Creative Director/Partner | THEORY SF

Chip is a founder and ECD of Theory SF; a 5-year-old, independent brand agency in San Francisco. Chip has worked at various agencies up and down the left coast and has helped create memorable work and experiences for Apple, General Motors, Tesco, Google, The Walt Disney Co, The Rolling Stones, among others. His expertise and 25-year career spans three disciplines; design, advertising and digital media. His passions are his family first, and tirelessly scanning the horizon for relevant and cultural content to help drive Theory SF's clients to successful engagements with their desired audience.


1.)     What was your very first job?
One of my first jobs was working on a movie production as a PA in Phoenix, AZ. It required you to be nice, be the first one there and the last one to leave, hustle, and work your bloody ass off. It was a great learning experience and not too dissimilar to working in advertising.
2.)     Please describe, in your own words, what your job is and what work it entails.
I work with our creative teams to dissect brands and explore creative opportunities for our clients to amplify their "essential truth” - that certain something that makes them uniquely different and separates them from their competitors. Lee Clow said it best - "Make it smart. Make it beautiful. Have Fun!
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?
Growing up, I was a freak and a geek. We moved 7 times before I got to high school. The only thing that connected the dots was art. I drew and painted all the time on notebooks, scraps of paper, Howard Johnson placemats, anything. When I was 16, my mom busted into my room and gathered all of my artwork up, got it matted and then we drove 2 hours through the desert to ASU. Without an appointment, my mom demanded a meeting with the head of the Art dept and stated that she would not be leaving until we had an audience with him. A guy in the back checking his mail sheepishly raised his hand and said he would meet us. We spent 45 mins in his office - he said he would be in touch. Two weeks later, a letter arrived and I had received a full scholarship to attend ASU. It never would have happened had she not believed in putting it out there and being the queen of “make it happen”. She was my hero.
4.)     In your constantly growing and expanding industry, how do you find inspiration to keep your work fresh, innovative and relevant?
 Student shows, travel and the interwebs
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?  While at Deutsch LA, we were pitching Dr Pepper and they asked us to somehow get the consumer to drink it slower to savor the 23 flavors. Rather than focus on a :30 Super Bowl spot or a digital solve, Josh Rose and I asked the question, “what if we made a smaller hole on the bottom of the can with a sippy straw and everyone turned the can upside down.” It was a disruptive idea that would engage the consumer in a big, big way, execute on point exactly what the client was looking for and get a lot of attention on the street. This insanely simple idea was super loved by the client and we won the pitch. Lesson: It doesn’t always have to be an ad but, rather a memorable engagement that moves the needle.
6.)     Which creative disciplines do you commission most, and are most interested in seeing more of and why? Which of these disciplines are you most be interested in seeing at CONNECTIONS? (ie photo, film, social, experiential, vr, etc)
Mostly photography. See more of? I believe that we have drifted into an area in the creative world where we have commoditized the assets and are all using the same fonts, stock photos, photoshop tricks, etc. etc. The shit all looks the same. The time has come for brands to shake it up and produce creative solves that are “crafted”. It’s obvious that we are all living in a “digital” world, but maybe there is a way to bring it to a place that feels fresh and made by human beings. So, bring on the sculptures, typographers, puppeteers (?) promote the concept of making unique.


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