I was born and raised in Vancouver. My first glimpse into advertising was in high school, writing my mom's real estate listings. Short timelines, no brief, a demanding client... oh, and no pay.
It prepared me well for my first real job at WestCan Cole & Weber, which became Scali, McCabe Sloves. My creative director was Darrel Shee. He taught me that life is full of funny experiences that you can make ads out of, that you don’t need a big ego to be "creative" and that a good idea can come from anywhere and anyone.
Next, Larry Tolpin hired me at BBDO Vancouver. He taught me about craft, about thinking in a broader context and that world class work could come from a small ad city like my hometown. Jim Noble took over when Larry moved to Toronto. Jim has a relentless drive, which was infectious. I learned how to work an idea, how to sweat the details to make an execution shine. After Jim, Jack Neary arrived. Jack is a great human being with great client skills. He taught me that just because the process of getting ads made was hard, didn’t mean that it still couldn’t be fun and human.
And then it was my turn. After Jack left, I became creative director at BBDO Vancouver. I tried hard to apply all the lessons I had learned up to then and I was happy to have helped some teams win awards. But it was also a tumultuous time, with strong and numerous headwinds, and that experience perhaps provided me some of the most valuable lessons - about the business of advertising, the nature of people, and especially, about me.
After 5 years at BBDO, I moved to Nashville as creative director of the Buntin group, a small regional shop. The job didn’t work out, but it was another interesting life and learning experience.
I moved to Toronto to start again. My first full-time position was with Leo Burnett. It was a big shop with big accounts and lots of work. It was exactly what I needed at that point. As a creative group head, I had the opportunity to get back to writing as well as manage teams and the work and win some awards. My creative director, Judy John, has a fire in her belly that has not been dimmed by the massive job of running the office of a multinational giant. I learned how to navigate big agency processes and politics in order to get great work done for complex clients.
After 4 years at Leo, I founded Crank Idea Corporation. For many years Crank worked for Bensimon Byrne in Toronto, an agency of unique humanity in the ad business. David Rosenberg reminds me that it’s not just enough to strive to do good work, one should always strive to do right. Crank has also done much work for Carlos Moreno and Peter Ignazi at BBDO Toronto, Janet Kestin, Nancy Vonk and Ian MacKellar at Ogilvy, Jim Whitney at Naked Creative Consultancy, Tony Miller at Anderson DDB and clients in Washington, DC, Reno, Nevada, Vancouver and Denver, Colorado.
I have only mentioned some of the creative directors that I have had the privilege to work with. I have also worked with countless art directors and writers, account executives and planners. And clients, of course. I have learned from them all. They have all contributed to my success. I owe them greatly.