Chief Creative Officer | INNOCEAN

In his 20 plus years in advertising, Eric has been a part of some of the best creative cultures at some of the top creative agencies in the country from TBWA\Chiat Day, BBDO, DDB and Deutsch, to name a few. Working on brands that would rarely, if ever, be found on one agency roster. From Winchester Guns to Coors to Levi's to Volkswagen. While running the VW account, Eric created the highest rated Super Bowl spot of the year, two years in a row. "Punch Dub" in 2010 and "The Force" in 2011. The Force was the most viral video of all time (until recently, thanks to Shakira) with over 70 million YouTube views and counting. All of which earned me a spot on The Creativity 50, a list of the most influential creatives of that year. I love making stuff. Stuff that moves people emotionally and ultimately drives sales for my clients. This, for me, is the greatest reward. But not the only reward.  Advertising that wins awards can be pretty rewarding, too. So over the years, I’ve grabbed as many as possible. Including Cannes, One Show (gold, silver and bronze pencils), D&AD, AICP, EFFIEs and Communications Arts. My work is also part of the permanent display in The Advertising Hall of Fame, The Museum of Modern Art and The Smithsonian.


1. What was your very first job?

My first in life was an underwater boat cleaner. My first job in advertising was a production coordinator for a small ad agency in Los Angeles. I wish these two jobs were somehow related. Other than the fact that they both required a lot of work for little money.

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

As CCO of INNOCEAN USA, I help run all our offices in US with my CEO and COO partners. I look over all work and run a department of roughly 172 brillant creatives, producers, UX, CX and strategy minds and somehow convince them that I know what I’m doing every day. Coupled with partnering with my clients and help right their business wrongs.

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 the train of events that brought you to where you are today?

Hmm, well, in all honesty, it was my grandfather who patiently listened to me gripe about how much work it was to clean boats. The long hours, under a boat, stuck in the dark, dirty water for $10 a boat. He listened until I was done and simply said, “You know, you’ll make a fortune working with your mind, not your hands.” He couldn’t be more right. You know how many boats I’d have to clean to make what I make now? The point is, he made me think what the hell I was going to do for the rest of my life. A friend suggested I talk to a friend who worked a small ad agency. I started from the bottom, took advantage of every assignment that came through the creative department, built a portfolio of work, won some awards and got hired by TBWA Chiat/Day. Boom.

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

Read, watch, listen. It’s that simple. Soak up everything you can, all the time. You never know when some stupid joke, piece of dialog or crazy voice from an animated movie you watched with your 3-year-old will come in handy.

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?

I would really like to say my children. I still can’t believe I created them. But that’s not what anyone wants to hear, except for my wife. So, in all honesty, the one piece of work I’m most proud of, regardless of how many awards it won, because it didn’t win anything except the hearts and minds of 144 million people, would be last year’s :90 Super Bowl film for Hyundai: Project Better. It launched Hyundai’s new company positioning “Better Drives Us” with what we call “an act of better” and didn’t try to sell a single car. But rather, a company. Because at the end of the day, you can’t sell a better car, if it doesn’t come from a better car company. This film was truly the collaboration of so many people and required the bravest clients I’ve ever worked with to say yes to something that had never been done before and will never be done again. That’s my proudest moment. I hope to get the chance to do it again.


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