I love that these brands already have committed followers, which makes it both intimidating and exciting," he says. "These are smart brands run by smart people. They realize great work that's strategically sound and creative can do a lot more heavy lifting than just media dollars. Not that I'm against media dollars but if you can get the right combination, it's perfect. But you also have to look at who's behind these brands and there are some strong characters who believe in marketing—but believe in great marketing, as opposed to going through the motions which, for an agency, is really exciting."

Droga on the agency's growth: "We're lucky we're attracting like-minded people. And it's actually getting easier to figure out who will fit in because the personality of the company is firmly in place, as opposed to at the beginning when you're essentially blue-skying it. I get nervous when anyone new starts, because I want to make sure they add something as opposed to just filling a seat."

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