Five Ad Creatives Share Their Treasured Finds Favorites

Five Ad Creatives Share Their Treasured Finds

Jean Batthany, Vida Cornelious, Carolyn Hadlock, DJ O’Neil and Suzanne Pope share their favorite resources.

Suzanne  Pope

Under the radar: Stock image sites are vastly underappreciated as a source of creative inspiration. I can’t think of a more efficient way to do mind mapping. If you’re stuck for ideas, just enter something like “bizarre” as a search term, and you’ll be off to the races.

Organizational lifesaver: I use a cloud accounting service called FreshBooks. It’s not a planning tool per se, but any freelancer will tell you that if your billing is in disarray, so is your whole life.

Inspiring read: I just finished Oliver Sacks’s autobiography On the Move. It’s hard to imagine anyone who was truer to a sense of purpose and passion than Dr. Sacks. Beautifully written, the book is a reminder that one’s eccentricity should be celebrated, not resisted.

Guilty pleasure: Goat videos. I believe that goat videos are the new cat videos.

Mind-blowing campaign: I loved the Unskippable campaign for GEICO. We’re all tortured by the limita­tions of online advertising, but the Martin Agency managed to turn those limita­tions into a brilliant creative asset.

Vida  Cornelious

Workday fuel: Music. I listen to plenty of music. Mainly, I keep Luciano Pavarotti’s The Best album going on a daily basis. And the dramatic flair of reggae music inspires my thinking. I’m sure my coworkers would prefer I blast some- thing else.

Creative fodder: I go online to search every question that comes into my mind on the topic of my commissions. I read the comment sections in articles and blogs—people are brutally honest when they think they are anonymous. No matter what subject I work on or how far removed it may be from my personal experience, I start by looking for a human truth of some kind. And typically, that is what sets off an “ah-ha” moment in my ideation.

Emerging talent: Adrian Franks is a supertalented designer and a personal friend. If you haven’t heard of him, consider this an early warning: he is doing kick-ass work in his Brooklyn studio.

DJ  O’Neil

MVPs: Hub hires many free­lance creatives, and we are constantly discovering amazing talent from around the world. We try to think beyond the traditional art directors, designers and writers. We’ve hired sculptors, architects, furniture designers and inventors to be a part of our process. Shaking up typical resources always brings new and fun ideas to the table.

Stirring up business: The best thing we’ve done from a new business standpoint wasn’t a directory or platform—it was an event we cohosted with a Silicon Valley venture capital firm. We hosted about 150 tech founders and marketers and put on a panel discussion, a forum for speakers and a cocktail party. We met a ton of great up-and-coming companies and turned some of them into clients.

Underappreciated site: The website Modern Copywriter is an amazing resource for finding great writers.

A trove of trends: The San Francisco Egotist. The advertising news site covers a lot of San Francisco projects, but it also curates great work both nationally and internationally.

Dream partner: I see Jeff Goodby as our modern-day David Ogilvy. As a fellow writer and agency owner, I respect how much great work Jeff has done over the years and how he just keeps on doing it.

Jean  Batthany

Splurge-worthy investment: I’m a big believer in developing and training talent. Success relies on learning how to recognize a big idea, nurture it and see it through. I’m dying to learn from Cindy Gallop, Rick Boyko and their team of industry legends at their Sparkstarters creativity and leadership training program.

Ear to the ground: Mashable always covers good tech, and Complex features edgier advertising trends. Nowness blows my mind—I find it to be a great source for music, fashion and artists.

Guilt-free advertising: I was hesitant to get into advertising straight out of school. I believed it was about convincing people to buy products they don’t need. But recently, there has been such a heart­warming display of advertising for good causes. We are in the business of connecting with people on an emotional level, creating relationships with brands based on shared values. We have the potential to make the world a better place. And that’s the business I want to be in.

Hiring philosophy: Advertising has been home to the middle-aged white guy for way too long. Diversity is key; I’m always looking for talented women, people of diverse ethnicities and people who don’t come from pure advertising backgrounds. It’s important to look past one’s backyard.

Carolyn  Hadlock

Timeless muse: Museums. I’ve always been drawn to advertising that feels like art, so I try to get lost in a good museum whenever I travel. Walking through the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Telfair Museum of Art, the Guggenheim, the Indianapolis Museum of Art—it really frees my mind.

Cutting-edge commentators: I love John Maeda’s and Benjamin Palmer’s feeds on social media. They suss out tech that’s shiny and focus instead on meaningful applications. They understand that creativity is the engine for tech, not the other way around.

Daring advertising: Under Armour’s I Will What I Want campaign. The Gisele Bündchen spot was the gutsiest I’ve seen in a long time. Droga5 got so much blow­back from social media [after announcing Gisele’s role in the campaign] that the company decided to make a spot out of it—talk about harnessing social media to your advantage.

Ideal sidekick: I think John C Jay is at the core of the creative essence that has imbued Wieden+Kennedy’s work for the last two decades. There’s very little digital ink about him; it seems that he’s kept him­self out of the advertising fray by immersing himself in culture. He surrounds himself with artists, photographers and musicians. He is an incredibly unusual creative.  

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