Six Things You Didn't Know About BBH's John Patroulis

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BBH New York's chief creative officer, John Patroulis, has led the shop in a wide variety of work since he landed the post in May 2011. Under his leadership, the office has come out with tug-on-the-heartstrings-type work for Google, out-of-the-box outdoor for the Guardian's U.S. launch, and highly entertaining spots for Axe.

But as is the case with the previous creative chiefs we've featured in our ongoing series, it's the things you don't know about Mr. Patroulis that might be more interesting. Below, we outline a few.

John Patroulis
John Patroulis

1. He almost became an MTV VJ. When Mr. Patroulis first moved to NYC, he heard about a VJ audition. Not having much else going on, he sent in a tape. But turned out, the folks at MTV might have heard something in his voice, since they kept calling him back, until he was part of the final two or three people. "Close enough that I had to start actually thinking about whether I really wanted to be on TV doing whatever it is VJs do," he said. Ultimately though, he wasn't up to snuff, and MTV cut him loose.


2. He escaped Yugoslavia in the middle of a civil war in the 1990s. He was in Belgrade, backpacking around Europe, when he heard that insurgents were blowing up train tracks and war was starting. Trying to escape, Mr. Patroulis found himself on a jam- packed midnight train full of Albanian workers who were heading south to fight the war. The train safely made it to the Greek border in the morning. One of the best meals of his life was the first one he had in Greece. Although, he does love Greek food, so that might have had something to do with it.

3. Mr. Patroulis was an amateur boxer when he was younger. That ended after one fine day, during sparring practice, he realized he didn't really enjoy getting hit in the face. And, he didn't really have to go around doing it. That's when he stopped.

4. But he's still tough. As a kid, he had some big owwies. Growing up, Mr. Patroulis thought the worst things that could ever happen to him were breaking his kneecap, and breaking his nose. He ended up breaking both - although not at the same time - and realized it wasn't really as bad as he had imagined. "It taught me that fear is always worse than the reality of things," he said.

5. He has a good luck charm. And, it's a photo of a concrete pipe. Before advertising, he had a stint at a concrete pipe factory. "The photo reminds me a little about work ethic and about the idea that no matter how hard things get, I'm not out in the hot sun swinging a sledge hammer anymore," he said. "Makes a lot of the stuff around here seem pretty easy, really."

6. He's got vertigo. Really bad vertigo. Every once in a while, he'll wake up to the room spinning. Last time it hit him, it was in the dentist's chair. Not the most pleasant experience for the hygienist, but he says they "tend to remember me every time I go in."


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