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Hidden Talent

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If you met them at an industry event, you probably wouldn't recognize their faces or their names. They are five of the country's best in-house creative directors who labor in obscurity for memorable brands Victoria's Secret, MTV, Revlon, Saks Fifth Avenue and Sci Fi Channel. Unlike their counterparts in the outside agency world, they don't have to fret about winning client approval or researching the essence of the brand because they are the client. Their job brings other demands: tight budgets, imposing workloads, routine tasks and corporate offices that are far from freewheeling.Since they and their teams of talented art directors and writers are usually seen as cogs in a bigger marketing machine, in-house creatives also miss out on the status their work would bring them on the agency side. It's no surprise that top in-house creative directors are clustered in the fashion, media and beauty industries where image is as prized as substance. These five give you a taste of what it takes to succeed in that world. Their titles and range of responsibilities vary as much as their companies, but each is making a distinct creative mark on the ad scene—working from the inside out.