Creative Director | CORNETT

Whit Hiler, Creative Director at CORNETT, was recognized as one of AdWeek’s 2019 Creative 100 and one of Business Insider’s “24 Most Creative People in Advertising Right Now.”


AdWeek’s David Griner recently described Whit as “hands-down the biggest weirdo in advertising.” Whit’s greatest hits include “Horses Filming Horses,” "Bourbon Camouflage," "Neigh-SMR (Horse ASMR)," “Beardvertising,” “Kentucky Kicks Ass,” “Ninjas Indoor Throwing Star Range,” “The Human Centipede of Advertising Inforgraphic," "Kentucky Fried Chicken Bone Necklaces" and much more. His work has been featured on NPR, USA Today, New York Times, AdWeek, AdAge, Buzzfeed, LA Times, Fast Company and CNN.


A bonafide Kentucky Colonel, Whit is also a partner in Kentucky for Kentucky, enriching the lives of proud Kentuckians and promoting the great Commonwealth to the world in the most kick ass ways possible. He lives in downtown Lexington, KY with his wife, Christy, and four children.


See more of his work at http://whithiler.com/


1.)     What was your very first job? 


My first job was working the sales floor an outdoor sporting goods store called Phillip Galls in Lexington, Kentucky. 


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


I am a Creative Director at Cornett. My favorite part of the job is really trying to push the work/ideas into a place where people will care about it, write about it and talk about it. How can we get this idea into a place where it’s going to earn media for the client.


3.)     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? 


I spent most of my 20’s in the car business working at a Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep dealership so I didn’t really discover that the creative world was right for me until I was in my 30’s.  When I left the car business I started an online apparel brand that gave me a crash course in digital marketing (specifically social media, guerrilla marketing, stunts  and pr).  That business got off to a great start but fizzled out in 2008. From there, I needed money and ran across an ad agency called Victor & Spoils that was crowd sourcing ideas in exchange for money. I started submitting ideas to their briefs and began winning. One of those wins was their big Harley Davidson brief. Throughout all of this, my wife was working at an ad agency (Cornett). Based on the success I had with Victors & Spoils, she invited me to come work at Cornett and the rest is history. 


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


I really just try and consume a lot of media. I visit all of the ad, culture, tech pubs daily, listen to a lot of pod casts,  spend time on Instagram and Twitter, watch tv, etc. 


5.)     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? 


Back in 2012, a couple of buddies and I took it upon ourselves to rebrand the Commonwealth of Kentucky without Kentucky’s permission.  The states current slogan “Unbridled Spirit” was out and the new slogan “Kentucky Kicks Ass” was in. we launched this campaign with a really fun video that caught fire, stirred up a bunch of state pride and got a ton of press. It also kicked-off a business that I’m a partner in called Kentucky for Kentucky. 



6.)     Which creative disciplines do you commission most, and are most interested in seeing more of and why? (ie photo, film, social, experiential, vr, etc)



I’m an idea guy and really just into trying to come up with kick-ass ideas that break through the clutter and let the idea dictate the medium (ie photo, film, social, experiential, vr, etc). 


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