I am an author and creative director living in New York City. I am working on several projects with publishers and with clients while speaking at conferences and organizations here and in Europe. I am also the cofounder of Sketchbookskool.com which has so far helped 15,000 people reignite their creativity.
I was Managing Director and Executive Creative Director of mcgarrybowen in New York. I helped build the agency, from its humble origins as a couple of dozen people sitting in a room looking at the phone and waiting for it to ring — to the global behemoth (1,000+ people, offices on three continents) it is today. We were named Ad Agency of the Year (twice by Ad Age and once by Ad Week which is apparently more picky) and I am proud to share in the credit for that. In our first ten years, we won a crazy number of accounts including Chase, Verizon, Chevron, Reebok, United, Kraft, Sears and Disney. If you keep scrolling down, you’ll see some of the work I did with my guys, work which got us those laurels and a ridiculous amount of new business.
Before that, I was Chief Creative Officer of Doremus, which I helped to turn from a 100-year-old tombstone shop into the B-to-B and Corporate Agency of the Year serving clients from Corning to Goldman Sachs. I rebuilt the creative and production departments and, in my first year on the job, we won eleven new accounts. Phew.
I built my skills as a marketer and a writer at some of the best agencies in the industry including Ogilvy, Young & Rubicam, and Hal Riney. You’ll see some of the work I did for them down below too.
I am also an author and have written and illustrated seven best-selling books on art and creativity. If that piques your curiosity, let me know and I’ll send you copies of them.
I am also an entrepreneur and the funder of Sketchbook Skool. Since 2014, over 12,000 students from around the world have joined me to explore and develop their creativity.
After nine years of helping to build mcgarrybowen, I am curious to learn about new industries and new challenges. I would love to help you and your company with my skills and experience as a manager of creative people, a skilled strategist and problem solver, an award-winning writer and a proven executive.
The world of marketing communications is changing radically. The old models of traditional agencies are no longer working — but what will replace them is still being explored. I am excited to be a part of this exploration. I recently spoke at VCU’s Brand Center on my views of this changing landscape:
Building an iconic brand and all its sub-brands.
As soon as I came on board, I pitched and won Chase for mcgarrybowen, the first really big account that got us on the path to two-time Agency of the Year, a huge staff and a global network. Our work for Chase is emotional — sometimes it’s designed to make you laugh, some times to put a lump in your throat. Either way it worked. We helped Chase sell checking accounts, develop new credit card products, sell mortgages and grow from a regional player into America’s biggest bank. Here are a few of my favorite spots from the past eight years.
Using emotion and reason to define a brand. In good times and bad.
After the financial crisis of ’08, TARP, and plunging public opinion, my work on JPMorgan Chase helped transform the bank from a culprit and a basketcase into a key part of rebuilding the American economy.
Here’s the most recent spot I did for the bank. It ran exclusively on Thanksgiving Day. It engendered enormous good will and attention.
This is from an earlier campaign I did when banks could afford to be less defensive. The strategy is basically the same however: explain how JPMC serves society. I love the emotion in these stories.
We made this 12 minute film to explain the role and values of the bank.
The next two spots explain what the bank’s role was in helping reverse the Great Recession.
We created a rich web experience that gave a deep dive into all of the ways JPMC is contributing to The Way Forward: (click image to go to site)
This beautiful campaign introduced JPMorgan to global markets. (click to enlarge)
Here’s the integrated case study that shows how all aspects of this campaign worked together on- and off-line:
A big idea that defines a brand. Around the world. In many situations. For years.
Chevron is one of the largest companies in America but its values and role in our economy were sorely misunderstood. The “We Agree” campaign is rooted in the very language and imagery of the protests lodged against oil companies and big corporations and turning it around. The work shows the common ground that exists in this crucial area, ground that communities, economies, and the future can be built upon.
This case study video summarizes the ambition and success of the campaign pretty well.
The TV is very real, using real people, real Chevronians, shot in a simple and direct way. It’s a small step from the aesthetic of a video blog. The two people speak with passion and concern, their words interweaving, demonstrating how surprisingly much they have in common. And we’re not afraid to tackle tough subjects very directly.
Not everything has to be confrontational. Here’s a spot celebrating Chevron’s support for education:
Our spot for AIDS Day was simple, emotional, a variation on our standard format:
I directed the first spots we did overseas:
We have now produced spots in the Middle East, Angola, Indonesia, Australia, Kazakhstan and are about to start production in Thailand and Eastern Europe.
The look of the Chevron print campaign is based on protest posters and wild posting. It’s as if we saw a provocative poster on a street wall, pulled it down, brought it back to the office and stamped “We agree” on it.
Then each ad is signed by two parties: someone representing an external voice and by an Chevron employee.
To raise engagement, we added portraits of the beneficiaries of our agreement, an ordinary citizen, a member of the community.
Our campaign has used banners, rich media, twitter, Zoopa videos, Youtube, and Facebook in a broad variety of ways.
Here are some key frames. Click each one to download PDFs that have more examples.
This is an earlier campaign we did for Chevron, more emotional and delivering the facts about the company’s heritage and role in its community.