Creative Globetrotter and Brett McKenzie

Creative Globetrotter at ADC Global New York

ADC Global

I am almost at the end of my North American trip that began in Los Angeles. This leg of the trip took me from the West coast of USA and Canada all the way up to the East Coast of North America – New York City. I visited agencies like Goodby & Silverstein, Wieden + Kennedy, DDB, James Walter Thompson and Publicis in both Canada and the USA. At the very end of this trip, I changed my plans. Originally, I was planning to go home after New York City but I decided to add one more continent: South America. Before leaving North America, I had a good talk about my round the world trip at the Art Directors Club Global office in Midtown Manhattan. ADC Global is one of the biggest advertising organizations in the world. They organize global events such as Portfolio Night. On one specific day each year, in over 30 places in the world there is a gathering of creatives who show their portfolio to top creatives and creative directors. In an inspiring, cozy atmosphere with good drinks and lively chat people show their best creative work and hopefully will have a possible job or interview afterwards. Above all, showing how good you are or you want to be with constructive comments on your work is the most important feature. The other big event that ADC holds is the Miami Ad week. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to come over because i was on the other side of North America. And of course, I also missed the ADC Awards for advertising work for seniors as well for junior creatives (Young guns).


ADC Global New York

It was difficult to generate contacts in New York because a lot of agencies were busy but a lot of creatives I know were in Europe at Cannes, France. Fortunately, Brett McKenzie of ADC Global had some time to meet me. Even in the weekend. So big thumbs up! Brett showed me the gallery downstairs. A lot of design stuff is in the Gallery. Last week for example there was an event of MTV and the TV Series ‘Teen wolf’ art. The office was upstairs. Our conversation started first about the first steps of ADC Global. But ADC Global has nothing to do with the ADCN (Art Directors Club Netherlands) and ADC Europe. They told me that there are some contacts but it’s not yet connected. In the future they hope there will be a greater sense of community. Brett told me they started in 2001 in Canada (Brett is Canadian by the way) with one of the prime founders Ignacio Oreamuno. Ignacio is by the way exactly doing what I’m doing. Traveling the world and get in touch with creative people at several agencies in different continents. Although he is doing it on a much higher level. Brett also told me that they have an office in London, run by Sarah Shanks. The London office is primiarly responsible for organizing events in the Eurasia region. For example, India – which is so far from USA, making it difficult to communicate effectively.


Cultural differences

I told him about my experiences across the globe. What do I think about Canadian and US advertising? By the way, there’s actually no difference, except for the Province of Quebec.. In Quebec want do it totally different – that was my experience in Montreal. They prefer to operate in a more ‘French’ way. In fact, they are more French then the French itself from France! However, their advertising is more subtle and down to earth instead of the bigger, more flashy compared to the English North Americans. But if people from Quebec want creative more international advertising normally the clients not allow that although you have some agencies like Sid Lee they’re looking abroad. Quebec is for me a little bit like Australia and New Zealand. Looking more to their own advertising and country. Allowing no foreigners involving their work. Well you can work there as foreigner if possible but it’s a lot harder.


Old vs New

The difference of Cannes and Miami Ad week is widely spoken. Miami Ad week is more relaxed, less of a party, and is more local (North American). Cannes is an international event, where you could party all day long and besides there are seminars and presentations at the conference hall the real thing is happening outside. It reminds me of the ‘old time’ advertising days, where Advertising was matched with the world of Glamour. Up to the nineties and beginning of the 2000’s there more glamour advertising with huge egos and party a lot and advertising is their life. Because of that clients do not have any insightful creatives or agencies in those days can ask anything you want. One photo for a brand cost you 100K dollar. But since 2008 all the agencies are smaller and ask half of the price (and still earning a lot of money). So the clients are wondering why not achieve great creative things for half the price and in good times ask more? You are doing more for less. Art Directors like me should be more all round. Doing some photoshopping and graphic design if it possible. That also includes more creative people in multimedia, social media, photographers, designers etc. Nowadays you still have some egos but teamwork is worth the effort instead of all creative teams are like an island. I experienced that in Kuala Lumpur, San Francisco and in Toronto. You achieve a lot more to be constructive to each other and not burn someone down. In Amsterdam James Walter Thompson is reorganizing. Approximately twoyears ago the James Walter Thomspon office was exposed to ‘New time’: more constructive teamwork.. Working late but the boost of energy is more worth it when doing teamwork. And I’m much happier with that. Although you still have some egos and just doing ‘Art Direction’ but at the end the client is not paying for that anymore.


It was a good end of my North American trip and balancing up. I want to thank Brett and ADC Global to give me the opportunity to be at the Gallery and the ADC office for welcoming me.

Check the website of Art Directors Club Global:

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