Creative Report Card: Art and copy winners

Steve Persico & Anthony Chelvanathan of Leo Burnett reveal their not-so-secret sauce for success.

Anthony Chelvanathan (right) and Steve Persico (below) of Leo Burnett, in their own words:

There are no mind-blowing techniques. No brainstorming games. No little man living in a desk drawer marked “Do Not Open” giving us killer ideas in exchange for animal crackers and minibar liquor bottles. So when we’re asked, “What is the secret to your creative process?” we feel as if we’re disappointing people when we reply, “We don’t have one.” Then we feel badass when we add “And if we did, why the heck would we tell you?” Except we never say that second part. While there is no secret sauce, two interesting ingredients have snuck into our work process.

One: Silence. Like an old married couple (or two mimes stuck in two separate imaginary boxes) we’ve gone days without talking or even looking at each other. The honeymoon phase fizzled seven-years ago. Now we’re just in it for the kids. And by kids we mean ideas. However, when something is eventually muttered, it’s usually the start of something very interesting.

Two: Location. When the silence becomes unbearable (generally around day three) we have four or five coffee shops in the city we like to turn into our office. We have theories and mental notes on which shops were home to our greatest campaigns, which ones are conducive to idea hot streaks, which have been idea cold zones, which have clientele that are too distracting and so on. We decide upon which place offers the most potential that day and take a seat. The silence continues. Only now we’re sitting across from each other on opposite ends of a tiny coffee shop table.

Once the silence/location equation works itself out and delivers us a good idea we move into the part of idea generation we call “Surround yourself with amazing creative directors, smart account people, other talented Burnetters and passionate clients. Then push, push, push and craft, craft, craft” – also known as “work hard.”