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.
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Trevor Beattie Co-founder, Creative Director Beattie McGuinness Bungay, London
Alex Bogusky Chief Creative Officer, Crispin Porter + Bogusky, Miami/Boulder
Larry Page and Sergey Brin Co-founders, Google
Allan Broce Creative Client, Founder, Triple Double
Bryan Buckley Director, Co-founder, Hungry Man
Frank Budgen Director, Co-founder, Gorgeous
Walter Campbell and Tom Carty Founder, Campbell Doyle Dye; Director
John Carmack and John Romero Co-creators, Doom
David Carson Designer
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 founder
Lee Clow Chairman, Chief Creative Officer, TBWA
Kyle Cooper Designer/Director
Hank Corwin Editor/Founder, Lost Planet
Hal Curtis and Jim Riswold Wieden + Kennedy Creative Directors
David Droga Creative Chairman, Founder, Droga5
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 & Partners
Jonathan Glazer Director, Academy Films
Michel Gondry Director, Partizan
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.
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/GA
John Hegarty Co-founder, Chairman, Worldwide Creative Director, BBH
Steve Jobs and Jonathan Ive CEO, 22, Pixar; Sr. VP/Design, 22
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 his
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, Nike
Paul Lavoie Founder, Creative Director, Taxi
David Lubars Chairman/CCO, BBDO 24 America
Chuck McBride ECD, TBWA/Chiat/Day/San Francisco
Tom McElligott Founder, Fallon McElligott
Ty Montague Executive Creative Director, JWT/N.Y.
Errol Morris Director, Moxie Pictures
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 Conglomerate
Noam Murro Director, Biscuit Filmworks
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, Pytka
Stefan Sagmeister Designer/Founder, Sagmeister 36.
Ridley Scott Director, Founder, RSA
Eric Silver Executive Creative Director, BBDO
Philippe Starck Designer
Traktor and the Swedes Directing Collective; Creative Directors
Oliviero Toscani Creative Director/Photographer
John Webster Creative Director, DDB/London
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."