2 Barbie Creative Directors Leave BBDO San Francisco

By Erik Oster 

Creative directors Amber Justis and Kevin Thomson are no longer with BBDO San Francisco. Sources close to the matter claim the pair quit and both Thomson and Justis currently appear to be freelancing in the Bay Area.

Thomson and Justis both worked on the agency’s Barbie account, credited as creative directors on “The Evolution of Barbie” spot introducing a new line of dolls of varying body types and skin tones. (The campaign received quite a bit of press, including a Time Magazine cover story.) One tipster characterized the duo as creative leads on the account, although the Mattel business is currently overseen by ECDs Matt Miller and Steve Rutter and the pair are not credited on “The Evolution of Barbie” predecessor “Imagine the Possibilities.”

Regarding the pair’s departure, Thomson writes:


“Amber and I have decided to leave BBDO. We’re both extremely grateful for our time there and are very proud of the work we produced. But given the nature of the business and clients moving towards a more project based model, we wanted to explore other opportunities and are excited about what’s to come! In the meantime, we’re both freelancing and enjoying this new adventure.”

Justis arrived at BBDO San Francisco in September of 2012 and since then has worked with brands including Gallo Wines, Vail Resorts, Seeds of Change, Heavenly Resorts, Barefoot Wines, Sutter Health and Cesar. Prior to joining BBDO, she spent over three years as a creative director with FCB Global, working with clients such as Electronic Arts, Dockers and California Energy. Before that she spent a year as a freelance associate creative director with Mekanism, AKQA and Organic following two years as a senior art director with EVB, where she worked with brands including MTV, Trojan, Bravo, Kodak and St. Ives. 

Thomson arrived at BBDO San Francisco in 2014 and has since worked with clients including Wells Fargo, Gallo Wines, Uncle Ben’s, Seeds of Change and Nutro. Prior to joining BBDO he spent three years with The Martin Agency, working with brands such as Geico, Discover, Exxon Mobil and Walmart. That followed a year at JWT New York working on Smirnoff, Bing, Macy’s and Stride Gum. Before that he spent seven years at Cole & Weber United, during which time he worked with brands including Nike, Gallo Wines, Target, Jones Soda, Seattle Art Museum and Washington Lottery.