14 Celebrities and Influencers Who Put Creativity at the Heart of Everything They Do

Meet the biggest names on our annual Creative 100

Courtesy of Atlantic Records

Sure, it’s impressive to be good at what you do—and especially to get famous for doing it. But that’s not enough to land a spot on Adweek’s annual Creative 100.

Each year, our list (which never repeats a name) honors celebrities and influencers who are multi-talented, endlessly inventive and creatively inspiring.

This year’s roster is packed with names you know, along with a few that might only be on the periphery of your pop culture knowledge—but are almost certain to come up in conversation over the coming months. So read up on the celebs below so you’ll be fully prepared to say, “Oh yes, I’ve been following their work for quite a while.”

Ryan Reynolds

Actor, producer and owner of Aviation Gin

Photo: Guy Aroch

Reynolds knows passion sells. That’s why his clear obsession and love for his Deadpool character and Aviation Gin make him a marketing tour de force.

“[Marketing] is creatively satisfying,” Reynolds tells Adweek. “I really enjoy it. I’m a huge believer that necessity is the mother of invention. That old idiom is never truer in the marketing space.”

Reynolds tag teams Aviation Gin’s creative strategy with his partner-in-crime, George Dewey, who worked with Reynolds on the massively successful Deadpool campaigns that included a Bob Ross spoof and taking over entire the DVD section at Walmart. Reynolds looks to leverage his love of pop culture, which is a “huge part” his daily life, into Aviation’s marketing.

Often, ideas begin with text messages to Dewey, and Reynolds says they like to keep it simple, “It’s not like there isn’t some gigantic white board with conspiracy yarn linking different ideas to each other.”

Because Aviation Gin is still relatively small, Reynolds says he focuses on earned media instead of paid media, thinking up stunts that will gain attention—but also convey his authentic love for the brand.

“How can we tackle something that is culturally relevant, have fun with it and be self-deprecating,” he says, “while also creating a certain level of brand awareness?” That’s led to partnerships with Richard Branson and a resolution of his “feud” with Hugh Jackman, as well as an ongoing series of out-of-office emails and the hilarious spot above about Aviation’s mystical distilling process.
Jameson Fleming

Anna Konkle and Maya Erskine

Screenwriters, producers and actors

Photo: Dean Bradshaw/Hulu

It’s a truth universally acknowledged middle school is the worst. And yet Erskine and Konkle—creators, writers, executive producers and stars of Hulu’s Pen15—willingly relived their most traumatic experiences to reboot themselves as 13-year-olds in the year 2000.

The result is a love letter—written, of course, with gel pen in an intricately folded note on college-ruled paper—to their younger selves, which taps into a goldmine of puberty-era themes that run the gamut from braces and bras to self-doubt and cruel nicknames.

But Pen15 is also a nod to a bygone era of see-through landline phones, dial-up internet, AIM screen names and layered hair. The details are perfect: Maya cuts out a picture of teen heartthrob Brad Renfro for her binder. Her brother drinks a can of Surge. She and ‘Na wear best-friend necklaces and watch Wild Things on VHS with boys, which, at the time, was pretty much the most risqué thing you could do as a 13-year-old girl. And, of course, despite bowl cuts, rejection and really bad first kisses, each is the other’s biggest cheerleader. (Even though the odds are good they wouldn’t make the cheerleading squad at this point.)

The result is as uncomfortable and devastating as it is joyful and heartwarming, perhaps like middle school itself. And, thankfully, they will return for more in a 14-episode sophomore season.
Lisa Lacy

Recommended videos