Monthly Archives: July 2010

GSD&M Idea City Welcomes Mike Wilson as Chief Creative Officer

As a bookend to the previous Guy Bommarito post, I am pleased and proud to spread the good news coming out of Austin, TX. Following a 5-month national search that included a handful of the top creative leaders in the industry, GSD&M Idea City found their man, Mike Wilson.  I placed Wilson in one of his first  jobs, moving him to Atlanta from NYC in the early-1990’s as a bantam copywriter. We’ve remained in touch over the years.  There are many things to like about Mike — his demeanor and talent notwithstanding. But, what I like best about him is that we both share the same alma mater, Iona College in New Rochelle, NY, where Mike lettered on the varsity hockey team.

Here is a great article on Mike and the agency in this week’s Austin Business Journal:

And here’s the official release from the Idea City newsroom:

Mike Wilson has joined GSD&M Idea City as chief creative officer. In his new role, Wilson will lead all creative efforts and output for the agency.

Prior to GSD&M, Wilson served as EVP/chief creative officer at Dentsu America where he handled brands including Toyota and Canon. Prior to that, Mike held creative leadership positions at Ogilvy & Mather/NY where he worked on Kodak, American Express Blue, DHL, Jaguar, WebMD, KFC International, Suave, Hershey’s and Duracell.

“Mike can help us make a great difference for our clients and our agency. He has the experience and approach to lead our creative efforts and build on our current focus and momentum,” said Duff Stewart, president and CEO of GSD&M Idea City. “Great work is the lifeblood of an agency and as we work to grow our clients’ businesses and compete in a changing environment, Mike will be a vital part of our creative vision for clients and for our agency.”

After a brief stint on Wall Street, Wilson dove into the advertising world. Over the course of his career, he has won dozens of awards for creativity and effectiveness including two Gold Effies for Kodak and a Silver Effie for DHL.

“Having worked on everything from big, international brands to small, targeted PSAs, Mike understands the changing dynamics of marketing and advertising and has a track record of bringing out the best in those he works with,” continued Stewart. “He’s a great fit with our agency. From the moment we met him, he felt like one of us.”

Wilson attended The University of Texas at Austin where he competed on the men’s national championship swim team. He transferred to Iona College where he completed a dual degree, earning a B.S. in psychology and a B.A. in English.

Guy Bommarito Tells Us What We Don’t Know

The Return of The Prodigal Son

The first time I heard Guy Bommarito’s voice was in 1992. He was just named the new ECD of a regional agency with about 100 employees in Austin, TX — GSD&M. They were Longhorns long on ambition to become a great creative agency. They were good — but Guy wanted them to be great. Like Bogusky, his commitment to attracting top talent from the best agencies in America was unwavering.

GSD&M’s creative goal was to do the best broadcast of any agency outside of NY or Chicago. At the time, great print advertising was coming out of Minneapolis and Richmond — both cities had thriving, robust ad communities. So for the first time, great work was being heavily awarded and highly recognized from outside of the major hub cities. But, the big broadcast was still being created in NY and Chicago (and to some degree, San Francisco). There were few agencies doing national TV in the regions — and what little there was didn’t match the creative level of the Print coming out of Minneapolis and Richmond.

GSD&M changed that. And Guy Bommarito was the force behind it, with the courage to act upon the vision of recruiting top talent to Austin — a fertile creative Petri dish of a city (State Capitol, State University, thriving music scene). A lot of guys talked about doing this, and a few (like Doner) were able to produce good broadcast sporadically. But, This Guy was In Love With You if you had a great reel and skin thick enough to be a creative cowboy — you were hired. So in the ensuing years, dozens of Palma people loaded up the Bekins moving van and sought gold (pencils) in them hills of the land of the Longhorns. And memorable TV campaigns followed.

Recently, Guy addressed his native Houston’s Ad Club.  Here’s the video from the speech, the return of the prodigal son:

Guy Bommarito is a free-lance writer/creative director living in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is probably best known for his tenure at GSD&M where, as executive creative director, he was named to Adweek’s Creative All-Star teams twice, and Graphis magazine named GSD&M one of the top ten most creative agencies in the world. He can be reached at

Creative Musings, Part II

If you’re any good at what you do, you were at the beach last week. But, as Lou Reed says, “some folks like us/we gotta work”. Either way, you’re reading this now. Let’s see; birds are flapping oily wings in The Gulf (they may fly north this winter), the Dow dipped under 10, we survived the global calamity known as the Fifa World Cup (their referees make our baseball umpires look pretty good), and Larry King may open a bagel store. You haven’t missed much.

Don’t you feel like marketing has become so “targeted” that if you’re not a Facebook fan of a brand, you’re nothing?  If we are what we eat, what am I, chopped liver? Do me a favor, if I ever become a fan of Jiffy Auto Lube (Become a fan of Jiffy Lube), please shoot me and put me out of my misery. You have my permission. I just need an oil change.

It’s times like these when we need Cliff Freeman more than ever. When was the last time you saw a really funny ad? Unless you think Betty White getting hammered into the mud is funny: video.  Or a semi-racist pot shot at Western Asians: video (where’s the whistle-blowing FCC? — oh, in Washington, duh). Or a beer ad where some modern-day Blutarsky wreaks massive destruction on the neighborhood cookout.

Since it’s summertime, everyone does a summer reading list. So I won’t. But, here’s a shortlist download of my favorite summer-themed songs for your iPod:

When you buy a pound of Swiss cheese at the deli, do they factor in the holes?

I’ve never been to Cannes. My main interest in titanium is at the end of a Callaway Grafalloy shaft. The notion of a “Titanium” award seems a little too self-important to me anyway. But, I do love going to NYC in early May for The One Show. The notion of a Gold Pencil feels a lot more in line with our industry than a Titanium “Lion”. Although it does look a little like the Cowardly Lion from The Wizard of Oz, so maybe it is aptly named. The One Show is the substance; Cannes, the style. I do, however, get this feeling that the Ticonderoga #2 may soon appear on the endangered species list.

Bogusky leaves MDC. What was the over/under on how long Alex would hunker down on a corporate job? If you had the over and 5 months, you lost. My prediction is he soon shows up on TV with his own show. He’ll be like Donny Deutsch, except interesting.

Actually, I think the most interesting guy in our industry is Roy Spence of GSD&M. Roy is a larger-than-life personality in an era of very small ad men. For good summer reading, try his book on purpose-based branding, It’s Not What You Sell, It’s What You Stand For:

I’m shuffling off to Shutter Island for my vacation. Ttyl.

The New Toys: a creative director’s perspective on digital advertising

In early May, I read an Adweek creative feature on the first generation of iPad marketing efforts. As a believer that the iPad will revolutionize Print advertising, I was especially interested in the initial work and what creatives thought about the new medium (as well as all the other “new toys”). Lo and behold, in the lead paragraph of the article was an enlightening quote from Michael Ancevic, a Palma person and GCD at Mullen in Boston.  Here’s the article: Born-Again Ads

I first discovered Michael’s work in the old Print Design Annual in the late-90’s. His work was highly conceptual with a special design sense. He was just a kid at a little agency in Milwaukee but I could tell he had a great touch so I recruited him to a well-known creative power in San Francisco. He turned up at Mullen a few years thereafter.

When I read what Michael had to say in the Adweek story, I was anxious to get him to write more about it for He said, “We felt we were doing something that’s going to change everything. … It’s print on steroids.” I was curious as to what the best creatives had to say about the new tools. I wanted someone who is actually using the new tools well to give us their perspective. There’s so much crap in the blogosphere about digital and social — the Shaman and false prophets. Here’s a guy who’s doing it, and doing it well and here’s what he’s got to say:

The New Toys

by Michael Ancevic

“When Michael (Palma) asked me to write in this space on the new toys — by the “new toys”, we mean the plethora of digital assets now available to us as marketers and advertisers these days — I was so enthused that I am writing this post on my vacation. For me, these “toys” mean that we are living in an incredibly exciting time to be a creative person or a marketer because these amazing new channels are now available to us to create and market in.

I have thought about this subject a fair amount lately as it relates to creativity and to marketing and orchestrating brand experiences and communications. I can tell you this: as a creative, once you first get exposed to the new toys there is a bit of an overwhelming sensation that initially sets in…this is mostly because it’s NEW of course. Once you get used to that, there is another wave of fear because there is another new toy coming at you every few days once you are aware of them. But I can say that once you get past the initial fear and embrace and roll with all of them, it becomes very exciting. There is a continuous supply of new toys…learn to love this and get comfortable with it—as it turns out, the ability to continually embrace change is also one of the new toys.

I recently did a campaign launch that included the following mix: 3 ads on the much-anticipated first ever iPad issue of Wired Magazine, an augmented reality site (that we used traditional magazines to drive traffic to), Facebook engagement ads, online ads, a social media crowdsourcing platform, a YouTube channel upgrade, 60, 30, and 15 second national tv spots, magazine ads and pr blog outreach. This was a very exciting campaign to be a part of. In fact, when the iPad ad first came out last month, I felt like a junior creative who just had his first ad published in a magazine and was looking at it for the first time at Borders!

We have also done projects with many microsites, mobile WAP sites and a purely social media launches—this is all from a person who came from the “traditional” ad background mind you– and believe me, as a creative person, I could not have imagined this 5 years ago. Or even imagined how to think this way let alone be able to speak to clients with any sense of expertise or authority. But today, it gets my heart racing and I love it. I now look at advertising truly as a brand orchestrator, applying just the right amount of violin here, and cello there, with a mix or horns and drums occasionally with a whole host of additional instruments. Sometimes we even smash the instruments. It’s different every time. The fact is, that we can now reach audiences in so many different ways and reach audiences that are living in so many different places.

I hear a lot of people saying that you have to just be thinking in social media, or in digital these days…you even hear people who aren’t interested in the new toys at all saying that you should still just be thinking in TV and print. For me the new toys are part of a well-balanced media diet that we are carefully feeding to the consumer in a way that is strategically relevant and brand appropriate…it’s not all or nothing. Once you embrace this well-balanced diet thinking and go for the ride, you will find it to be not only unbelievably powerful but also unbelievably fun. The new marriage of media types and creative types is very exciting and I believe it’s critical to success today. Next time you sit down with a new creative brief, invite some new faces into the room. It might make you uncomfortable at first but just go for it, it will re-invigorate you and hopefully your clients will love you (even more) for it!

Turns out the new toys are actually incredibly powerful new tools! Go out and use them.”

Michael Ancevic is an SVP Group Creative Director at Mullen in Boston where he has helped shape the strategy and creative on many of the agency’s brands. He has also judged some shows and won some stuff along the way.