Isaac Silverglate and Jeff Anderson are executive creative directors at CHI & Partners New York. The creative duo met at TBWA\Chiat\Day New York where they worked on Masterfoods brands and the award-winning “Man Mom” campaign for Combos. After Chiat, the team joined Droga5, where they worked on the “The Great Schlep” campaign to help elect Obama; fom there, they landed at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners where they worked on Cheetos and Chevrolet.
In addition to multiple golds at One Show, Gold and Titanium Cannes Lions, a Grand Clio, a black D&AD Pencil and Young Gun Of the Year, Boards magazine ranked Isaac third among copywriters for his TV work and Creativity twice named him second most-awarded copywriter worldwide.
Jeff was ranked as the number five art director by Creativity in 2007, number three in 2009 and in 2010 he was named Young Gun of the Decade by the Australia Young Guns.
Silverglate & Anderson
If you have a degree, in what field is it?
Isaac: I received a degree in political science from Columbia University. I probably use about two percent of that degree in my day-to-day work… so that was money well spent.
Jeff: I originally wanted to do architecture, but never had fantastic grades, so I chose to major in creative advertising instead; I received a degree in advertising from The University of Texas.
If you could choose one person to work with (outside your own agency), who would it be?
Isaac: This might be cheating, but I would have to say David Droga—who I’ve worked with. I was only at Droga5 for two years, but it left a lasting impression on me, not just because David is a creative visionary, but also because he’s a really fun and nice guy (or “bloke,” as they say in his native tongue).
Jeff: Eli Terry is the funniest guy I’ve ever met, his ability to grow outstanding facial hair is unparalleled and he’s a damn good writer.
Who was the client for your first advertising project?
Isaac: Absolut Vodka. I can’t remember exactly what the project was, perhaps because I was drinking too much at the time. Client loyalty.
Jeff: Absolut Vodka.
If you were to change professions, what would you choose to do?
Isaac: Vice President of the United States or a struggling screenwriter in LA.
Jeff: I think building really immersive video games would be a blast. I don’t even get to play them very often, but creating them would be a good time.
What do you consider to be the greatest headline of all time?
Isaac: “If TV is so bad for you, then why is there one in every hospital room?” I think it was for ABC.
Jeff: There was a great one from VW years ago... “Lime,” I think it said.
From where do your best ideas originate?
Isaac: My best ideas come from being observant—of cultural trends, people, relationships and politics—and then finding interesting ways to twist and bend those observations into compelling and entertaining ideas.
Jeff: A combination of some kind of personal experience and US Weekly.
How do you overcome a creative block?
Isaac: I don’t. If I don’t have it sometimes, I just don’t have it. I wish I had some heroic technique to push through and snatch genius from the grips of brain-freeze, but I usually just give up and go watch TV.
Jeff: Dig through it.
If you could choose any product to create an ad for, what would it be?
Isaac: SkyMall magazine. It’s just so quirky and odd; I think it would be a fun challenge to do something great for it. I like a good challenge. Plus, they sell $400 machines that transfer songs from LPs to CDs—and that’s just awesome.
Jeff: Tecate beer. It’s a product with a great vibe that I’ve been a fan of during both the best of times and the worst of times. It’s good like that.
Do you have creative outlets other than advertising?
Isaac: I’m not particularly creative outside of my job. I don’t play any instruments or anything cool like that. However, I do have an uncanny ability to look like I’m paying attention at dinner parties when, in fact, I’m not. I guess that’s sort of creative, no?
Jeff: I used to play the trombone (fourteen years ago), so I guess that counts.
What’s your approach to balancing work and life?
Isaac: I’m terrible at work/life balance. I always have this little voice in my head saying every moment not working is a lost opportunity to do something amazing. However, my wife doesn’t care about that little voice so I’m forced to take vacations and days off. It’s a rarity, but it happens.
Jeff: I wouldn’t really call it an “approach” so much as me making panicky dinner reservations 30 minutes beforehand.
What product/gadget can you not live without?
Isaac: My glasses. Probably not the most creative answer, but I can’t see without them, so it’s certainly true.
Jeff: My noise-canceling headphones, very important on long flights and walking down any street in New York City.
What’s your favorite quote?
Isaac: From Lord Of War, “They say: Evil prevails when good men do nothing. What they should say is: Evil prevails.” Kind of a morbid quote but powerful and clever. A great movie, too.
Jeff: “You don’t have enough talent to win on talent alone.” —Herb Brooks
Do you have any advice for people just entering the profession?
Isaac: Judge an agency by its creative leader. Don’t look at the name (or initials) on the building; look at the name on your CCO or ECD’s door. Advertising is a personality-driven business, so you need to respect and look up to the creative in charge. If you do, everything else will work itself out.
Jeff: Keep every idea that gets killed. If you love it, it’ll come around again for a different client at a different agency when you have a different title and maybe a better haircut.
What’s one thing you wish you knew when you started your career?
Isaac: It would’ve been nice to know that Craig Allen (of Old Spice fame) is one of the best creatives of this generation. Because, when we were both juniors at Chiat\Day, he beat me all the time on briefs and I just thought I sucked. Turns out, he was just really, really good.