Meet The 37 Creatives Most Lusted After By Rival Agencies

the poach list advertising

In advertising, creativity is currency. When we asked advertising agencies to nominate their own key players for our 2012 list of the 25 most creative people in advertising right now, we also asked them for creatives at competing shops who they admire or would love to hire, given half a chance.

Our 2012 Poach List consists of the creatives cited most often by rival agencies—the art directors and copywriters that make agencies jealous.

While most are exciting up-and-comers, some are the kind of people that you don’t poach, but poach from you. We don’t see David Droga going anywhere for instance, but you never know—Linus Karlsson did join McCann Erickson after co-founding Mother.

Agencies: You all know that there’s is a revolving door mentality about agency affiliation, so if your creatives are on this list, it might be time for some raises.

The most-sought-after executive of all is at the very end of this list.

NOTE: A lot of the comments question how the list was made. Again, these are the people that big advertising agencies told us they want to recruit and work with from rival agencies.

Kevin Brady, Group Creative Director at Droga5

Brady worked as a creative director at Young & Rubicam before taking a position at Droga5.

Although he has written the copy for numerous Puma, Rhapsody, and Amstel Light spots, he most recently received acclaim for his work on Prudential's 'Day One' campaign.

Named one of TED's ads worth spreading, 'Day One' used photography and documentary style video to chronicle real people's emotional first days of retirement:

Pum Lefebure, Design Army

Lefebure co-founded graphic design firm Design Army with her husband in 2003, and she oversees all of the creative that comes and goes through the shop's doors. As Lefebure describes on her LinkedIn, 'As a native of Bangkok, she brings a global sensibility to American design - a creative point of view that draws from different cultures and resonates with diverse audiences.'

Lefebure is known for her delicate, and award-winning, and her clients include GE, Disney, Chronicle Books, The Washington Ballet, Adobe, and the Ritz Carlton.

Jim Riswold, artist, formerly at Wieden+Kennedy

In 2005, five years after he was diagnosed with leukemia, Jim Riswold left his job at Wieden+Kennedy to become a pop artist. He told Adweek that he went from 'a career of selling people things they don't need to making things that people don't want.'

Esquire describes the legendary creative director as 'the reason you know that Bo knows. He's the reason you are Tiger Woods. He's the guy who paired MJ with Mars. He's the guy who paired MJ with a rabbit. Jim Riswold is one of the best copywriters ever.'

Watch Nike's 'I am Tiger Woods' ad below--starts at the 10 second mark:

Michael Francis, ex-J.C. Penney President

In July, after only eight months on the job, Michael Francis left his post as J.C. Penney's president.

Before working at J.C. Penney, Francis was in charge of Target's marketing and was partially responsible for evolving the brand.

One of his more memorable projects was the 'Kaleidoscope Fashion Spectacular' in which 66 dancers did experimental choreography in the Standard Hotel and were lit up with LED lights in its glass windows.

Well... he is looking for a job.

Fura Johannesdottir, Executive Creative Director, Interaction Design @R/GA

Johannesdottir describes herself as an informational designer, architect, and film producer. Born in Reykjavik, Iceland, she received her MFA from the Design and Technology program at Parsons and has done interactive design at R/GA. She managed a team of designers for the Nike account--she was responsible for the 'I Feel Pretty' campaign--and she spent one year on the Walmart account.

Bryan Gaffin, SVP Global Creative Director at RAPP/The Collaboratory

Gaff currently does creative work for HP, Viagra, and Lifescan. He has also been the creative director for clients including the Travel Channel and Johnson & Johnson (Sun Crystals, Rogan, Listerine Whitening, to name a few).

LinkedIn recommendations include: 'Far and away there is no other creative talent and creative leader I would want to work with more than 'Gaff''; 'Bryan is a great agency presence, team lead, individual contributor, culture vulture, and client partner'; and 'He's a maker and a thinker.'

Bob Winter, CCO at Y&R Chicago

Winter worked as a creative at DDB Chicago, Leo Burnett USA, and Goodby, Silverstein & Partners before joining the team at Y&R Chicago.

According to his bio, Winter created the 'Real Men of Genius' campaign and has won awards at the Clios, One Show, and Cannes.

Here's an example of the work he did for Altoids while at Leo Burnett.

Chuck Tso, Freelance

Tso has created award winning work, primarily as an art director, for brands including FedEx, Monster, Guinness, Pepsi, Volvo, Unilever, and eBay.

He most recently was the ECD at R/GA New York, where he assisted with the launch of the Google Wallet. Tso has also been employed at DDB NY, Euro RSCG, Korey Kay & Partners, and BBDO.

Here's Tso's social campaign for Nike called 'Unlock the Black Mamba,' starring Kobe Bryant:

'Unlock the Black Mamba' Case Study from Lincoln Boehm on Vimeo.

Rhett and Link have been comedic collaborators since meeting in the first grade at Buies Creek Elementary School in North Carolina.

Apart from their guest roles on IFC's reality TV show Rhett and Link: Commercial Kings, the two are famous for making hilarious local-style ads for real companies, like Ojai Valley Taxidermy and Red House Furniture, 'Where black people and white people buy furniture.'

Here's one of their spots for Ojai Taxidermy ... you really have to watch it:

Cindy Gallop

The prolific ad woman began her career as a theatre publicist in the UK before switching over to advertising. She started in BBH London--working on Ray-Ban, Polaroid, and Coca-Cola--then was the number to at BBH Asia Pacific, and then founded BBH NY, the first US branch.

Gallop is also the founder of We Make Love Not Porn, which was launched at TED 2009 and aims to start a dialogue about how real people have sex, and a do gooder campaign called If We Ran The World.

According to her bio, 'I like to blow shit up. I am the Michael Bay of business. :)'

Chris Milk and Aaron Koblin

Music video director Chris Milk and digital technology artist Aaron Koblin (who also leads Google Creative Lab's Data Arts Team) have garnered attention throughout the advertising world for their collaborations and experiments with music and video storytelling for Google Creative Lab.

One of their most noteworthy interactive collaborations is 'The Johnny Cash Project': an interactive video that shows grainy, black and white photos and and animations of Cash and his surroundings to the song 'Ain't No Grave.'

Watch below:

Nick Law, CCO at R/GA

Law recently earned R/GA two Grand Prix Lions at Cannes for his work on the Nike+ Fuelband, both an artistic and technologically advanced social platform that allows users to track their fitness goals and progress on a wristband.

Law has two decades of agency experience in the United States, UK, and Asia and has assumed many roles, from design to traditional advertising to digital marketing.

Doug Speidel, SVP, ECD at MRM Worldwide

Over the last two and a half decades, Spiedel has worked everywhere from San Francisco to Sao Paolo creating award-winning work for accounts including DirecTV and the Nissan Rogue. He launching TEQUILA, the digital and direct-marketing unit at TBWA/Chiat/Day, in 2002 and joined MRM in 2009.

According to his bio, 'The successful integration of digital and traditional creative teams is what Speidel cites as the key to producing original and brand-building work.'

Masa Kawamura, Party Tokyo

Kawamura's sparse website biography (that lists the boatloads of awards and credits he has received) describes the Tokyo-born, San-Francisco raised creative as an 'art director/film director/creative director/whatever.'

After working at BBH and Wieden+Kennedy New York, Kawamura joined forces with four other Japanese creatives to form a 'supergroup' (not agency) called Party.

One of Kawamura's most memorable work was an award-winning, four million YouTube view, music video that he directed for the Japanese band Sour:

Colleen Quill, Vice President, Digital at Universal Music Group

One agency said that they would hope to poach Quill because, 'Quill was recently Head of Digital at Universal Republic records, which she oversaw the digital strategy for all their artists. She brought Enrique Iglesias to Zynga, and they planned an integration into the CityVille game, where Enrique's avatar threw a concerts. Users could build stages around his Euphoria tour. Eleven million people played along and interacted with the artist, enough that they brought him back 6 months later.'

Edu Pou, Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam

Edu Pou is a creative at W+K Amsterdam, and according to his company bio (which shows a picture of him with a pig snout), he has been 'Learning to walk since 1975.'

Pou is known for his integrated campaigns, and he has done a lot of work for Electronic Arts.

Pou is also well-known for Domino's 'BFD Builder,' in which customers were able to visually build their ideal pizza and then track its status until it got to their doorstep 30 minutes later. Watch the case study for Domino's BFD pizza builder and tracker:

Jay Russell, ECD at GSD&M

After a short stint at CP+B, Russell rejoined GSD&M in 2011 and was promoted to ECD a year later. 'They finally got it right,' a source told Agency Spy.

Russel once led the BMW account (he lead the pitch that won the client), and he has worked on Bud Light, American Airlines, and helped launched the Windows phone.

His bio states that 'If you want to keep up with Jay Russell, you better be ready to hustle. Seriously, this guy has covered a lot of territory in his 18 years in the advertising industry. Side note: He's also 9,000 miles into his effort to run the circumference of the earth -- 15,901 to go.'

Greg Hahn, ECD at BBDO

Hahn worked at Fallon for almost nine years before moving to BBDO as an executive creative director.

People call Hahn 'legendary' around the office, and his work is a testament to his creativity.

Hahn leads AT&T for BBDO and helped create 'Daybreak,' an interactive mini-series directed by Tim Kring (Heroes, Touch).

He was also the ECD for FedEx's Cannes winning 'Enchanted' commercial and various HBO spots for 'True Blood' and 'Game of Thrones.'

Here's the FedEx ad:

Rick Herrera, Copywriter at Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam

The agency that expressed interest in poaching Herrera is interested in the creative due to his work as a 'copywriter of the Halo 3 campaign. One of our favourite pieces of narrative creation in our business forever.' He won two Cannes Gold Prix for it in 2009.

He previously worked at TAC/San Francisco, for which he did work on Xbox 'The Life.'

Watch 'Believe' here:

Jesse Juriga, BBH NY

Juriga got his first job at Droga5 when he was still a student at Creative Circus. He used his student loans to fly to New York and meet with creative director Ted Royer and ended up helping finish up work for an art director who was on vacation. He worked until 2 a.m. (on his birthday, no less) and got the job.

He worked on Puma's account at Droga5 before moving to BBH NY. He currently does work for Google. Remember 'Dear Sophie'? (Have your Kleenex ready):

Colin Jeffery, ECD at David & Goliath

You know those blinged out, dancing hamsters in the Kia commercials? Jeffery helped pitch the spot dressed as Bjorn Borg on Halloween in 2008.

The creative has worked in agencies around the world including Saatchi & Saatchi Singapore, King James Cape Town, TBWA Hunt Lascaris Johannesburg, and Arnold in Boston.

His quote of choice? 'Nobody ever became great without first being brave.'

Here's a hamster spot:

Jason Elm, EVP, GCD at Deutsch LA

Elm has kept his advertising career on the west coast, working at Bozell and Lois Colby before settling at Deutsch LA in 1998.

While he's worked on Coors Light, Expedia.com, and DIRECTV, he currently does creative for SONY Playstation and Diamond Foods (Kettle Brand Chips and Emerald nuts).

Here's a noteworthy Playstation ad:

Tony Calcao, VP, ECD at Crispin Porter + Bogusky

David Droga, Creative Chairman of Droga5

David Droga is the founder and chairman of Droga5, a six year old company that was named Creativity's agency of the year in 2012.

Just a few of Droga5's clients include big names like Kraft, Puma, and Prudential. Droga5 was responsible for Prudential's 'One Day' campaign, which chronicled the emotional first day of retirement.

Droga is one of the biggest players in advertising and is single-most awarded creative from the Cannes Lions. Droga was made an executive creative director and partner of OMON Sydney when he was only 22, and he has been working hard since, at Saatchi and then Droga5.

Tony Granger, Global CCO at Young & Rubicam

According to his bio, Granger, who has been working at Y&R since 2008, 'He believes in the magic of ideas, the possibility of their reach and their power to generate change. This belief is at the heart of his ability to transform agencies and brands.'

Y&R believes that he has led a 'creative renaissance' at the shop, rocketing up the agency's numbers.

Granger worked at TBWA/Hunt Lascaris, Bozeil, and Satchi prior joining Y&R.

Jeff Benjamin and Mike Geiger, JWT

JWT North America poached both Jeff Benjamin from CP+B and Mike Geiger from Goodby Silverstein & Partners to be the shop's new North American CCO and president-chief integration officer, respectively.

The partners had previously worked together at Goodby, and some of the agency world thinks that they are the team to watch.

Benjamin, who was a partner at CP+B, worked on Domino's, Coke Zero, Burger King, and Microsoft. Geiger handled Spring, Comcast, Got Milk?, and the NBA.

Alec Brownstein, Freelance

Note: Clearly this is not a picture of Brownstein. For whatever reason, this is how he likes being portrayed on Twitter, LinkedIn and the like.

'Scrappy, bold and always doing something on his own,' an agency source told us, Brownstein is probably best known for the Google Job Experiment, in which he bought Google ad words for creative directors' names, including David Droga and Gerry Graf, so that when they searched their names they'd read: 'Hey, David Droga, Googling yourself is a lot of fun. Hiring me is fun, too.

Dave Schiff, Co-Founder of Made

Schiff worked at CP+B, where he was the creative director on Coke Zero when it launched, for about a decade before he broke off to create his own agency in March 2012.

Schiff along with two other CP+B alums formed Made, a shop that has a mission to support the resurgence of American manufacturing. Alex Bogusky is even going to be serving as an advisor, of sorts.

Schiff said in a statement: 'CP&B is a great agency, and I could never see myself leaving to go to another agency, but this is a mission. We work a lot in advertising, and I want to put every hour into building something I'm deeply committed to.'

Stephen Goldblatt, from Evolution Bureau SF

While at Goodby, Sliverstein and Partners, Goldblatt did the creative for Subway, Comcast, Saturn, and HP--for which he co-created HP's award-winning 'hands' campaign starring Jay-Z, Jerry Seinfeld, and Serena Williams. More recently, he has done particularly noteworthy social work for Skittles ('Mob the Rainbow'), Altoids ('Curiously Strong Awards'), and Juicy Fruit ('Serenading Unicorn').

Justin Ebert, CD at Saatchi & Saatchi

Prior to working as a creative director at Saatchi, Ebert made rounds at Doner, Arnold Worldwide, vitrorobertson, and CP+B.

He has done work for numerous big-name clients, but here's an untraditional spot Ebert wrote and was CD of for Capri Sun:

Capri Sun - CyBear from Finger Music on Vimeo.

Mike Pierantozzi, Creative Director at Taxi

Prior to working at Taxi, Pierantozzi worked as a freelance copywriter at Ogilvy and a creative director at Red Tettemer and Brooklyn Brothers, where he assisted the New York Rangers, KGB, the History Channel, and Univlever.

You might recall a spot for KGB Pierantozzi was partially responsible for that got 'banned' from the 2010 Super Bowl for showing a man's head up his arse. More recently, he has done work for Applegate Farms that shows 'roid loving juiceheads in cow costumes--advocating for natural food, of course.

Here's the KGB spot:

Roe Laophermsook, Senior Copywriter at Euro RSCG

One agency believes that Laophermsook would be a steal. 'One no one knows yet, pretty junior, but we missed out on hiring him and I think he is going to do great things,' the shop told us.

On his website, Laophermsook writes, 'I love coming up with different ways to communicate ideas; and I do it best in written form.'

Prior to joining Euro RSCG, Laophermsook worked at TBWA/Chiat/Day, Doner, ATTIK, and Lambesis. He has copy written for SKYY Vodka, Grand Marnier, Scion, Del Taco, and more.

Rick Haskins, Head of Marketing, CW

One agency wants to poach Haskins because he 'makes every campaign look effortless. It's not just the shows, but the marketing behind them that has made the CW brand cool. The letters actually stand for CBS and Warner Bros-- the two equity partners-- yet the vibe is wholly originally and much more relevant to a younger audience than either parent ever was.'

Ted Persson, Co-founder and ECD at Great Works, Sweden

When he was a jury-member for the Clio Awards, Persson described himself as 'a Stockholm based creative director, digital entrepreneur and struggling beard grower.?

Persson has worked for clients including Absolut Vodka, Electrolux, IKEA, and H&M.

The company also recently released a 30-minute movie called 'I'm Here', made with Sprike Jonze, TBWA/Chiat/Day, and 24HR.

Here's a trailer for 'I'm Here':

Lee Cartmell, Owner of FRANK

Cartmell is the creative director and partner of Frank Kommunikasjon ... it's based in Norway.

A noteworthy FRANK campaign was the shop's 9/11 commemoration. '10 years after, we recreated the events of that fateful day from the point of view of Mayor Rudy Giuliani on Twitter. The campaign ran in real time on Sept 11, 2011, and ran for 15 hours.'

Here's a video about the social media initiative:

Linus Karlsson, Chairman and CCO of McCann NY and London

It makes sense that agencies want to work with Karlsson: He has a reputation for transforming creative shops. Karlsson began in a Swedish start-up agency called Paradiset that later got acquired by DDB. He then moved to Fallon and then opened the doors of Mother NY as a co-founder in 2003. He joined McCann from Mother, named Creativity's 2009 Agency of the year, in 2011.

He has done work for clients including Target, Stella Artois, Coke, BMW, MTV, and NBC. Karlsson made waves as CCO on the first K-Y ad to star a lesbian couple (normalizing, rather than tantalising, their sexual preference) while at Mother, and he more recently put Charles Barkley in a dress for Weight Watchers at McCann.

*Note: an earlier version linked to a ad that paired Betty White with Snickers. That work was created by BBDO NY.

Gerry Graf, BFG9000

Gerry Graf is the creative that more agencies said they would like to poach than any other executive.

He worked at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, BBDO NY (on two separate occasions), TBWA/Chiat/Day, and Saatchi & Saatchi before founding his own shop: Barton F. Graf 9000.

Graf created Frank, the man that is banned from Kayak for life, the E*Trade monkeys, and the commercials in which everything people touch turns to Skittles.

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