Group Creative Director | MCGARRYBOWEN

Lee is currently a group creative director at McgarryBowen Chicago. Throughout his career, he has spearheaded campaigns for clients such as ESPN, Marriott, Walmart, Sears, Comcast, BFGoodrich Tires and the US Open to name a few. His work has been recognized nationally and internationally by the FWA, The One Show, The One Show Interactive, Communication Arts, Kelly Awards, Adweek, and Ad Age. Not to mention, Entertainment Weekly’s The Year’s Best Commercials, TruTV’s Funniest Commercials of the Year and many more. However, according to his three kids, Lee’s best talents involve SpongeBob SquarePants impersonations.


What was your very first job?

Busboy. At a Mexican restaurant called Two Pesos. That’s about all they paid me a week. I quit after about a week.


Please describe, in your own words, what your job is and what work it entails.

I’m a group creative director. So some of my time is spent creative directing – trying to foster, inspire and manage ideas along with the people who passionately and painstakingly come up with them. Other times I’m still creating – concepting ideas, writing scripts, producing content, etc. I still love to create. Luckily, I still get to do that.


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 another life I was a high school English teacher. During my summers off, I’d visit my buddy at a small ad agency where he worked. He told me the creatives got paid to come up with clever ideas. I thought that sounded fun and easy. So I went to back to grad school at the VCU Adcenter (now Brandcenter) and quickly found out how hard it actually was. But how much I loved it.


In your constantly growing and expanding industry, how do you find inspiration to keep your work fresh, innovative and relevant? 

When I have time, I peek at the industry pubs, websites and award shows. But the older I get, the more I draw inspiration from life’s experiences. And to me it’s the simple things – taking a walk, looking up at the sky, playing with my kids, people watching. Oh, and Netflix. 


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?

The BFGoodrich Integrated Campaign we did with snowboarder Shaun White is still one I’m most proud of. Mainly because of the new ways we were looking at content - how we documented it, how we made it interactive, and how we shared it out. It had a little bit of everything that clients are now all asking for – digital, social, content, pr, etc. Plus, we got to shoot race cars, ninjas, and sausquatch while hanging out with the greatest snowboarder in the world.


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