Aaron WALTON

Partner | WALTON ISAACSON

 

Aaron Walton

Aaron Walton is co-founder of Walton Isaacson (WI), a full-service advertising agency, with offices in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Miami and Tokyo. Walton’s creativity and strategic acumen have made him one of the most admired executives throughout the Advertising, Brand Marketing and Entertainment Industry.  Named 2015 Advertising Executive of the Year at Target Market News’ MAAX Awards (Marketing to African Americans with Excellence) and Entrepreneur of the Year by the Asian Business Association of Orange County,Walton alsowas elected by Ebony Magazine to the “2013 POWER 100” list, an award given to the nation’s most influential Americans from the worlds of religion, business, media and the creative arts and is a member of the OUT 100 list of the most influential LGBT leaders in the U.S. A past Black Enterprise and Ad Age Agency of the Year, Walton Isaacson was ranked one of the Inc. 5000 fastest growing private companies in the U.S.  in 2014. This year Walton Isaacson was named Southern California’s Minority “Supplier of the Year” for an unprecedented five times in six years for their work with Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. – Lexus Division.

WI was founded in 2005 by Walton and fellow industry leader Cory Isaacson, in partnership with NBA superstar and entrepreneurial legend, Earvin “Magic” Johnson. Walton began his career in marketing with PepsiCo where he was quickly promoted to brand management for the Pepsi and Mountain Dew brands and then Entertainment Marketing Manager for PepsiCo and developed the entertainment marketing strategy for the entire company. After his stint at PepsiCo, Walton started his own company, Aaron Walton Entertainment (AWE), which he sold in 2001 to Omnicom’s DAS division.  Walton is a Board Advisor for the HollyRod Foundation, which is dedicated to providing compassionate care to those living with Autism and Parkinson’s disease. He also sits on the boards of the award-winning Tectonic Theater Project and The Marcus Graham Project. 

questionnaire

1.)     What was your very first job?  

I started as a Research Analyst at Pepsi Cola during the height of Cola Wars in the 1980s.  I was quickly promoted as brand manager for Mountain Dew before traveling throughout the world representing Pepsi as the major sponsor of Michael Jackson’s iconic “Bad” tour. 

 

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

 As Co-Founder of Walton Isaacson,  I lead an advertising agency that goes well beyond the conventional agency model. Working with Cory Isaacson, my primary responsibilities include overseeing the creation of advertising, promotion, social media and special events for clients;  providing a thoroughgoing analysis of the relationship that brands have with specific consumers (i.e., Black, Hispanic and LGBTQ);  developing the agency leadership team; expanding the client roaster; reviewing the creative; and managing agency profitability.  An example of what we’ve done that’s beyond the traditional agency model is to produce and create “Verses & Flow,” which was nominated for an NAACP Image Award (see question five below).  

 

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? 

While I thought it was really important to give myself a solid business management foundation, I’ve always wanted to be part of the creative story telling process.  When I was little, my grandmother took me to see You’re A Good Man,Charlie Brown on stage and that immediately sealed the deal of my interest in working in around the creative arts.  Now that I stop and think about it, three of my favorite TV shows when I was little were BewitchedThe Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Dick Van Dyke Show.  All of them involved people running around and creating something fun and interesting, whether it was Darrin Stephens creating ads, Mary producing the news or Rob, Buddy and Sally sitting around the writers room.  I immediately connect with very creative people (as in the Jackson tour) and find a way to contribute to the process that nurtures their talent and gets the best out of everyone involved.  

 

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

I continue to make it a point to find and cultivate friends who challenge each other to remain relevant.  Together, we encourage each other  to take in that extra piece of theatre or museum exhibit or look for that new musical  artist who will become tremendously influential.   These uber creative people are at the top of their professions in fashion, entertainment and design.  Since 2012,  I’ve had both the honor and pleasure of modeling twice a year on the Paris runway and in Japan for Rynshu, the haute couture Japanese designer. Being part of these brilliant, meticulously staged shows and traveling to Paris always invigorates my spirit and invariably leads to ideas that make my own work better.  

 

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?  

It would have to be “Verses and Flow,” television series which features spoken-word and musical performances from poets and R&B singers that are anchored in contemporary cultural, political and social topics.   We produced the series for TVOne with Lexus because everything else out there lacked the cultural relevance that we felt was necessary for Lexus to truly connect with black consumers.  “Verses and Flow” has given a leg up to many talented artists and we were thrilled that a client furnished program was nominated for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Variety – Series or Special.  

 

6.)     Which creative disciplines are you most interested in and use the most? i.e.: photography, film, social, experiential etc.

The creative disciplines that are most interesting to me are those that combine movement and music to ignite an emotional reaction from the viewer.

 

 

 

 

 

jury

Art Producer | VANS
Creative Consultant
Art Director | JOHN PAUL MITCHELL
Sr. Art Director | AQUIS
Sr Producer | THE NORTH FACE
Director, Brand Strategy | TWITTER
Assoc. CD/Art Director | LULULEMON
VP Creative Director | RPA
Design Director | SELECT WORLD
Creative Director | DECKERS - UGG
Communications Manager | INSTAGRAM
Photo Director | ORACLE
Photo Director | GOOGLE
Global Creative Director | STARBUCKS
Creative Director | FITBIT
Creative Director | DISNEY
Creative Director | NBC
Sr Content Mktg Manager | LINKEDIN
Creative Director | DAVID&GOLIATH
Creative Director | DOLBY LABORATORIES
Creative Director | SAATCHI & SAATCHI
Group Creative Director | CONILL
Creative Director | RPA
Sr. Art Director | AMOUR VERT
SVP Integrated Production | DEUTSCH
VP WW Photography | PARAMOUNT PICTURES
Sr. Photo Editor | WIRED
Sr. Art Director | AKQA
VP Creative Services | OGILVY MEXICO
Associate Creative Director
Managing Director | ISSUE
Sr. Art Director | HAUTELOOK
Co-Founder | NIXON
Sr Direction Creative Production | NIKE
SVP of Creative Marketing | E! Entertainment
Exec. CD | CIRCUS MARKETING
Creative Director | PITCH
Design Director | PHENOMENON
Global Creative Director | BENEFIT COSMETICS
Global Photography Lead | PAYPAL
SVP Creative Director | DEUTSCH
Creative Director | MORPHE
Sr. Director, Creative Services | FABLETICS
Marketing Director | DESIGN HUNTER
Global Creative Director | MURAD
Producer, Brand Mktg | UBER
CMO | BELKIN INTERNATIONAL
Photography Lead | AIRBNB
CMO | STANCE SOCKS
VP, Creative Director | NBCUniversal, Inc.
Dir. Of Video Prod. | Restoration Hardware
Director of Photography | WILLIAMS-SONOMA
Creative Director | FERNWEH
Producer | FACEBOOK
Head of Content | TWENTYFIRSTCENTURY
Dir. of Creative Advertising | SONY
Creative Director | RPA
VP, Executive Creative Director | STITCH FIX
Creative Director | ANOMALY
Photo Art Director | UBER
Associate Creative Director | AMAZON
Sr. Manager of Creative Services | HOURGLASS
VP Creative | SONY
Freelance Producer | ANOMALY
Art Director | SEPHORA
CD | FACEBOOK
Photo Director | APPLE
Art Director | SEGA
Associate Creative Director | FACEBOOK
EVP Creative Director | MEKANISM
Creative Director | NORDSTROM
Art Director | OLD NAVY
Sr. Digital Marketing Manager | ASICS
Marketing Director | HASBRO
Sr Director, Photo & Creative | BANANA REPUBLIC
Design Lead | DOORDASH
Art Director | FACEBOOK
VP Creative Director | LYFT
Design Lead | NETFLIX
Art Buying Manager | STARBUCKS
Creative Director | PEREIRA O'DELL
Creative Director | ANOMALY
Personal Systems Creative Lead | HP
Creative Agency Lead | GOOGLE
Creative Lead | NETFLIX
Sr. Creative Director | DOLLAR SHAVE CLUB
Print Creative Lead | HP
SVP Creative Director | THE REFINERY
Executive Creative Director | DDW
VP Creative Director | BANANA REPUBLIC
VP Creative | DAVID'S BRIDAL
VP Group Creative Director | TECHSTYLE
Sr. Intgrtd Art/Content Prod. | 72ANDSUNNY
ECD | SID LEE LA
VP Creative | JUSTFAB
Sr. Art Director | NYX PROFESSIONAL MAKEUP
Executive Creative Director | ELECTRO CREATIVE
Art Director | BANANA REPUBLIC
Managing Producer | GAP/BANANA REPUBLIC
Dir. of Art Production | INNOCEAN
VP Creative Services | WARNER BROS.
Global Creative Director | AMAZON STUDIOS
Art Director | VANS
Senior Director, Creative | OLD NAVY
Creative Director | INTERSCOPE
Sr. Integrated Producer | LINKEDIN
Head of Creative | GOOGLE
Creative Director, UX | VISA
Creative Lead | PAYPAL
Creative Lead, ACD | SALESFORCE
Sr CD Global Brand Imaging | NIKE
Chief Creative Officer | OMELET
Partner | WALTON ISAACSON
Chief Creative Officer | POP
Assoc. Creative Director | M/H VCCP
VP Creative Director | BLAIR
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