Business Insider Has Some Thoughts on Young Ad Creatives

By Patrick Coffee 

To mark the beginning of a brand new year yesterday, Business Insider released its “30 Most Creative in Advertising Under 30,” a feature that somehow manages to combine all of the AgencySpy community’s favorite things:

  • Digital-only campaigns
  • Young people with “executive” in their titles
  • Europeans
  • Droga5

Most of the obviously talented people in this roundup have a couple of key things in common: they’ve all got great jobs and they’ve yet to earn a mention on this blog.


A few exceptions do exist to prove the rule, though.

Here’s a quick rundown:

-List winner Aaron Duffy, CD at 1stAvenueMachine and founder of that studio’s “experimental agency division” Special Guest, has appeared on our radar more often than everyone else: this summer we learned, via that studio’s PR firm, that he directed the latest OK Go video to win a VMA award for “best effects.” He also directed several ads from other agencies in 2014, chief among them W+K’s recent Facebook spot and the Microsoft Surface 3 work created by m:united.

The list’s second-hottest creative, Felix Richter of Droga5, wrote copy for the recent UnderArmour and Hennessy spots covered by this and every other trade blog.

-Brock Kirby of W+K appeared on the site in 2014 via two campaigns for Nike.

-Josh McGuire, CD at Tribal Worldwide New York, made news in January when he became one of two promoted to directorial positions in that office. (Hunter Simms left the shop several months later for Razorfish, where he currently serves as ACD.)

-Jenna Livingston, the R/GA copy director who landed the list’s #6 spot, won a good bit of media attention in early 2012 for her “Ryan Gosling Easter Eggs” project, which followed the previous year’s much-copied “Starbucks Spelling” tumblr.

-The team of art director Sam Shepherd and copywriter Frank Cartagena worked on both DDB’s “The Girl Who Couldn’t Cry” for Water Is Life and the “12 Days of Christmas” campaign that their new agency Deutsch NY created for PNC Bank in 2014.

-Rebecca Nadilo, who earned a placement after being promoted to BBDO’s head of engagement planning role, also featured in a late 2013 AS post announcing her promotion to the co-head of digital strategy position.

-Courtney Pulver, copywriter at David&Goliath, worked on all three of the Kia campaigns that we posted last year.

-BBDO Colenso copywriter Ben Polkinghorne scored a credit on the agency’s April spot promoting random puppy footage as the key to “slacktivism,” or the fake movement to use YouTube views as a stand-in for real-life charity donations.

We will almost certainly get to the other names on the BI list at some point in 2015 — and for that we apologize ahead of time.

To answer the unasked question: how many major agency employees won mentions? Here are the totals for those scoring at home:

  • Deutsch: 3
  • BBDO: 3
  • Venables Bell & Partners: 3
  • Droga5: 2
  • R/GA: 2
  • TBWA: 2
  • W+K: 1
  • Leo Burnett: 1
  • JWT: 1

Now for the list we really want to see: “45 Most Creative People in Advertising Over 45.”