Group Creative Director | DISNEY

As EVP, Chief Creative Officer, Vida Cornelious is currently leading the creative evolution of multicultural agency, Walton Isaacson. Since joining the firm in April 2015, her leadership has led the team to two new business wins adding an incremental $10MM in agency billings. 

Prior to joining WI, she lead the creative evolution of GlobalHue as their 

EVP, CCO. In 2009 she landed the U.S Jeep brand business. Winning the coveted SUV account, was the primary catalyst that turned the veteran Multicultural shop, into a Total Market creative powerhouse.  From 2009-2015, she led all Jeep national advertising efforts, contributing to the brand being named “The #1 Selling SUV, Most Patriotic, and Most Awarded.” 

Her work has topped the Superbowl USAToday Admeter Poll and been awarded at Cannes International Advertising Festival, Chicago Creative Club, London International Awards, The Effie’s, Addy’s, Communication Arts, Graphis and Luerzer’s Archive.


1.)  What was your very first job? 

My first job in advertising, was as a Jr. Art Director at Burrell Communications in Chicago.  I was working on the Coca-Cola/Sprite account focused on youth consumers.


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

I am currently a GCD with Disney, servicing the International Parks and Resorts Division. My main responsibilities are to provide leadership and oversight to the internal creative team and under the VP, develop fully integrated brand campaigns to support the business goals and consumer marketing initiatives of our destinations and parks. 


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? 

I was always an artistically inclined kid. I preferred drawing and sketching, to sports or any other hobbies. I always thought I would end up doing something creative with my life. My family is full of creative people. I have a sister that spent many years painting and my mother taught music and performed Opera at the Met. So growing up, creative pursuits were always encouraged.


As far as my path into advertising, I will credit that to a professor I had in college. He encouraged me to go to Graduate School and supplement my design degree with and understanding of Marketing and Advertising. He felt I had more of a mind for ideas and insightful concepts, so he pushed me to pursue being an Art Director.  That was the main step that set me on the path to where I am today.


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

I find inspiration in many places. I love to travel; to indulge in other cultures and see what people value in their lives. Wherever I go, I do something called “wander walking” where I simply find a place – and walk. I take the time to take in as much as I can. I turn corners, I people watch, I listen to random conversations.


I also love photography and writing. I read biographies, screenplays. I overload on movies and documentaries…anything that has a compelling “story”

because we are storytellers in this business.


Relevance is important in our industry and being able to decipher what is happening in culture and influencing people’s thought process is how you can generate work that people care about and can feel connected to.  We have seen so many brands get it wrong simply because they have no idea what is on the minds of people and how they are being affected by what is happening in the world.



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? 

There was a very small budget project I did for HBO’s Game of Thrones many years ago. The agency was tasked with helping Millennials who were not fans of the show,

“get in on it” and become avid watchers. So the goal was to find a way to catch them up on past seasons, make them fans, so they would be excited to watch upcoming seasons. Our solution was to create the GAME OF THRONES “MIXTAPE” in partnership with RAP GENIUS. We found 12 popular rap artists who were already fans of the show and had them create original songs to be the “cheat sheet” for an episode. The 12 song Mixtape was released in social media by HBO and unlocked with a free trial subscription. Using RAPGENUIS.COM the artist’s lyrics were hot spotted so we could link footage of the episode referred to by the song. It was amazingly successful, generated viral buzz, and we used something that was inherent to the target in underground music culture in an authentic, innovative way.

The overall effort garnered about 400M impressions for an effort that was funded for less than $300k.


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