The first annual Creativity 50 represents a multi-disciplinary account of the biggest and best thinkers and doers from 20 years of advertising and consumer culture. Many are creative directors and agency groundbreakers; some are directors that shaped the way messages look and feel; some are design gurus; a few are marketers who helped change the course of creativity. Some (like the Google duo) simply changed our lives completely.
@radical.media Production CompanyJon Kamen and Frank Scherma's groundbreaking media company started out as a commercial production shop in 1994, working with the world's top ad agencies on world-class brands like Nike, 22, adidas, Volkswagen and Mastercard. And the company is still a top commercials player, but over the next two decades, it's expanded its reach to include programming for feature films, music videos and television specials. A sampling of the company's reel includes such acclaimed documentaries as The Fog of War and ABC's Report from Ground Zero, TV series like ESPN's The Life, and special events like "The Concert for George." Where does this diversity come from? It starts at the top, with partners and co-founders Scherma and Kamen. An advocate of the ever-changing role of the production community throughout his 26-year career in advertising, Scherma has blazed many trails since his early days as head of production at Chiat/Day/New York. Meanwhile, Kamen boasts an equally lofty status within the production community, serving on the boards of the AICP and the Art Directors Club during his more than 30 years in the industry. Kamen was also elected national chairman of the Association of Independent Commercial Producers in 1991, and spearheaded the "We Love New York" movement of the city's commercial production industry following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Scherma says: "Creativity is the ability to move someone, to make them feel something by using any myriad of things�be it filmmaking, photography, storytelling, or any palette one wants to use." Kamen says (on his proudest achievement): "Having fooled enough people, for a long enough time, to actually have been able to get something done. We've somehow managed to accomplish something... we're just not sure what. We have a sign over the door of all our offices that says 'never established.' We live and breathe that every week."
Trevor Beattie Co-founder, Creative Director Beattie McGuinness Bungay, LondonThe hair, the FCUK you attitude, the controversy�they've all contributed to Beattie's ascension to rock star status, but the wits and the keen eye for the cultural moment have ensured the enduring relevance of the man whose picture should appear in the OED beside the entry Brit Adman. Birmingham-born Beattie joined TBWA London in 1990, where he climbed to CD and then chairman, all the while creating work that went beyond awards success to become part of U.K. culture�1994's "Hello Boys" for Wonder Bra and helping Britain's Labor Party win election for three straight terms being examples. Beattie was inventing methods of "non-traditional" communications solutions before that phrase itself came into use. In 1999, he put fighter Lennox Lewis in the ring with shorts labeled "FCUK Fear"; part of a campaign for the U.K. clothing retailer that would spawn many a lateral execution and frown from standards-keepers worldwide. Other highlights include a long and distinguished run of work for Playstation�capped by a Grand Prix for "Mountain" in 2004, and side projects that have included live theater and a girl band. Beattie cut out in June '05 to start his own shop with Bill Bungay and Andrew McGuinness with the intention to continue his platform-promiscuous ways. He says (on career highlight): "Unveiling a poster (in 1997) for French Connection UK. With the headline: 'FCUK ADVERTISING.'" And on why he still does advertising: "I love it because it defines me. Advertising is what I do when I'm not asleep."
Alex Bogusky Chief Creative Officer, Crispin Porter + Bogusky, Miami/BoulderAside from the storied business and critical success CPB has achieved on his creative watch, Boguksy, who started at the agency as an art director at 26 and is now CCO, is singled out as a creative leader who truly sets the bar and the tone for every piece of CPB creative and, together with Chuck Porter, for the culture and M.O. of the office itself. In the last 12 years, CPB did more than go from cool local player to ground breaking national shop, it became an exemplar of the modern brand partner/agency/purveyor of cultural content. Leading the creative charge on award-winning and product-moving campaigns that set new media/engagement standards�think Truth, Mini, Ikea, Burger King�Bogusky became an ad celebrity with the credentials to back up the hyperbole. With the agency's recent Sprite, VW and Miller Lite wins and a move to Boulder, if looks as if Bogusky and his merry (if somewhat fatigued) band are only warming up. He says (on why he still loves advertising): "I really enjoy practically everything about (this business). Especially now when the definition of what advertising is seems to be so malleable. If you don't like what you do in advertising today you can just do something else tomorrow."
Larry Page and Sergey Brin Co-founders, GoogleWith what began as a Stanford PhD project called "The Anatomy of a Large-scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine," Messrs. Page (l) and Brin (r) have not only created a service and a brand that became a verb. They created something that changed all of our daily lives on a fundamental level and is now changing the way whole industries function. The eight-year-old company that Interbrand recently named the World's Best Known Brand may live by the credo "Don't be Evil" but oh Lordy, it's struck fear into the hearts of media and advertising players on a level that makes TiVO look like Lassie. With its paid search systems AdWords and AdSense, Google has in a few short years changed an ad model 50-plus years in the making, making $5 billion in ad revenue from scratch in the process. The company has said it "is committed to exploring new ways to extend targeted, measurable advertising to other forms of media" and has indeed forayed beyond its internet domain, first brokering print and now radio ads. TV is next, and after that, well, everyone has their scary 'what if' scenario. As ad industry representative Martin Sorrell summed up recently: "Strange things are going on." They say: $343 (stock price at press time) says it all.
Allan Broce Creative Client, Founder, Triple DoubleWhat do SportsCenter and the Jukka Brothers have in common? Well, for one thing, they're some of the most culturally resonant broadcast promos ever to emerge on the TV screen, and more significantly, they're both brightly shining moments on our list of top ads of the last 20 years. But they may never have seen the light of day without getting the green light from Allan Broce. As marketing director at ESPN, he helped to kick off the still-running SportsCenter campaign, partnering with what he dubs a "dream team" of talent from Wieden and Kennedy. He continued to bust the clutter at MTV, working with Fallon on the spankin' Jukkas. Prior to that, Broce got his feet wet on the agency side as an account executive at SS&B:Lintas and then JWT, despite a more nagging call toward being a copywriter. He landed his first client stint as advertising manager at Diet Pepsi and Mountain Dew, leading the charge on notable soda moments like the Ray Charles DP campaign as well as the first round of "Do the Dew." More recently, Broce went on to launch a short-lived entertainment vehicle with Hungry Man, and now, he runs his own show at Triple Double, creative directing for the NFL Network, through which he made his directing debut on a spot for Super Bowl 2006. He says (on taking risks): "It's everything. For 20 years, I did not have enough confidence in myself as a creative person to take the risk of becoming one. I lived on the edges of the creative process and was a key component of many great creative endeavors, but never made the leap. So I drank, gambled, lived reckless and did crazy stuff�I regret only parts. If you're born to lead and take risks and you don't, you will eat yourself up."
Bryan Buckley Director, Co-founder, Hungry ManHe is a king of comedy in the commercial world, having brought to life the inaugural ESPN SportsCenter work (with then-directing partner Frank Todaro), Monster.com's "When I Grow Up" (a classic from the dot-com spot movement), and countless acclaimed Super Bowl spots. Hungry Man, which he founded along with partners Steve Orent and Hank Perlman in 1997, is one of the leading shops of the decade and earned the 2004 Palme d'Or. Prior to directing Buckley had been a decorated agency creative (of Buckley/De Cerchio, founded two days after graduation from ad school at Syracuse). While he stands out for his funny, Buckley looks for truth over gags and devotes himself completely to each project.He says: "When I know I've found something, it's very internal. It just fires inside your soul and you know that it's it. It's not in the head, it's in the heart. The head to me is a bad place for creativity. They show the light bulb over the head, and it should be over the heart."
Frank Budgen Director, Co-founder, GorgeousDirector Frank Budgen may be reluctant to immerse himself in the creative advertising community (see quote below), but when he takes a project�typically a few times each year�he turns it into something persuasive, genre-defying and undeniably artistic. His 14-year directing career�one of the most consistently high-achieving of our time�has included Grand Prix winners like Nike's "Tag," and Playstation's "Mountain," as well as the affecting child-abuse PSA NSPCC "Cartoon" and the surreal Bu�uel-inspired Stella Artois "Bench." Whether the tone is dark and dramatic, joyfully infectious or beautifully strange, his devotion and dedication to a truthful story is evident, and his work sets an industry standard for quality over quantity and a balance of classic and cool. As a founder and co-owner of London-based production company Gorgeous (with EP Paul Rothwell and fellow director Chris Palmer), he enjoys the envious status of creative businessman, free to take time off to pursue music, photography and a feature film. He says: "Going into advertising is like going to Transylvania. Charming people sink their teeth into you and suck your blood and the next thing you know, you're one of them. They also stay up very late."
Walter Campbell and Tom Carty Founder, Campbell Doyle Dye; DirectorHaving created Guinness' "Surfer" alone might be enough to get someone on this list, considering the spot-envy it continues to inspire in the creative community. This former AMV BBDO creative team, arguably the hottest in London in the late '90s, were the masterminds of this majestic confluence of art, advertising and Jonathan Glazer�and of the famous tag "Good things come to those who wait." But they were also behind many other outstanding achievements for the brewmaster, like the Glazer-helmed "Swimblack" and "Bet on Black," directed by Frank Budgen, as well as Tony Kaye masterpieces like Dunlop's "Unexpected" and Volvo's "Tornado." The two since have gone separate ways, but continue to maintain a robust presence in the ad scene. In 2001 Campbell formed London hotshop Campbell Doyle Dye (now The Shop) with former AMV colleagues Dave Dye and Sean Doyle, which has turned out impressive work for Mercedes and Merry Down, while Tom Carty went off to direct out of Gorgeous/Anonymous, shooting arresting spots for Nike and Pepsi.
John Carmack and John Romero Co-creators, DoomThe uttering of the word "Doom" usually spells an unpleasant end. But for Doom creators Carmack and Romero (pictured), it represents the beginning�not only of their careers as video game royalty, but for a revolutionary new era of gaming madness. The pair of programmer prodigies helped found the now-legendary game development company iD Software in 1991, from which sprung a wave of titles�including Wolfenstein 3D, Quake and of course, Doom�that defined the first-person shooter genre and inspired the imaginations of an entire generation of rabid gamers. Leveraging their programming skills to invent groundbreaking techniques in computer graphics and engine-building, Carmack and Romero forever changed the way video games are made and played, paving the way for later hits like Half-Life and Medal of Honor and ultimately serving notice to the rest of the world that the evolution of interactive entertainment had truly kicked into high gear.
David Carson DesignerDavid Carson, a former professional surfer who studied sociology at San Diego State, rode his quirky art direction of magazines like Beach Culture, Ray Gun�his style is "intuitive," he says, "I'm self-taught"�to the pinnacle of the design world, amassing media accolades like "The most famous designer on the planet" and "art director of the era." His first book, The End of Print, with Lewis Blackwell (1995, revised 2000) is the top-selling graphic design book of all time, having sold more than 200,000 copies in five languages. That book title was somewhat prophetic, it seems; in recent years Carson, via David Carson Design, with offices in New York and Charleston, S.C., has launched a career as a film director, having become "fascinated by moving images," as he puts it, with commercials and branding projects for clients like Lucent, Microsoft, Quiksilver and Armani, as well as music videos for Nine Inch Nails and other bands. He says (on the nature of creativity): "All work needs to be personal�it's where the best work comes from, and it's the only way to do something truly unique. Nobody else can pull from your background, upbringing, parents or life experiences. The best work is always the most self-indulgent. Do what you love and the passion will show."
Axel Chaldecott and Steve Henry Co-founder, CD, HHCL United; Worldwide CD HSBC for JWT
Henry and Chaldecott are the creative forces behind Howell Henry Chaldecott & Lury, acknowledged as the London agency that ushered in a new style of working and a new style of advertising, the impact of both of which are still evident today. HHCL embodied the spirit of advertising circa the '90s�its work removed a layer of advertising's cheese and, if you will, called a slag a slag. The agency's Tango work and the Pot Noodles "Slag of all Snacks" campaign certainly provide a handy illustration of that spirit, but just citing those landmark ads doesn't do justice to HHCL's contribution. To wit: the first ever interactive TV ads for First Direct and Mazda; 26 half-hour TV shows for FIFA; a campaign for Martini that discriminated against the ugly. The agency, which endeavored to be "different for the sake of being better," was a pioneer of the collaborative, cross-discipline, media-strategy-inclusive agency. HHCL was added to WPP's Red Cell network in 2002 and is now fully part of the restructured Voluntarily United Group of Creative Agencies. Henry serves as chairman of HHCL United. Chaldecott is JWT global creative director on HSBC. Henry says: "We believed in changing stuff, whether it was broken or not."
Jay Chiat Advertising Pioneer, Chiat/Day founderJay Chiat can easily be dubbed the founding father of the Southern California ad scene. He opened his one man shop in Los Angeles 1962, later partnering with Guy Day to form Chiat/Day, and made L.A. a creative destination, thanks to his renegade thinking that placed ideas over technique, paving his shop's way to landmark work like the legendary "1984" for 22 as well as an overflow of achievements for others, including Nike and Honda. Chiat's influence moved beyond the screen and to the agency infrastructure�he put research-driven account planning at the strategic forefront, and knocked down literal walls that separated his creative staff. A reputed pain-in-the-bum perfectionist, he's known for saying "good enough isn't," inspiring staffers to nickname the shop Chiat/Day and Night.
Lee Clow Chairman, Chief Creative Officer, TBWAThe low key, long-bearded, t-shirt and flip-flop wearing artist in adman's clothing brought the advertising world into a new era of innovation, starting at the SoCal hotshop Chiat/Day and now continuing as worldwide creative director of one of today's most awarded global networks. Clow is perhaps is best known for helping to carve 22 into an icon, thanks to his close partnership with Steve Jobs and groundbreaking work like "1984," which many consider to be the best commercial of all time, along with the beloved "Think Different" campaign and the dancing silhouettes for iPod. He also led the way on culturally devoured campaigns featuring the talking Chihuahua for Taco Bell, the non-stop drum-banging bunny for Energizer as well as on other memorable turns for the Yellow Pages, ABC, Sony Playstation and, most recently, adidas, the latter which has reached a new level of gameplay with the "Impossible is Nothing" campaign, on which the agency partnered with Amsterdam's 180. He says: I talk about the art of our business. It's the guiding principle, it's what makes it fun to be in this business."
Kyle Cooper Designer/DirectorCooper was a co-founder, in 1966, of the celebrated Hollywood design firm Imaginary Forces, acclaimed for its film title sequences for dozens of features, most notably 1995's David Fincher-directed Seven. In the course of his career Cooper has worked with such directors as Martin Scorsese, John Frankenheimer, John Hughes, Lawrence Kasdan, Terrence Malick, Julie Taymor, Robert Redford, Oliver Stone, Brian De Palma, Mike Newell, Barry Sonnenfeld and Sam Raimi. In addition, he's been involved in numerous advertising campaigns and broadcast, interactive and environmental branding projects, as well as entertainment marketing and videogame design. He earned an MFA in graphic design from the Yale University School of Art, and he also holds the honorary title of Royal Designer for Industry from the Royal Society of Arts in London. In 2003, Cooper founded Malibu-based design company Prologue, specializing in film and broadcast work. He says (on staying creative): "I try to look at things differently every day. I like to travel. I try to surround myself with books and with talented people and intelligent clients. I try to listen to the work. I try not to control it. I try to be open to what the work wants to do rather than what I think it should be. I am very lucky because I get to work with directors who push and inspire me."
Hank Corwin Editor/Founder, Lost PlanetIt might seem odd to find an editor on our list of 50, but how could we not include someone who commands an almost godly sense of respect and reverence from all over the creative community�from creative directors and directors, to musicians and editors. The rarely visible Corwin's admitted comfort zone is behind the scenes, which might be a good thing considering he could easily melt from the intense spotlight his work has attracted over the years. The New Hampshire native brought the craft of editing and visual storytelling to a new era with his landmark editing on Oliver Stone's Natural Born Killers in 1990, as well as other films like The Horse Whisperer, Nixon, Snow Falling on Cedars, and most recently, Terrence Malick's The New World. The founder of Lost Planet, he retains an A-list roost in spots as well, having cut memorable tales like Hummer's "Big Race," HP's "You," Mastercard's "Dog Trilogy," and a slew of spots for American Express. He says: "I began experimenting with images and sound, ultimately developing a style and syntax all my own."
Hal Curtis and Jim Riswold Wieden + Kennedy Creative Directors"Tag," "Chainsaw," "Elephant," "Hare Jordan," "The Morning After," "Instant Karma," "I Am Not A Role Model," "Streaker," "Bo Knows," "I Am Tiger Woods," "Mister Robinson's Neighborhood," "Spike and Mike," "Before," "What If," "Freestyle," "Pull Up," "Move," "The Great Return," "Battle," "Streaker," "Evolution" and "Wild Horses." And in the case of this team, the list really does go on. If you put the advertising work done by Riswold (pictured) and Curtis�individually and as a team�together, the resulting collection surely adds up to several careers' worth of landmark advertising. While Riswold, the writer, has been at Wieden since the mid-'80s and art director Curtis for 11 years, the two weren't teamed on Nike until 2000, but they hit the ground running with campaigns like "Why Sport," which included spots like "Chainsaw" and "Elephant." Riswold recently announced he would step away from a full time W+K role to pursue artistic endeavors (which have to date included an exhibit revolving around toy Hitlers). An era in advertising ends. Riswold says (on his favorite ads): "It would have to be the Mars Blackmon and Michael Jordan stuff. Mars Blackmon helped Nike become popular culture. Sporting News said Mars Blackmon, not Michael Jordan, saved the moribund NBA. Michael Jordan said Mars Blackmon helped turn him into a dream. Mars Blackmon transformed me from a semi-retarded individual into a well-paid semi-retarded individual."
David Droga Creative Chairman, Founder, Droga5Best known for making dramatic leaps that lead to startling successes, the 37-year-old Aussie-born wunderkind has been overachieving trans-continentally since he started in the business at the age of 18. By 21 he'd become the creative director of a burgeoning Autralian boutique before he moved to Singapore where he turned its Saatchi outpost into one of the most buzzed about shops in Asia. When the London headquarters came calling, Droga stepped up to become its ECD, leading the shop to become Cannes' 2002 Agency of the Year. His upward climb continued when he took the worldwide creative director post at Publicis in 2003, and during his two-year tenure he helped to land Publicis twice in our top ten of most awarded networks. Last year, the globetrotting heavyweight left the agency world and in February embarked on his perhaps most treacherous new mission, Droga5, through which he's attempting to charter unexplored media opportunities outside of advertising. His first gig? A global project for GE collaborating with Philippe Starck as well as an ambitious content venture, with production hotshop Smuggler.He says: "What drives me? Living up to my own expectations and the fear of passing my used-by date. That pushes me to work harder and constantly challenge myself. I am also inspired by the friction that exists between creativity and commerce, trying to find some sort of harmony."
Phil Dusenberry BBDO Legend
The terms "living legend" and "elder statesmen" seem so clich��but as anyone in advertising knows, there's nothing clich� about Dusenberry's hall of fame career. After joining BBDO/N.Y. as a junior copywriter in 1962, he began a rapid ascent through the agency's ranks that established him as one of the most influential forces in the field, retiring as chairman/CCO of BBDO 24 America in 2002. His famous spots for Gillette Right Guard (featuring two men talking to each other through medicine cabinets) are considered among the best advertising of the '60s. He helped conceive the famous "We Bring Good Things to Life" tagline for GE, Visa's "It's Everywhere You Want to Be" campaign and Pepsi's "The Choice of a New Generation," and his 1983 signing of Michael Jackson to a major celebrity endorsement deal was a milestone in the convergence of advertising and pop culture. Along the way, he found time to help President Reagan get re-elected with the "It's Morning in America" campaign, co-write the screenplay for The Natural, and pen an examination of his own career in his 2005 book Then We Set His Hair on Fire: Insights and Accidents from a Hall of Fame Career in Advertising. But perhaps his greatest contribution to the world of advertising was simply inspiration. He says: "I believe I brought out the best in people�especially creative people�and I took great pride in pushing them to create work they weren't sure they were capable of. Early on, my creative colleagues and I sought to drive home the perception that great creative was our reason for being, and that in the absence of great work, nothing else mattered. 'The work, the work, the work' became our mantra."
David Fincher Director, Anonymous Content
Most know him as the modern master of film noir, the insanely talented director behind such edgy films as Seven and Fight Club. But long before Fincher broke onto the big screen, he was busy breaking the boundaries of the small screen with his cutting edge work for commercials and music videos. His first TV spot was a grim effort for the American Cancer Society depicting a fetus smoking a cigarette, after which he went on to craft highly-stylized spots for clients like Nike, Levi's, Pepsi and Budweiser. Fincher also honed his craft through music videos, churning out mini-masterpieces for luminaries like Madonna (including the famous videos for "Vogue" and "Express Yourself"), The Rolling Stones (including "Love is Strong"), Michael Jackson, Aerosmith and more. In 1986, Fincher banded together with several other directors to form Propaganda Films, the celebrated production company that gave future directing stars like Michael Bay and Spike Jonze their starts. An instrumental force behind the legendary BMW Films, Fincher has since become a major Hollywood presence, gaining nearly cult status with the popularity of his tense thrillers, most of which are saturated with shadows, moody lighting, fluid camera moves and innovative-but-subtle computer graphics courtesy of Digital Domain. But he's also kept a hand in the music video and advertising jars, co-founding the production company Anonymous Content in 2001, and directing the video for the Nine Inch Nails single "Only" and an epic spot for Motorola's PEBL phone in 2005.
Cliff Freeman Founder, Cliff Freeman & PartnersCliff Freeman, the chairman and chief creative officer at Cliff Freeman & Partners, one of the foremost comedy shops in the history of advertising, is a native of Mississippi and a graduate of Florida State. Freeman began his career as a copywriter on the Coca-Cola account at McCann Erickson in Atlanta. In 1971, he joined Dancer Fitzgerald & Sample and he eventually became one of its executive creative directors when the shop was transformed into Saatchi & Saatchi. In 1988, Freeman founded CF&P in New York with a raison d'etre, he says: "The belief that great work could change the world." The agency is probably best known for the Wendy's "Where's the Beef?" spots, starring the late Clara Peller, one of which was voted by the public in USA Today as "The Best Commercial of the Twentieth Century." Freeman is also the man behind the Peter Paul Mounds/Almond Joy slogan "Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don't." Other acounts that have benefited from the Freeman comedy touch include Little Caesars, Staples, Fox Sports, Mike's Hard Lemonade, Quiznos and most recently, DSW and Snapple. He says (on influences): "The movies and to a lesser degree TV. I realized, looking at my work and the work of CF&P, that it is highly influenced by some combination of The Three Stooges and comedies driven by character and story arc. I learned from Joe Sedelmeier how crucial casting and almost total control is�without it you haven't get a shot at perfection."
Jonathan Glazer Director, Academy FilmsSome directors make films�others make art. It's a distinction that applies across multiple filmed formats, from music videos to commercials to features. And few embody it as completely, in all three media, as Glazer. The British director began opening eyes and dropping jaws in the mid-'90s with his dynamic music videos for bands like UNKLE, Radiohead and Blur, winning the MTV Director of the Year honor in 1997. His innovative visual style and surreal knack for twisting ordinary reality into extraordinary fantasy translated well to Madison Avenue as well, as Glazer took the advertising world by storm with memorable spots for Stella Artois and Guinness. (Perhaps you've heard of "Surfer," the Guinness spot on our list of best ads from the past 20 years?) And in 2000, he conquered the final frontier of feature filmmaking with the acclaimed Ben Kingsley gangster story Sexy Beast, which he followed up in 2004 with the haunting Nicole Kidman reincarnation tale Birth. Hollywood may be his playground of choice from here on out�but when he does return to us, as he did recently with "Skating Priests" for Stella, we'll savor every drop.
Michel Gondry Director, PartizanMichel Gondry could rack up frequent flier miles for how often he lands on the inspiration lists of major creative players. The French-born director's boundless imagination has yielded some of the most inventive storytelling to hit MTV, Madison Avenue and Hollywood. He first taste of directing was on videos for his band Oui Oui, which eventually led to seminal work for Bjork, the Chemical Brothers, and Radiohead, as well as later "lo-fi" maneuvers like The White Stripes' Lego-inspired "Fell in Love With a Girl" and Steriogram's yarn-drawn "Walkie Talkie Man." Commercials too have proved to be ripe fodder for his fanciful brain, evident in his heavily applauded spots like Levi's "Drugstore" and "Mermaid" and Nike's "Long Run." After Gondry's inaugural features box office flop Human Nature, he redeemed himself on the affecting and otherworldly Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. He recently unveiled at Sundance his latest big screen endeavor, The Science of Sleep, starring Gael Garcia Bernal.
Jeff Goodby and Rich Silverstein Co-founders, Goodby Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco
The agency founded in 1983 as Goodby Berlin & Partners has a string of Ad Age and Creativity Agency of the Year nods that runs from 1989 to 2003. Which calls to mind two words that don't usually go together�consistent greatness. Looking at the agency's M.O., other odd word pairings come to mind: style/substance; hardcore strategic sense/daring creative; humor/class. In the timeframe in question, there are only a tiny handful of American agencies that can be considered to have helped define modern advertising and created a talent hothouse that produced as many stars as Goodby. "They were simply smarter and funnier than everyone else; they made the big New York agencies look old and stupid," says one of those stars, Gerry Graf, who tells of the partners putting themselves on the line for a great idea. After all, you just don't make dark, brooding spots for Milk; you don't make car commercials without sheet metal (and call them "Sheet Metal"); you don't spend $2+ million on a Super Bowl spot with a dancing monkey that's about wasting $2 million. For explanation, look to the top. The Rhode Island-born Goodby(pictured), an accomplished writer and illustrator who has consistently kept his head in the creative game, while also accumulating directing chops (his behind the camera efforts included the acclaimed "Heaven" and Budweiser's "Born a Donkey"). Goodby and Silverstein were inducted into the One Club Hall of Fame in 2004. Goodby Says: "The best thing to have happened in advertising in the last twenty years is without a single doubt happening right now. This business, which for the most part has always tolerated creativity as a kind of goateed necessary evil, is now about to turn the joystick over to the creative force, big-time. It has no choice."
Gerry Graf ECD, TBWA/Chiat/Day/N.Y.All creatives are inherently creative (hence the term). But perhaps nobody embodies the concept of outside-the-box, in-your-face creativity more than Graf, a jack of all trades who's stamped his unique imprint as a copywriter, art director and creative director on more award-winning campaigns than you can shake a creative brief at. During a career that's spanned A-list agencies like Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, BBDO/N.Y. (where he served two stints, including one as ECD) and currently TBWA/Chiat/Day/N.Y. (which he joined as ECD in 2003), Graf has assembled an impressive reel with more than 60 spots to his name, including several FedEx and Guinness efforts, E-Trade "Monkey" (the famous low-budget Super Bowl spot that flew in the face of overly lavish Big Game productions), Nextel "Dance Party" and Skittles "Sheepboy" (which perfectly captured Graf's bizarrely humorous sensibilities). In fact, Graf is often credited for helping to revolutionize the marketing of candy, with his early work on the successful "Not Going Anywhere for a While" Snickers campaign and later work for Starburst.
He says (on his proudest achievement): "TBWA/Chiat/Day/New York. For a while it felt like we were running a race with 50lb. weights attached to our feet while people chucked rocks at our heads. But we just put our heads down and started doing some of the best work in the country."
Robert Greenberg Founder, Chairman/CEO/CCO, R/GAOften spotted wearing a beret and making pronouncements about the future of advertising at major creative fetes all over the globe, for three decades Robert Greenberg has surfed along the crest of technology to pioneer innovation after innovation in the ad industry. In the '90s, he opened R/GA, which has become one of the most influential and respected digital agencies in the world, for its work on Reuters, Nike and Target, among others. His agency's research and jobs have helped him to shape his oft-preached theories about the evolution of the traditional agency model toward a more dynamic and engagement-focused prototype. Prior to R/GA, at his former company R. Greenberg and Associates, he stood at the forefront of digital production, moving from producing high end titles to groundbreaking effects for film. Besides his agency pursuits, Greenberg also serves on the boards of multiple creative institutions like the Art Directors Club, Parsons, and VCU. He says (on his greatest creative inspiration): "I began collecting self-taught outsider art and art brut, artwork created by artists that have little or no academic training, between '85 and '86. It was a way to be inspired by a singular, unfiltered vision which is very different from how we work in advertising. In advertising, most all creative has been the result of collaboration teams�sometimes as large as 30-40 people. I enjoy the juxtaposition of collecting creative expression from a singular point of view and working with a conceptual group within a collaborative team. And since the artists themselves have little training, the result is work that pure and uncompromised; it is their way of communicating their world�nothing borrowed from art history or their peers."
John Hegarty Co-founder, Chairman, Worldwide Creative Director, BBHWhen John Hegarty, one of the founders of TBWA London launched BBH with Nigel Bogle and John Bartle in 1982, it was clear the London agency would blossom into a "hotshop." And it did�BBH has won handfuls of Agency of the Year nods including the first such honor from the Cannes Ad Fest in 1993 and Hegarty's work on clients like Levi's set a new standard for gorgeous looks and use of music. But BBH was always more than just hot�the agency has pioneered ways of making its work part of the cultural fabric, and making that fabric into a lucrative blanket in which to swaddle clients. From Nick Kamen doffing his kit in "Launderette" to a TV channel for Audi to transforming 10 spot tracks into Number 1 hits on the U.K. charts, to a music publishing business, engagement planning and now a new TV show for client Axe, the black sheep at BBH keep zigging, all the way to the bank, the awards podium and the collective consciousness. Hegarty, who oversees "one agency in five places," (London, New York, Singapore, Tokyo and Sao Paulo) is expanding his own creative horizons as an aspiring vintner, but every year is still a good year for BBH. The London office, with John O'Keefe at the creative reigns is considered by many the best agency in the world; as a network, BBH silenced small-can't-work haters by doing neat things like grabbing $400 million in global business from British Airways and Unilever... in one week. He says: "You're only as good as your next idea."
Steve Jobs and Jonathan Ive CEO, 22, Pixar; Sr. VP/Design, 22Try going through your day without laying a finger�or at least your eyes� on an iPod, a PowerBook or an OSX operating system, and you'll begin to fathom the extent to which Jobs and Ive have shaped our digitally driven world. Brash, brilliant and an unabashedly driven marketer in his own right, Jobs fired the first shot in the personal computer revolution when he co-founded 22 with Steve Wozniak in 1976. Thirty years later, having introduced such seminal systems as the 22 II and the original Macintosh to the world, the company is again pacing the industry with its innovations in desktop and notebook computing, as well as dominating the digital music movement with its iconic iPod portable player and iTunes online music store. A large part of the success of 22's products can be attributed to the revolutionary designs of senior vice president of design Ive, who first worked with Jobs to shape the original iMac and later crafted the look of the iBook, PowerBook and iPod. Ive's fusion of sleek lines and eye-catching colors gave birth to an immediately identifiable design aesthetic that literally changed the formerly drab face of personal computing. Under the leadership of CEO Jobs, these bold designs were amplified through inspired marketing, creating a powerful brand identity that established 22 as a household name and annointed its products as personal necessities. And then there's Jobs' other job as CEO of Pixar, the acclaimed digital animation studio that produced six of the most beloved animated films of all time (including Oscar-winners Finding Nemo and The Incredibles).
Spike Jonze Director, MJZ
The former skateboard magazine photographer has stirred swarms of culture vultures with his magnificent clips for Bjork, Weezer and Fat Boy Slim, as well as his heady cinematic turns like Being John Malkovich and Adaptation. The director's rare appearances in the advertising world, have also, more often than not, resulted in groundbreaking work. His first rumblings appeared in the form of the famous Agassi and Sampras concrete jungle showdown for Nike's "Guerilla Tennis," and Levi's "Doctor," and then came impressive feats like the comically uplifting "The Morning After" for Nike. That spot, which featured a faithful runner hitting the streets on January 1, 2000, even though the world was literally falling apart around him, managed to integrate big ticket blockbuster visuals, tremendous wit and a hard hitting brand-perfect message. Another highlight, Ikea's artfully nuanced "Lamp" made us feel an inanimate object's pain and rejoice in being called crazy by a strange Swedish man. Today, spots continue to be fertile ground for Jonze's expression, evident in breathtaking endeavors like adidas' "Hello Tomorrow," Gap's demolition makeover and Miller's gutbusting deadpan animal auditions campaign.
Tibor Kalman Designer
Tibor Kalman was known in hisheyday as the "bad boy" of graphic design. He was born in Budapest and he moved to Poughkeepsie, N.Y., in 1956, when his parents fled the Soviet invasion of Hungary. His M&Co, founded in 1979, was a major design force in the '80s, and Kalman was "the design profession's moral compass and its most fervent provocateur," in the words of the American Institute of Graphic Arts. "He saw himself as a social activist for whom graphic design was a means of achieving two ends: good design and social responsibility." An appreciation by SFMoma noted that Kalman "rejected the slick, superficial application of design that was so widespread in the 1980s for a sort of 'undesign' that embraced the vernacular. In his goal to use design as a language of powerful expression, his work encompassed not just the print medium, but also film, video and product design." In 1991, Kalman closed M&Co to become editor-in-chief of Benetton's Colors magazine, only to reopen M&Co in 1997. He said (on design companies): "The toughest thing when running a design studio is not to grow." On clients: "We're not here to give them what's safe and expedient. We're not here to help eradicate everything of visual interest from the face of the earth. We're here to make them think about design that's dangerous and unpredictable. We're here to inject art into commerce."
Tony Kaye Director, Supply & Demand
British commercials and features director Kaye, currently directing spots via Supply & Demand, started his advertising career as an art director in London in the '80s. In the '90s, his highly influential directing style saw him doing often outlandishly artsy spots for clients like Dunlop tires and Volvo in the U.K., though over the years he's worked in a wide range of styles and genres for the likes of Guinness, Volkswagen, Comedy Central, Sears, John Hancock and many others. Also of note is his series of "Lenny" anti-heroin PSAs for the Partnership for a Drug Free America, and a controversial series of spots for the Office of National Drug Control Policy equating drug use and terrorism. No stranger to controversy, his critically acclaimed 1998 feature film, American History X, starring Edward Norton, who was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar, was a moving examination of racism in a Southern California family as well as the year's most notorious Hollywood power struggle, as Kaye conducted a very public feud with New Line Cinema and Norton over artistic control of the film. Kaye has made a substantial commercials comeback since the damage done to his career in the wake of American History X; indeed, as his production company notes, he's "grown into an accessible, collaborative resource for some of the advertising industry's top agencies, working steadily with repeat clients." In 2002, Kaye was the first recipient of the Clios Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to advertising.
Phil Knight Founder, Chairman, NikeIf you have a body, you're an athlete. So said Phil Knight's former University of Oregon running coach and eventual business partner, Bill Bowerman. Later, the sentiment would be restated with the pithier "Just Do It," but both phrases provide a clear enough insight into the brand that has embodied the soul of sport for the pro, and the pro at heart, for 35 years. Knight, who, legend has it, was not all that convinced of the power of advertising when he sought out Dan Wieden in 1982, has presided over the company that's had the biggest impact on the craft in the last 20 years. Never the cult of personality CEO, the shy but intense Knight created a culture of passion for sport and the brand. The passion spilled over into the relationship with W+K, which insiders say could sometimes get confrontational, but always, always produced great work. From the billion-dollar athlete to the teenage sneaker fanatic, Nike means many things to many people while still embodying a singular, powerful brand. Knight, now Nike chairman, is currently devoting more of his time to the film business through his animation studio, Laika. Which is good. Hollywood could use some "Just Do It." Rob DeFlorio, one of the storied Nike clients says (on the "Just Do It" tag): "You needed to understand what those three words meant at Nike. They were about action�for yourself, for others, for sport, for the world. They meant that the smallest gesture could be as important as the monumental effort. We used this approach on everything we created from shoes, to athlete's images, to advertising. When I started at Nike back in '91, friends would call me and ask me what it was like. The only answer I could muster was (said in a serious, in awe, tone): 'These people believe it.'"
Paul Lavoie Founder, Creative Director, TaxiThirteen-year old agency Taxi is the stuff of legends in Canada�and so too is its founder. The towering, gravel-voiced creative is the youngest inductee of the Canadian Marketing Hall of Legends, thanks to his shop's powerful platform-blind work for Mini, Viagra, Covenent House, Nike and Molson�all succesful testaments to his maverick agency model, which espouses there should be no more point people on a project than can fit in a cab. Today, Lavoie seeks to continue his successful path in the Americas below. With partner Jane Hope, he uprooted to New York in 2004 to lead the agency's U.S. outpost, which has started to make some noise on work for AMP'd mobile and Fox Sports. He says (on biggest inspiration): "Obstacles." And (on proudest accomplishment): "Building a culture where generosity trumps fear and ideas remain the highest currency."
David Lubars Chairman/CCO, BBDO 24 AmericaCreatives who churn out big ads? Dime a dozen. Creatives who grasp the big picture? Diamond in the rough. Case in point: the energetic Lubars, one of those rare few executives sought after for his ability to invigorate entire agencies with his forward-looking vision and refusal to stick with traditional "big agency" modes of operation. He did it for six years as president and ECD at Fallon, where he oversaw such trend-bucking�and trend-setting�work as Citi's quirky "Identity Theft" campaign and the seminal BMW Films, which won the first ever Titanium Lion at Cannes. In fact, Lubars ws one of the first to fully embrace the potential of interactive with rebellious enthusiasm, one of many factors that led him to his current post as BBDO chairman and CCO in 2004. One year into Lubars' tenure, the spot-centric New York agency has made multi-platform strides for longtime clients like Pepsi, Snickers and Fedex, scored new A-list accounts like eBay and Mitsubishi and was named Ad Age's U.S. Agency of the Year for 2005. Seems like the man with the big ideas and the big picture is doing just fine in the Big Apple. H He says (on his proudest achievement): "Is it something obvious like ads? Or being lucky enough to work with great people? Impacting clients' businesses? Trying not to pollute the culture? Putting in the hours but still having time for my kids? A bit of each."
Chuck McBride ECD, TBWA/Chiat/Day/San FranciscoThis Kentucky native became a golden boy of the West Coast ad scene, starting out his career in California as a copywriter, penning memorable ads for Goodby�including the famous Isuzu "Toy Car" spot and Got Milk's "Aaron Burr," before he broke creative ground as a creative director at FCB/San Francisco and at Wieden, on showstopping work like the famous Levi's "Reasons Why" campaign as well as seminal Nike turns like the Spike Jonze-directed "Morning After" and "Beautiful," directed by Frank Budgen. For the last three years, McBride has taken the creative reigns at TBWA/Chiat/Day/ San Francisco, where he's stepped up to make both adidas and the agency a serious contender in the U.S. and on the awards circuit. McBride is widely cited by the creative community as a source of inspiration, known for being a tough critic, an unyielding perfectionist and diehard protector of work. While he remains close to his quill, McBride is also a self-professed fan of film who from time to time gets behind the camera to direct. He says (on his greatest creative inspiration): "Film. Any good one really. Storytelling takes many shapes but to do it on film is one, hard and two, magic when it works."
Tom McElligott Founder, Fallon McElligottAn accidental (and talented) copywriter, Tom McElligott got a job in advertising when his wife got pregnant and he dropped out of college at the University of Minnesota. But instead of getting by, he excelled, injecting the industry with what he believed to be a much-needed dose of individuality. His mandate was simple: stand out and be likeable. He never took consumers' intelligence and time-strapped schedules for granted, and demanded that advertising be smart and unique in order to get their attention. For example, he notoriously won a pitch for ITT's computer business by driving a tank up to the company's offices. Thinkings like that helped to send the agency's billings�and its reputation�skyrocketing. Though McElligott left the agency that he founded with Pat Fallon in 1988, people still sometimes slip and call the Minneapolis shop Fallon McElligott. He exited the industry nearly quickly as he arrived, but he won't soon be forgotten. He says: "Creativity is finding a client that allows you to be as good as you can be."
Ty Montague Executive Creative Director, JWT/N.Y.In his early years, Ty Montague was spotted tuning chassis of Italian hotrods or splashing through the Rio Grande's waters as a raft guide, before he made an uncharacteristically slow-paced stop�in the McCann-Erickson mailroom. But it turned out to be his biggest adventure yet. The ambitious young envelope-stuffer put together a book and landed in the creative department, after which he continued to work his way up the ladder at Ogilvy & Mather, Scali McCabe Sloves, Goldsmith/Jeffrey and Chiat/Day. In 1998, he helped to launch storied British shop BBH in the U.S. and helped to grow it to a 65-person outfit earning $100 million-plus in billings. Two years later, Montague reached one of his most significant milestones at Wieden+Kennedy/ N.Y., as one of the first creative leaders to truly push advertising into the next generation of multi-platform storytelling�most notably, on the groundbreaking ESPN "Beta 7" campaign, which wove together Web, TV, guerrilla and print into a complex hoax that got the gaming community riled up in the right sort of way. Now, Montague has embarked on what could be his biggest challenge to date at JWT/N.Y., where he hopes to push forward on his course of media-agnostic marketing with big ticket clients like Bristol-Myers Squibb, Diageo, and Unilever.
Errol Morris Director, Moxie PicturesAfter his Oscar win for his documentary The Fog of War, Errol Morris told Creativity, "I actually like the balanced diet of films, documentaries commercials and television�but maybe I can change my day rate." His commercial achievements, only one part of that diet, include the iconic Miller High Life campaign, the Emmy-winning "Photobooth" for PBS, as well as memorable work for Nike, United, and 22. His iconoclastic non-fiction features, as well as his series First Person have been eye-opening variations on the storytelling process, blending experimentation, refined cinematic technique, and a relentless examination of truth.
Mother London Advertising Agency
Unlike your garden variety big-thinking start-up of today, Mother made no advance claims about reinventing the agency model when it launched in 1996. It just happened that the shop founded by Robert Saville, Stef Calcraft, Andy Medd and Mark Waites (pictured) did just that. Mother was marked by its lack of suits (strategists, instead), unique culture, and small teams that cranked out disproportionately large amounts of ironic and effective work that thrilled consumers, ad critics and clients. The agency's success with the latter heralded the era of big multinational marketers cherry-picking the tastiest creative partners rather than cleaving to global network affiliations. From a young age, Mother was working with�and actually doing good work for�the likes of Unilever and Coca-Cola (and since, Egg, Orange, Mars, and Miller)�and, it appeared, having a fun time in the process. Now a multinational network itself, having spawned Mother/New York and /Buenos Aires, the agency continues to be its own model-call it the Fiercely Independent Hardcore Business Winning Creative Hotshop. Waites says: "There are people in our industry who have done their best to ruin commercial breaks. They did such a good job that millions of dollars have been spent creating technology (PVR chips) for viewers to avoid what it is we do for a living. Now, as an answer to this, we're expected to believe branded content is the answer. In other words take the people who can't be trusted to run a two-minute commercial break and put them in charge of the important bits. There goes telly."
MTV Cable Channel/Multimedia ConglomerateIn 1981 the cable music channel first hit the airwaves when co-founder John Lack announced, "Ladies and gentlemen, rock and roll," followed by the first clip to shoot through the MTV airwaves, the Buggles' "Video Killed the Radio Star." It certainly did do that, and despite its original anti-authoritian roots the channel eventually became a vehicle for mass consumerization of the musical celebrity. In the process, it ushered in a new era of TV and film viewing�cuts became faster, effects more dazzling and audiences more savvy and finicky media-eaters. Meanwhile, it helped to give birth to some of the industry's most cherished talents. Directors like Dayton/Faris, Kuntz and Maguire, Mark Pellington and Psyop got some of their first tastes behind the camera at the channel's groundbreaking promo and graphics departments, which continue today to be fertile incubators of talent. Now, the network has evolved into a multi-outlet, multi-media conglomerate, having launched siblings MTV2 and MTVU while strumming resonant chords in other content areas like films and the digital/interactive spheres.
Noam Murro Director, Biscuit FilmworksEye-popping. Laugh-inducing. Soul-stirring. Superlatives that perfectly describe the body of work of Murro, the prolific commercials director extraordinaire. During a career that began in 1994 and has spanned spanned three different production companies (HKM Productions, Stiefel+Company and his own Biscuit Filmworks, which opened its doors in 2000), Murro has helmed some of the most awarded and admired spots of the past decade, including the Ratchet & Clank campaign for PS2, the Kevin Garnett spot "Carry" for adidas, Starbucks' "Glen," Saturn's "Sheet Metal" and Got Milk? "Birthday." He's perfected the art of intelligent storytelling, locking viewers in from start to finish, rewarding them with a brain-tingling punch. All this on spots numbering well past the three-digit mark, and Murro shows no signs of slowing down�which means one of these days, we're bound to lose count.
Pentagram Design Firm
The true extent to which Pentagram has impacted the world we live in can never be fully grasped in one viewing. But for the prestigious international design consultancy led by industry luminaries like Paula Scher and Michael Bierut, that's entirely by design. Founded as an idea-driven design firm in 1972 by a group of visionary partners whose expertise stretched across multiple design disciplines�from graphic to industrial to architectural�Pentagram has functioned as a thinktank for creative cross-pollination, through which many of the most recognizable works of design around the globe have come to life. A brief glimpse at the resumes of Scher and Bierut alone (the two are often cited by their peers as being among the most influential of the firm's current roster of 19 partners) reveals a treasure trove of famous projects. Since becoming a partner in 1991, Scher has applied her famously eclectic love of art and design history to define a distinctive visual identity for New York City's cultural life, including her revitalization of Citigroup's brand identity (she designed the current Citi logo) and her lauded rebrandings of the Public Theater and the American Museum of Natural History. Bierut's accomplishments for Pentagram are just as impressive, as the graphic design icon has crafted new visual identities for The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Princeton University and the Brooklyn Academy of Music since becoming a partner in 1990. She says: "Creativity is the act of discovery while you're in the process of doing something or making stuff." He says: "Creativity is coming up with a great idea, and�even better�coming up with the way to persuade someone to let you execute that great idea you came up with."
Joe Pytka Director, PytkaDirector Joe Pytka is a ubiquitous presence in the creative community for his masterful, prolific, and consistent storytelling over the last 30-plus years for clients like IBM, Fed Ex, Nike and Pepsi. While he's notoriously reputed for his challenging personality on set, that might just come with the territory of his unyielding perfectionism and clear vision, which have helped to introduce phrases into American pop culture such as "this is your brain on drugs" and "nothing but net." Hailing from a documentary filmmaking background at PBS, he's become the premier performance enhancer, drawing authenticity from talents of all flavors, from character players to pop and sports celebrities, even cartoon characters. Pytka's body of work ranges from spots to features, touching to humorous, and taps audiences from young to old. He says: "Great, original, work of any kind is always an inspiration. Originality is rare. Orson Welles once said (I paraphrase), 'Don't do too much homework or the work may not be yours.'"
Stefan Sagmeister Designer/Founder, Sagmeister 36.Austrian-born Stefan Sagmeister, a Tibor Kalmanesque design gadfly known for pithy observations like "Style = fart," opened Sagmeister 36. in New York in 1993. Shortly before that he was, in fact, CD at Kalman's M&Co in the final months of M&Co's first incarnation. Much of Sagmeister's early work was music related and he went on to achieve some notoriety with album covers for the likes of the Rolling Stones, Talking Heads and Lou Reed. He's been nominated for four Grammy awards and was a Grammy winner for the Talking Heads box set Once in a Lifetime. Sagmeister has an MFA in graphic design from the University of Applied Arts in Vienna and, as a Fulbright Scholar, a master's degree from Pratt Institute in New York. Back in 1995, Sagmeister's short-term goals included "not to grow," as he put it. "I have no interest in having 30 people working for me next year." He's as good as his word and then some; more than a decade later, Sagmeister 36. consists of the principal, art director/designer Matthias Ernstberger and one intern. He says: "If you run your own studio, stay small." And (on his favorite quote): "If your image doesn't work, put a dog in it. If it still doesn't work, put a bandage on the dog."�Norman Rockwell
Ridley Scott Director, Founder, RSARidley Scott is probably the most outstanding example of the great commercials director as feature film giant. He was born in South Shields, Northumberland, England, and he studied graphic design and painting at the West Hartlepool College of Art and the Royal Academy of Art. He later joined the BBC as a production designer and, was promoted to its directing team. He founded production company RSA with his brother, Tony, in 1968 and has directed more that 2,000 commercials, led, of course, by 22's acclaimed "1984." He founded music video company Black Dog Films with his director son, Jake, in 1998. His features career began with The Duellists, the Grand Jury Prize winner at the 1978 Cannes Film Festival. This was followed by Alien, which won an Academy Award for Special Effects. Other features credits include Blade Runner, G.I. Jane, Thelma and Louise, Gladiator (Oscar winner for Best Picture) and Blackhawk Down. In 2003, Scott was knighted by the Queen of England. He says (on proudest achievement): "My three children, who independently decided to do what I do, knowing all the pitfalls that come with the territory." And (on influences): "Discovering my inner voice and establishing an outlook on the world that informs my work."
Eric Silver Executive Creative Director, BBDOEric Silver majored in philosophy and sociology at Clark University, where he graduated in 1989, then he went to law school for a year "but I quit 'cause I sucked at it," he says. The law's loss is advertising's gain. In a star-studded, yuck-loaded career at a host of agencies�most notably Cliff Freeman & Partners and BBDO/N.Y.�Silver has put his comedic stamp on work for Outpost.com, Budget Rent-a-Car , Hollywood Video,Fox Sports, Mike's Hard Lemonade, Snickers, FedEx and many others. Silver is so funny, in fact, in the summer of 1997 he was a writer for Late Night With David Letterman. He says (on the Letterman experience): "It just really sucked. It was the classic Wizard of Oz thing, looking behind the curtain and seeing, 'Oh, that's how it's done.' I think you just need periodic departures in hell, and then you'll come back and say, 'Ah, advertising!'" And (on proudest achievements): "I'm extremely proud that during my tenure at Cliff Freeman & Partners, from 1997-2003 we were the most awarded agency on the planet. The thing I'm most proud of, though, is that�and I hope this is true�people who work for me think I'm a 'good guy' who gives them good counsel. Same goes for people who worked for me in the past."
Philippe Starck DesignerHe's arguably the most influential and ubiquitous architectural, environmental, product and now brand designer in the world. He has designed a mouse for Microsoft, home goods for Target, the Hotel Delano in Miami, a cult-status juicer for Alessi and has been commissioned to design the Virgin Galactic spaceport in New Mexico. He founded his first design firm in 1968 and his career skyrocketed in the '80s when his interior designing talents were utilized by French President Francois Mitterrand. His devotion to the beauty of everyday things and daily life have earned him real estate in the world's museums as well as a Grand Prix for Industrial Design, the Oscar de Luminaire for design and the title of Officier des Arts et des Lettres from his French home, but he is probably most celebrated for bringing the idea and the reality of design to mainstream culture.
Traktor and the Swedes Directing Collective; Creative DirectorsIt was like a perfect creative storm when forces of Swedish nature converged on the MTV "Jukka Brothers" campaign, which united director collective Traktor and the most buzz-stirring Scandinavian creatives in the last decade�Linus Karlsson and Paul Malmstrom, once better known as "The Swedes." The ad world got a refreshing change of pace from glossy, big production Hollywood roots, and saw how some off kilter fare could resound loudly with the increasingly media-savvy and MTV-rejiggered audience. Since then, the directors and creatives have independently gone on to create more unforgettable moments. Traktor, of course, has continued down an illustrious path glistening with Grand Prix-winning achievements for Fox Sports and Diesel, plus classics for Miller Lite, Levis, and Mountain Dew�to name a few; while Linus and Paul brought us other dazzling feats of weirdness for Buddy Lee before heading east to launch the U.S. operations of Mother, leading campaigns for Target, Milwaukee's Best, 10 Cane Rum and Coca-Cola.
Oliviero Toscani Creative Director/PhotographerPhotographer and creative director Oliviero Toscani defied the boundaries set forth by the politically-correct '90s in his divisive campaigns for clothing brand Benetton. His controversial, debate-inspiring work dismissed upheld conventions�product shots, the soft sell, perfectly poised images of famous models, in favor of confrontational photographs with a political slant. Benetton fare, banned in various countries, consisted of children on potties, a bloody seconds-old newborn and a lip-locked nun and priest. From there Toscani started to use existing photojournalism to show consumers images of social injustice and suffering. In 2000 he launced Benetton's "Sentenced to Death" campaign, the centerpiece of which was a 96-page outsert featuring photographs and interviews with real death row inmates, bundled along with an issue of Tina Brown's now-defunct rag, Talk, where Toscani also held a post as creative director. The campaign, which Toscani had told Creativity was his favorite effort for his longtime patron, was also arguably the most contentious of his work, inspiring a civil suit from the state of Missouri as well as a boycott proposal of Benetton products by the California State Assembly. Oddly enough, it also turned out to be his swan song for the clothier. Although Benetton denied any relation to the campaign's aftermath, it subsequently announced the end of its partnership with the photographer.
John Webster Creative Director, DDB/LondonWhen John Webster passed away earlier this year, many acknowledged that the industry had lost one of its greatest TV commercials talents and also one of its all-round best people. Webster graduated from the Hornsey College of Art in the 60s and his first ad job was as an art director at London's Mather and Crowther. He co-founded Boase Massimi Pollitt (BMP) in 1968 and spent the rest of his 30-plus year career at the agency (which would become DDB London), retiring in 2000. During his career, he created the best known and most beloved ads and ad characters in Europe. His memorable creations include the Cadbury Smash Instant Mashed Potatoes Martians, voted Best Ad Ever by ITV last year; the Sugar Puffs Honey Monster; the Hofmeister Beer bear; the John Smith's "No Nonsense" campaign; and making nice guy footballer Gary Lineker into a villain for Walker's Crisps. While Webster won more awards than anyone, colleagues point to a guy who cared more about the work and the work working than the Cannes kind of recognition.
Dan Wieden Founder, Wieden + Kennedy
Just do it? Wieden did �if by "it" you mean put Nike on the map and establish an agency that revolutionized ad creative forever. Along with his art director/partner David Kennedy, the young copywriter Wieden left McCann-Erickson/Portland in 1982 to establish Wieden + Kennedy, an agency that would abandon the ad conventions of the past in favor of smart and trailblazing creative that would get people talking-and moving. They took with them Phil Knight's shoe company as their only client, and over the next two decades, transformed Nike into an advertising icon, crafting an indelible brand image-along with that famous tagline- that stands as one of the most recognized and influential in history. The agency has since produced acclaimed work for ESPN, Microsoft and Subaru�but the legacy of its co-founder will always tied to that little shoe company that could. He says (on his proudest achievement): "That we have lasted this long. It's a tough damn business and difficult to retain that innocence that makes the work interesting and the folks here happy and off balance. Quite frankly? We never really figured the damn thing out, never understood what an agency was supposed to be. I guess some mysteries are better left unsolved."
The first annual Creativity 50 represents a multi-disciplinary account of the biggest and best thinkers and doers from 20 years of advertising and consumer culture. Many are creative directors and agency groundbreakers; some are directors that shaped the way messages look and feel; some are design gurus; a few are marketers who helped change the course of creativity. Some (like the Google duo) simply changed our lives completely.