With an impressive party crasher portfolio, Galen Graham got hired in advertising about 14 years ago, undertaking a junior art job at Fallon, the agency behind campaigns such as BMV Films. For 9 years he has worked at DDB Chicago, where he created campaigns for Budweiser, Bud Light and McDonald's. He is now a Creative Director at 180 Amsterdam and working for a brand that many creatives would die for: SONY PlayStation. Galen Graham, winner at Cannes, D&AD, One Show, Clio and The Emmys, among other festivals, was the chair of the Advertising Angels jury at AdPrint 2012. Today he reveals to us some of his highschool and college memories, the things that impress in relation to advertising and how he plans to make a difference in this industry.
I grew up on the (mean) streets of Evanston, Illinois. USA. As a child, I dreamed of becoming an inventor.
The craziest thing I did in highschool was crashing a college house party wearing a powder blue tuxedo. In college I was the guy who painted people's doors, owned the car that got pulled over with stolen items in the trunk and drew political cartoons for the school paper.
I decided I wanted to work in advertising when… Wait, I had a choice?
My current relationship status with advertising? What happens at work stays at work. No, that's not really true—it follows me home and there's an awkward scene with my wife.
What is great about working in advertising is that spending time on Facebook counts as research and that at the end of the day, it's only advertising.
What is great about 180 Amsterdam is that it's only one block away from The Purse And Handbag Museum.
Our brainstoming sessions take place in the courtyard.
And here's a way to picture how my desk looks like:
The most rewarding moment in my career was when I got assigned to a pet store pitch. We didn't win. But I met my wife.
My favorite place to fish insights from is students' portfolios.
In my browser history you can find… I heard there were cookies in there!
Great creative campaigns have in common the fact that they tell you a truth in an unexpected way.
I feel most frustrated when asked 'What's your favorite TV spot?'
In my opinion, the best ad campaigns ever are:
Online: Whopper Sacrifice? Subservient Chicken? Old Spice?
Print: ABSOLUT. What they accomplished is the ultimate desire for all of us in this business: to make ads that change the perception of a product. To make ads people will tear out of magazines, hang on their wall or wear as clothing. To create culture.
Ambient: Pollution OOH/green graffiti. Whether using an adhesive billboard that got dirty and revealed its message or using detergent to clean a filthy surface and create an ad, I love the resourcefulness of creating a new medium and the added meaning infused in it.
Brand Communication: Red Stripe Beer. Tagline: "It's beer. Hooray Beer!" Refreshing, bullshit-free tagline. Very appreciated from something simple like a beer.
The best clients are the ones that are willing to take risks. The worst clients are the ones that don't need an agency.
The best piece of advice I ever received from someone in the industry is have one drink less than the client.