Hailing from Detroit, MI, he applies a blue collar work-ethic, with his desire to move the world forward through meaningful work. Michael graduated with a BFA, with a concentration in Design from Howard University in Washington, DC. After graduation, Michael moved back to Detroit and began his advertising career at GlobalHue in Detroit where he worked on brands like Jeep, Walmart, The NBA, as well as new business. He transitioned to Chicago, where he worked at commonground on Nissan, Bacardi Flavored Rum, Bombay Sapphire, Nike Running, and Miller Lite.Most recently, he joined the Chicago office of Walton Isaacson, where he leads day-to-day creative on Spalding, Bristol-Myers Squibb as well as Miller Coors. He is huge advocate for anything Detroit, as well as a lover of art, design, film, fashion and cars. He wants to use his voice to create more diversity and opportunities for minorities in the advertising world.
What was your very first job?
My very first job was actually test driving cars for Chrysler, during my summers home from college. Great experience. I learned a lot about work ethic and being dedicated. My first advertising gig was being a junior art director at GlobalHue in Detroit, MI.
Please describe, in your own words, what your job is and what work it entails.
As an associate creative director, it is my job to help ensure the creative vision is upheld, while being strategic with how all components are executed. As a day-to-day lead, I have to give direction to the creative, work with strategy on making sure our creative is effective and fostering the growth of not only our business, but the other creatives who work on it.
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?
While I have been involved in the arts my entire life, it wasn’t until after college that I really discovered advertising. I always knew I wanted to use my natural skillset to make a living and make an impact, but I wasn’t sure how. Getting to where I am now, is largely based on people taking a chance on me. I was green, and didn’t know much, but I had a thirst for knowledge and a desire to become an industry professional. Getting my first ad gig, really set everything in motion, and set me out on my path to where I am today.
In your constantly growing and expanding industry, how do you find inspiration to keep your work fresh, innovative and relevant?
The cool thing about advertising, is that new technology and trends are always shaping and shifting HOW we do business. The underlying components generally stay the same, but being a sponge and learning what and where your consumers are is extremely important. In this shifting landscape, I look to films, art, and what’s happening in the social space to guide and spearhead our efforts.
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?
One project in particular that stands out is a project that was completed for our Spalding brand. The brand was celebrating the anniversary of the game of basketball, and wanted to make a splash in the digital/social world. So, we designed a commemorative basketball, that payed homage to the tradition and history of the game. The basketballs were seeded with influencers, and we gained a bunch of organic traction and growth. ESPN even picked up on the story. In creating something simple like a basketball, we were able to bring awareness to not only the anniversary of the game, but Spalding’s role in this anniversary. The results were awesome.