An industry-leading talent, Bob spearheads creative development for some of the world’s leading companies. He has a storied career in developing cross-functional solutions, working in collaboration with experts in digital, data and analytics, and strategy. At VSA, Bob leads creative for clients such as AB InBev, Google, Nike, Hayneedle, Kraft-Heinz, Kimberly-Clark, among others. Recently he led creative on the “Kleenex. Someone Needs One” campaign which was honored by top awards shows and won a Silver Effie as one of Kimberly-Clark's most successful campaigns in history. Others might recognize Bob’s name as the creator of Bud Light’s “Real Men of Genius” campaign. Outside of the agency sphere, he recently completed a short film titled Beth about the backstory of the famous KISS song of the same name. His work is also in the MoMA’s permanent collection


What was your very first job?
My first first job was mopping floors at Treasure Island grocery store in seventh grade. I remember my boss telling me to go mop the vestibule, and having to go back after five minutes and ask 'what's a vestibule?' My first professional type job though was with Bender, Browning, Dolby and Sanderson Advertising in Chicago. They didn't have an opening for a copywriter, but instead offered me a job in PR where my first client was Davy Jones of The Monkees (Hey, hey we're the Monkees!). I helped organize a book signing tour and travelled around to malls and concerts helping to spread the word. I learned the power of having something provocative and interesting to say, and if you don't have that, have an adorable British heartthrob celebrity.
Please describe, in your own words, what your job is and what work it entails.
I am a Partner and Executive Creative Director at VSA Partners. As a partner, my job is to help lead and grow the agency. As Executive Creative Director, I consider my job to be helping to inspire and create ideas that change business and the world around us, hopefully for the better ;).
How did you discover that the creative world was right for you? Was there a time in your life that you credit to this discovery? What was there train of events that brought you to where you are today?
In high school, I really came alive in a lot of art classes- photography, painting, creative writing etc- but for some reason I didn't think of it as something I could actually do for a living. I went to college to study business, and after two years of really struggling, I had a statistics professor pull me aside after class and say, empathetically, 'Bob, statistics is not for you.' I was like 'huh. ok now what?' and he took me to his office where we started paging through the course directory. We got to the School of Journalism and I asked what that was about, and the chapter revealed classes like advertising, creative writing and journalism. I remember saying 'that's a THING?!!!' I really had no idea you could pursue those things and they could lead to actual careers. I know, I was pretty dumb. After that, school got exciting, and the next two years were fun and inspired me to do what I do today. It also taught me to listen to my gut and, not what you think other people want you to do. That's still tough, but I try really hard to remember it.
In your constantly growing and expanding industry, how do you find inspiration to keep your work fresh, innovative and relevant?
When you get to an idea that makes the hair on your arm stand up- that gives you 'chicken skin', the kind that you can't wait to show someone else because it's so fun or so smart or so emotional. This is the best business in the world, because when you push for that level of excitement, everything gets easier. Clients love it and are excited by it too. Directors and production companies all want to work with you. People in the world talk about and share the idea. You get drunk off of the attention, and the positivity is magnetic. More clients want to work with you, more creatives ask to come join your agency, and the best work leads to even better work. It's the hardest thing to get to, but if you've been lucky enough to feel it even once, you know you will never be truly satisfied with anything else.
If you had to pick one piece of work or project that you are most proud of, more for the creative work and innovation it required, rather than its recognition or industry “success,” what would it be?
I was so proud to work on the Real Men of Genius campaign for Budweiser. To this day it was one of the most exciting and collaborative experiences I've ever been a part of. To see something go from a silly idea in my head, to then turn into a script, a few demos, a campaign, and finally a music session with the guy who sang 'Eye of the Tiger' (the genius Dave Bickler) was just so incredible. Don't ever stop listening to the little voice in your head- and don't edit it to satisfy anyone but yourself, because every once in a while it's right.


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