Fast Chat: Bob Winter, Crispin’s New ECD

Leaves Chicago for Miami and starts next month

Bob Winter is heading South. After growing up in Chicago and spending the bulk of his career there—working at DDB, Leo Burnett and most recently, Young & Rubicam, where he was chief creative officer—Winter is joining the Miami office of Crispin Porter + Bogusky as executive creative director. At his new agency, Winter will partner with Crispin veteran and fellow ecd Alex Burnard to steer a creative department of about 30 and work on brands such as Arby’s, MetLife and Under Armour. He starts Nov. 15.

Adweek: What ads are you proudest of? 

Bob Winter: The “Real Men of Genius” campaign (for Bud Light at DDB Chicago). That was a real exciting part of my career and something I look at as an endearing part of my life.

When you were working on it wasn't it actually, “Real American Heroes?” 

It was, yeah, until 9/11. And then we didn’t really feel like that would be the right thing to call it anymore.

What was your role?

I was a copywriter. I was actually working in the McDonald’s group at the time and those guys (in the Bud group) asked me to come and help out. It was just a great opportunity.

Other work you’re proud of?

With Y&R, we did a great campaign with Craftsman (in 2011). It was called “Screw*d” and it was the first online interactive reality series that we created for them. The whole idea was we dropped a guy who didn’t know anything about tools in the middle of nowhere and his only hope for survival was tool advice from the outside world. So, it all happened in real time, live online.

How ironic is it that Bill Cimino, your former colleague at DDB Chicago, has taken your old job

It’s not ironic at all. I mean he and I are good friends and when this opportunity (at Crispin) came up for me, he was one of the first people I thought of just because he’s a great guy and I’ve known him forever. I think it’s actually cool. It’s somebody I know and trust and I know will put everybody in good hands.

So, is he actually someone you recommended to Y&R?


Have any advice for him?

The same advice you give anybody: focus on the work and the rest figures itself out.

How do you like to run a creative department?

With rampant positivity. I love believing in what’s possible. And one of the great things I love about the way I feel already with the CPB guys is that there’s a possibility to surprise yourself and do something that you might never even thought you could do. I guess that’s sort of the spirit I want to infuse in the place.

How do you draw that out?

At Y&R, when I started I promised everybody a pony (laughs). Turned out to be a building code violation. But it did tend to inspire people for a while. Plus, I liked it because even if I did a bad job, people would always say, “Well, he did give us these ponies.” Maybe at CPB, it will be llamas or something like that. Llamas for everybody!

Any ads you’ve seen recently that make you feel like, “I wish I had done that”?

I love what Crispin is doing with Kraft—the mac and cheese stuff. That’s some of my favorite stuff. It’s built on the great insight that everybody loves mac and cheese, but also that parents love to steal it from their kids.

What else?

The Red Bull/Stratos event where that guy jumped from the edge of space. It’s so cool because it’s not even advertising. It’s just something millions of people around the world can’t help but want to watch.

With technology, are you an early adapter or knuckle-dragging Luddite?

I’m always inspired by technology and amazed by it. That’s part of what I think is so cool about this company (Crispin). They’ve always been on the cutting edge of what’s possible. You walk in (to the Miami office) and there’s a big screen with live feeds from all the other offices. Every desk has got a monitor where people are talking real time to other people. I find it inspiring and exhilarating to be around.