Veteran Industry Creative Craig Markus Has Died

By Kyle O'Brien 

Craig Markus, a longtime industry creative and most recently chief creative officer at Proof Advertising, died on August 8. Markus had been in the hospital for several weeks battling complications from what was eventually diagnosed as Guillain-Barré syndrome.

According to Bryan Christian, president at Proof Advertising, Markus had just been moved into an acute physical therapy practice at Mount Sinai hospital and was very hopeful that he would be back in action in a very short number of weeks.

“We do not know all the details, but after his first day of therapy, he developed some new complications and passed,” said Christian in a LinkedIn post.


Markus began his career as a studio artist in 1986 setting type and doing marker comps by hand. He climbed the agency ladder through shops including Ogilvy and Mather, Deutsch, DMB&B, Cramer-Krasselt making an impact at each stop. His longest stint was at McCann-Erickson, where he spent over 12 years and served last as executive creative director.

At McCann-Erickson, where he met Christian, Markus worked with almost every important client on the roster, was named Creative Director of the Year several times, and launched Tag Ideation, focusing on young adult audiences. He also led the U.S. Army account and its “Army Strong” campaign and taught young creatives at the Fashion Institute of Technology.

“It took me three tries and several years to convince him to join Proof, but his kids and relationships in NY were always the reason he said no. Once we committed to virtual working, I was finally able to get him on board (in 2020). And it has been a wonderful journey for these past three years. Craig brought a joyful and passionate spirit to work each day. He was a great boss to his teams, a great co-worker to all at Proof and a great friend and mentor for me,” wrote Christian.

Markus was a father to two sons, who were his number one priority. His age was not listed in his obituary.

“We are crushed. But as Craig often said even when he was battling this monster, ‘There is work to do so let’s do it.’ One of Craig’s last decisions before going into the hospital was to promote Claire Jordan to executive creative director. He was so excited to be able to reward her talents and efforts in that way. Claire will take the reigns and, thanks in part to Craig, is more than ready to do so,” the LinkedIn post stated.