Q&A: Why McCann’s Rob Reilly Still Gets Excited for Super Bowl Ads

And how the former CP+B exec is creating a new global creative powerhouse


Specs
Who: Rob Reilly
New gig: Global creative chairman, McCann Worldgroup
Old gig: Worldwide chief creative officer, Crispin Porter + Bogusky
Age: 45

Why did you create this year's first "Super Clio," recognizing the best Super Bowl ad?
Brands stick their necks out and spend a lot of money. This is the one night where our profession is judged by the country, 30 seconds at a time. For once, we're not the "poor man's movie business." That's why I root for everybody to do well. We all benefited when Wieden + Kennedy and Chrysler pulled off "Imported From Detroit." There were no dogs, babies, punch-in-the-balls jokes. Just a great idea with spectacular writing and flawless execution.

How do you rate McCann's work?
Our Chevy work is very good; we're doing great work for Coke globally; (co-branded ads for) Coca-Cola and Walmart and for MasterCard. We're doing these great things, but we don't do them often enough. That's the goal: How do we make sure we're doing it more often and for all of our clients? When you're part of a giant company, there's hero accounts and then there's accounts that don't do great work. I've said every account at the end of year has to have three magical pieces in every office. Accountability's a big thing for me. If you don't give people goals, they don't know if they've succeeded or failed. It's very important that every account we have is attempting to do great work. I have these conversations with clients; this isn't just an internal thing.

Why move from a boutique culture like Crispin to McCann's global network?
I wanted a bigger challenge. Aside from just the size is the exposure to big global accounts. I'm the creative chairman of McCann Worldgroup, not just McCann Erickson, which is a difference I wanted. I was interested in Worldgroup and integration, connecting those different marketing entities and having them work together.

What's your mandate from Worldgroup CEO Harris Diamond?
He said, "I want McCann to be the greatest creative agency in the world. I'll give you everything you need to do it." Great creativity is how you win new business and grow.

Biggest challenge in the new job?
Finding talent and keeping them. Creative people are motivated by what great things they can make. My goal is surrounding them with those opportunities. I want this place to be known for a commitment to evolving the industry beyond what it currently is.