Top Art Director: Rob Sweetman, Rethink

Name: Rob Sweetman

Name: Rob Sweetman

Years in the business: Sevenish

Big clients: Right now I have Solo Mobile, BARE Wetsuits and Science World briefs on my desk.

Dream client you would most like to add to the roster:

I’d like to work with any client or brand that I believe in and use on a regular basis; like Method Cleansers, Happy Planet Beverages or Astroglide.

Which award were you most happy to receive? Why?

I’ve been very fortunate this year, but the highest possible honour bestowed upon any lucky creative is having a commercial featured on The Maurie Povich Show. And this year, that became a reality for me.

Which of your campaigns are you the most proud of? Why?

I have a really hard time looking back objectively. But if I had to pick, it’d be the 1 800 GOT JUNK? work.

A campaign featuring rats took a big leap of faith for our brave client (the president has Musophobia) but it worked out really well for them. The spots were sent around the Internet and selected for the TBS Funniest Commercial special. But more importantly it got their phone ringing.

What’s your favourite campaign (here or abroad) over 2006? Why does it work?

This is a tough one. There was a lot of great work last year – AmeriQuest continued their strong campaign. Vodafone created that now-why-didn’t-I-think-of-that work. The Durex pixel print was sweet and the Viagra golf spot was great. The Adicolor series was beautifully fresh (I just wish they were all as good as Charlie White’s) and the counterfeit Mini integrated effort was inspiring.

But if I had to pick my personal favourite it’d be Starburst and Skittles work out of New York. Namely ‘Beard’ and ‘Factory’. Strategically sound, so simple and funny as hell, appealing to my inner 14-year-old.

Is there a creative trend you’d like to see disappear?

It’d be easy to say we should ban things like gnomes, ninjas, mimes and the like. But then someone would come along and do a hilarious spot with rogue ninjas using pointy gnomes to kill a mime and I’d look like a fool.

I don’t think there is a right or a wrong in advertising – only good and bad. A year ago who would of thought a print campaign using nothing but clip art could win a gold lion?

Is there any new marketing trend that seems daft to you? Why?

All of them. We should write roadmaps, not follow old ones.

But if I had to be specific: posting boring content on YouTube to satisfy an interactive itch, or committing to media channels prior to conceptual development.

Who is/has been your creative mentor?

I’d have to say Chris and Ian. And not just because they sign my cheques and decide when, and if, I warrant a raise but also because they mentor me creatively.

What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you?

Work fast, there’s plenty af time to edit later.

You’re at the top of your game. Any sage advice to pass on to those who long to be you?

I’ve always tried to surround myself with people who are better at this than I am and then I work like hell to keep up.

RUNNER UP

Name: Israel Diaz

Years in the business: 12 years

Big clients: Kellogg’s, Visa, Wrigley, Zellers, Toronto Tourism, Samsung

Dream client you would most like to add to the roster: Nike

Which award were you most happy to receive? Why?

Last spring, Mark Tutsell (Leo Burnett’s Worldwide CD) flew the entire team involved with creating leoburnett.ca to London to collect 2 Gold and Canada’s first-ever Black D&AD pencils. It was pretty surreal.

When we first met in a room to brainstorm ideas to completely overhaul our website, none of us imagined how famous it was going to become or how it would go on to inspire the new Leo Burnett global identity. A lot of talented people were involved in bringing the website to life, but special props should definitely go to lead interactive designer, Peter Gomes.

Which of your campaigns are you the most proud of? Why?

It’s always pretty gratifying to receive awards for a project that started off as a tough, unexciting brief about a tough, unexciting subject. The kind of brief most creative teams try to avoid in the first place but with a little foresight can become a nice creative opportunity.

Last year, we were able to do this for the ‘Mission Nutrition’ campaign for Kellogg’s. We decided to be proactive from the start and tackle it with a series of wittily written and painstakingly executed long-copy ads. (Or is it the other way around?) Anthony Chelvanathan and I spent long nights at the retouching studio crafting these ads to death – right down to kerning the legal asterisks. We literally rode the deadline right down to the final minute. To this day, we look at it and still get the urge to change some things.

What’s your favourite campaign (here or abroad) over 2006? Why does it work?

I’m a sucker for beautiful execution. And commercials for video games – with obligatory game footage or real life re-enacting game footage — have become so typical and expected it’s easy to become jaded to them all. Then came ‘Mad World’ for XBox Gears of War. Wow. Flawlessly directed and stunningly executed. I must’ve watched it ten times in a row. I was never a huge fan of Tears for Fears songs, but liked the rendition of ‘Mad World’ so much I immediately found myself downloading it from the iTunes store. Never done that before. And more importantly, I wanted this game.

Is there a creative trend you’d like to see disappear?

Unless it’s absolutely kick-ass, we’ve been making it a point in our creative department to eliminate presenting what we call ‘visual coincidences’ in print ads. You know the one: at first glance an object looks like one thing, but it’s really an image of something else — and it’s often accompanied by a really straight pay-off line. It’s tired. It’s done. It’s too easy. We can all do better.

Is there any new marketing trend that seems daft to you? Why?

Why, oh why, are so many worshipping at the altar of concept testing? Please, can we all just use our God-given instincts again? Let’s stop paying people $50 to kill rounds and rounds of great ideas.

Who is/has been your creative mentor?

Two great things about this business is a) you never stop learning and b) there’s no shortage of people to learn from — no matter what the title says on their business card. So not only have I been fortunate enough to have some great Creative Directors at different agencies over the years but I’ve also worked alongside some very talented teams – many of who, unknowingly, have had some influence on me. Including the occasional intern. I find we all have something to teach each other.

What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you?

I once met Alex Bogusky and asked him what the secret to CP+B’s success was. He told me simply: ‘plain, hard work’. There is no secret. No matter what Agency we’re at, no matter what account we’re working on, no matter what budget we’ve been given to work with — we all have the power to make the brands we work on famous. It’s literally in our hands.

You’re at the top of your game. Any sage advice to pass on to those who long to be you?

1. Be nice to everyone you meet on your way up. Your paths will cross again, guaranteed.

2. Say ‘please’ and ‘thank-you’.

3. Play hard. Work harder.

4. Use your powers for good.

5. Remember, it’s only advertising.

RUNNER UP

Name: Ron Smrczek

Years in the business: 10+

Big clients: Canadian Tire, Viagra, NIKE

Which of your campaigns are you the most proud of? Why?

I’d have to say the Viagra ‘Bleep’ campaign. In Canada, there are strict government regulations that prohibit communications linking a prescription product with the condition it treats. In other words, we’re not allowed to say what Viagra does, or even imply what it is used for.

This became a great example of how an obstacle can become an opportunity. If you can’t say something on television, it typically gets bleeped out. So that’s exactly what we did – and in doing so, we let the viewers use their imagination to complete the story we couldn’t tell.

What’s your favourite campaign (here or abroad) over 2006? Why does it work?

I love the latest work for Combos out of TBWA/Chiat/Day, New York. Great casting, great writing, and probably one of the most creative positioning lines I’ve seen in a while.

Who is/has been your creative mentor?

Zak Mroueh. He challenges me creatively and pushes me professionally.

What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you?

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. It’s the only way you’ll learn.

THE RANKING

Rob Sweetman 149

Israel Diaz 146

Ron Smrczek 102

Dean Lee 84

Ian Kay 81

Peter Gomes 81

Paul Wallace 77

Sam Cerullo 74

Ian Grais 68

Daryl Gardiner 65

Jaimes Zentil 60

Anthony Chelvanathan 52

Allan Mah 38

David de Haas 37

Nellie Kim 35

Jason Hill 33

Joel Arbez 32

Lance Martin 31

Martin Beauvais 29

Mike Blanch 28

Lara Palmer 27

Patrick Shing 27

Dave Douglass 26

Rachel Abrams 26

Guybrush Taylor 25

Deborah Prenger 24

Jennifer Varvaresso 24

Joe Piccolo 24

Chad Kabigting 22

Jeff Hilts 22

Kelley Zettel 22

Lisa Chen-Wing 21

Mike Meadus 21

David Glen 20

Mike Jones 20

Adam Pickard 19

James Jung 19

Marc Guilbault 19

Marie-Christine Cote 19

Tim Piper 19

Andy Brokenshire 18

john st. 17

Hylton Mann 16

Mike Cook 16

Kelsey Horne 15

Eva Van den Bulcke 14

Karen Larmour 14

Paul Riss 14

John Terry 13

Anthony Del Rizzo 12

Mark Spalding 12

Mike Kirkland 12

Niki Taylor 12

Stephanie Yung 12

Bart Batchelor 11

Bhavik Gajjar 11

Chad Borlase 11

Chris Hall 11

Jason Souce 11

Jean-Francois Bernier 11

Matthew Perrier 11

Nicolas Quintal 11

Scott Couture 11

Gints Bruveris 10

Ian Schway 10

Kristian Manchester 10

Lisa Lebedovich 10

Lukas Derksen 10

Mark Bell 10

Alison Garnett 9

Cosmo Campbell 9

Jonathan Jungwirth 9

Marie-Elaine Benoit 9

Natalie Armata 9

Rodger Eyre 9

Troy McGuinness 9

Andrei Babichuk 8

Catherine Wong 8

Chris Taciuk 8

Dan Strasser 8

Gary Holme 8

Jay Gundzik 8

Mark Bovey 8

Mark Mason 8

Melanie Hurst 8

Natee Likit 8

Noreel Asuro 8

Patrick Chaubet 8

Scott Park 8

Sebastien Lepine 8

Alex Beam 7

Chad Burnie 7

Elise Russell 7

Elspeth Lynn 7

Julie Nikolic 7

Keli Pollock 7

Ben Steele 6

Colin Brown 6

Donald Vann 6

Jason Buback 6

Martin Dessureaux 6

Maxime Patenaude 6

Michael Kirkland 6

Mike Mulik 6

Mitch Cayouette 6

Niall Kelly 6

Nick Burton 6

Paul Hogarth 6

Steph Mackie 6

Aaron Isacc 5

Alan Mandill 5

Brad Connell 5

Carson Ting 5

Darcy Parke 5

Gerald Flach 5

Jackie Leak 5

Jonathan Lavoie 5

Julie Cha 5

Matthew Choy 5

Michael Lee 5

Monique Kelley 5

Nuno Ferriera 5

Rose Sauquillo 5

Rual Garcia 5

Sebastien Roy 5

Al Moran 4

Antoine Becotte 4

Benjamin Vendramin 4

Daniel Poirier 4

Daniel Vendramin 4

David Rhodes 4

Joyce Woollcott 4

Karim Waked 4

Ken Fothergill 4

Michael Wurstlin 4

Mike Donaghey 4

Patrick Karasiuk 4

Paul Giannetta 4

Richard Peloquin 4

Rob Trickey 4

Rosalinda Graziano 4

Simon Beaudry 4

Simon Duffy 4

Todd Mackie 4

Wilson Tang 4

Zak Mroueh 4

Calvin Yu 3

Craig Markou 3

Crystal Oicle 3

Filipe Biondi 3

Gail Pak 3

James Rothenburg 3

Joel Pylypiw 3

Jonathan Nicol 3

Marcella Coad 3

Patrick Andrews 3

Ryan McNeill 3

Scott Johnson 3

Tyson Hynes 3

Ali Moeinifar 2

Andy Shortt 2

Bill Newbery 2

Christina Yu 2

Colin Timm 2

Dan Pawych 2

Daryl Klein 2

Doug Robinson 2

Eng C Lau 2

Etienne Bessette 2

Gary Westgate 2

Gerald Kugler 2

Gerald Schoenhoff 2

Glen Hunt 2

Grace Kong 2

Greg Trinier 2

Jake Brayton 2

Jamie Way 2

Jason Sweet 2

John McDougall 2

John Williamson 2

Karine Martel 2

Ken Morgan 2

Kevin Barclay 2

Kun Chang 2

Larry Ioannou 2

Lino DiNallo 2

Luc Du Sault 2

Mike Dietrich 2

Mike Sundell 2

Pam Fraser 2

Pete Ross 2

Phil Copitjorne 2

Raphael Lacoste 2

Shawn James 2

Todd Cornelius 2

Tyler Serr 2

Angela Sung 1

Carolyn Machacek 1

Chad Chambers 1

Charles Blackwell 1

Creative Intelligence 1

Gary Taylor 1

Jeremy Miller 1

John Hunter 1

Kelly Hale 1

Matti Cross 1

Michael Aronson 1

Michael Tran 1

Mike Monaghan 1

Monique Gamache 1

Neil McCulloch 1

Thomas Stringham 1