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Tripp Westbrook is a partner and Executive Creative Director at the Dallas, Texas ad agency Firehouse. Whether it’s running a marathon to prove he’s overcome childhood asthma or being part of a four-man team that finished 5th in a world championship regatta or mercilessly throttling coworkers at Foosball, Tripp loves a challenge, doing the unexpected and holding nothing back. This would probably explain why his work has appeared in every major creative award show, both nationally and internationally. Which he thinks is really neat and all, but like most highly competitive people, he knows there’s a lot more yet to be done.

03.05.13

Resist The Easy Route

If you have a degree in what field is it? Communications.

If you could choose one person to work with (outside your own agency), who would it be? I've worked with, alongside and for some pretty amazing people over the years, but there's a total nut-job of a designer named David Thorne (www.27b/6.com) who fascinates me. It would either be amazing or a train wreck. Either of which would be spectacular.

Who was the client for your first advertising project? Residence Inn by Marriott. It was a direct mail piece.

If you were to change professions, what would you choose to do? I'd still really like to be an astronaut. Seriously.

What do you consider to be the greatest headline of all time? On an old Volvo ad from Scali McCabe Sloves promoting the fact that rear wipers were standard: "A Volvo Discovery: Rain Falls On Rear Windows, Too." It's so simple, so assumptive I've just always loved it.

From where do your best ideas originate? There's a certain clarity of thought I get during those few minutes right before I fall asleep. The trick is trying to remember them.

How do you overcome a creative block? It usually starts with going for a run to clear my head, let go and allow my sub-conscious to mull on things. I also have a couple of books I turn to get me in the right mind frame: "The Book of Gossage" and Paul Arden's "It's not how good you are, it's how good you want to be."

If you could choose any product to create an ad for, what would it be? Honestly, it doesn't really matter to me. I think you can do a great ad for any product. What matters is the client behind the product. How adventurous are they willing to be? I want to do work for really open minded clients.

Do you have creative outlets other than advertising? Does yard work count? Because I cut what appears to be a neat little crosshatch into the lawn every other week.

What's your approach to balancing work and life? Try not to let one run over the other. I've also learned over the years that if something has to give, let that something be work. It's not nearly as important as family.

What product/gadget can you not live without? A coffee maker. Life really begins there.

What's your favorite quote? The one I usually use is un-printable for a family publication. But someone said this to me long ago and I took it to heart, "It's a whole lot easier to say yes than it is to say no. Try to resist taking the easy route."

Do you have any advice for people just entering the profession? Don't ever take a job for money. Take it for opportunity. To learn, to grow, to excel...whatever. If you do those things well, the money will follow.

What's one thing you wish you knew when you started your career? I wish I'd known how fragile great ideas really are.