That Classic Agency Character, the ‘Hovering Art Director,’ Is Now an Action Figure

Adobe's creation that designers everywhere will love

Headshot of Angela Natividad

What’s a hip and happenin’ way to appeal to the prime target of your stock photo service?

Turn them into an ironic hipster action figure.

With help from Achtung! mcgarrybowen in Amsterdam, Adobe Stock created what it’s labeled “the ultimate designer toy for the ad industry.” Which turns out to be a talking “Hovering Art Director” action figure.

“We turned an everyday situation that pretty much all designers can relate to into a campaign for Adobe Stock,” explains Achtung! mcgarrybowen creative director Daniël Sytsma.

“The idea resonated so much in the creative industry that we just had to go one step further and make a limited-edition Hovering Art Director action figure that any agency can try to get their hands on.”

The bearded, coffee-toting unit was inspired by the limited-edition toys strewn across agencies throughout the world. Why not add to them a tribute to the tricky dynamic between designers and indecisive ADs?

Features include geometric tattoos, limited-edition sneakers, skinny jeans, a notebook and a prize reflective scowl.

Shaped and designed alongside YumYum London, the Hovering Art Director spouts 19 phrases, produced with Studio Sophisti and thought up (or perhaps lived) by Achtung! creatives. These include the universally hated “Just make it pop,” the biting “The ’90s called … and they want their dropshadows back” and, just in time for June, “Trust me, you’ll thank me when we’re in Cannes.”

Better still, all this helpful feedback comes unsolicited. The Hovering Art Director is motion-activated, making him worryingly realistic. “Yes, H.A.D. is basically a collection of all the art directors we’ve ever worked with before,” Sytsma admits.

And he comes in classy Adobe Stock “collectible” packaging.

Designers can win the Hovering Art Director—assuming they want another one—by submitting their own “hover” lines to The most original entries (judged by actual hovering art directors) will be rewarded. The contest launched May 8 and will continue for two weeks.

“We wanted to make a campaign that is relatable to the creative community, showing that Adobe understands the daily struggle of designers,” Sytsma says. “In this project, both creatives and designers were involved from the very beginning.”

Agency – mcgarrybowen Amsterdam
Creative Director – Daniël Sytsma
Senior Creative – Jasper Janssen
Senior Creative – Niklas Kristensen
Creative – Michael James Phillips
Creative – Bert Marissen
Creative – Alexis Jabbour
Design Director – Christian Mezöfi
Account Director – Sven Vening
Strategist – Gerben van der Zwaard
Producer – Esther Kroes
Producer – John Gerard
Producer Trainee – Suzanne Whittaker

Alexander Meyers – Marketing Manager Benelux
Patty Nozato – Director Campaign Marketing
Christa Heupel – Campaign Marketing Adobe Stock
Paul van Keeken – Enterprise Marketing Manager EMEA
Nienke Schipper Pauw – Communications Manager Adobe Stock EMEA
Henrik Owenmark – Campaign Marketing Group Manager
AJ Joseph – Executive Creative Director
Joel Giullian – Director Advertising and Production
Elizabeth Dessuge – Senior Studio Manager
Amy Goldstein – Social Media Manager
Marissa Lee – Senior PR Manager, DVA and Adobe Stock
Daniela Province – Senior Copywriter
Celeste Lam – Art Director

Sebastian Hedin (Hobby Film) – Director
Jelmar Hoekstra – Editor
Ambassadors – Grading & sound design
Character design & animation – Yum Yum London
Roy Bemelmans – Music & sound design
Egotribe – Website

@luckthelady Angela Natividad is a frequent contributor to Adweek's creativity blog, AdFreak. She is also the author of Generation Creation and co-founder of Hurrah, an esports agency. She lives in Paris and when she isn't writing, she can be found picking food off your plate.