Creative Director | 72 AND SUNNY

Adam Koppel abandoned the idea of graduate school and began his career in New York leading to his parents’ confusion and disappointment. He worked at Mad Dogs & Englishmen before moving to San Francisco where he spent time making ads and winning awards for Mccann, Venables Bell & Partners, Hal Riney and Camp & King. He then continued to confuse his parents by moving to Tokyo to work at Wieden + Kennedy. Following that he came back to the USA to work at 72&Sunny LA. He now lives in Amsterdam working as a creative director at 72&Sunny Amsterdam. His parents are still confused, but hopefully no longer disappointed.


What was your very first job? What does it feel like to look back at it now? 

My first advertising job was at Mad Dogs & Englishmen. I was 23 and doing comedy in New York City. An ECD there saw my show and asked if I wanted to try advertising. I didn’t know what a copywriter was or did. But that’s what I miss. Looking back, that freedom and ignorance let me trust my gut. I just wanted to make things I wanted to see. It was that simple. I always try to get back to that mindset.


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

I am a creative director. In its simplest form that means guiding a creative idea from start to finish. Whatever that takes. Sometimes you have to write. Sometimes you have to spend more time nurturing a young team. Sometimes it is all about cracking the brief or strategy. And sometimes it is just talking to a client every day to gain their trust. It’s always different, but the goal is always the same: make something people want to experience.

How did you discover that the creative world is right for you? Was there a time in your life that you credit to this discovery? Which train of events did bring you to where you are today?

I also knew I wanted to use creativity and humor to contribute to the world in some way. My college thesis was on the psychological roots and functions of humor. I actually wanted to be a child psychologist and use some of these theories to help kids. I really just fell into advertising. It’s not as noble as something else, but I love that it is a hybrid of rational and emotional. I’ve always loved making people laugh and enjoy something, but have also been interested in why they enjoy those things. Good advertising falls right in that sweet spot.

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

Honestly, I just try to listen and be observant to people, life, arts… anything. I recently read that the scientific revolution really happened because people admitted ignorance to things. Before any discovery can be made you have to admit you don’t know something. I don’t know a lot, but knowing that makes me a better listener and observer of the world.

If you had to pick one piece of work or project that you are most proud of, especially for the creative work and innovation it required rather than its recognition or industry success, what would it be?

For Nike Japan we did a campaign where we took three women that couldn’t complete the previous year’s Nagoya Marathon and trained them to complete it. (And remember this is Japan so sport culture there is different. There was real shame involved in not finishing, which caused some women to stop running completely.) It was a back of the deck idea, sold right before the holiday break. No one thought it would happen. But it was the most emotional experience for all of us. It wasn’t just physical training. It was emotional and real. All three women finished the marathon. All three cried at the finish line. And I’m pretty sure the whole team that worked on it cried, too.


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