Creative Report Card: Most likely to succeed

A deeper look at some of the top art directors and copywriters in this year's rankings.

Meet some of the faces from the Creative Report Card’s art directors and copywriters list.

Making an impression

Anthony Chelvanathan (#2 AD, pictured right) and partner Steve Persico (#2 CW, pictured below) have hogged the top of the creative ladder for six consecutive years. It just so happens that they’ve claimed one of the top two AD and CW positions since 2009, and started doing so after only five and three years, respectively, at Leo Burnett, where they first entered adland.

Both Chelvanathan and Persico were hired after making good first impressions with then-CD Israel Diaz (currently EVP and CCO at Y&R). The art director’s long last name got the attention of Diaz when he saw Chelvanathan’s portfolio, which compelled him to pick it up (see how STEVE2013he got Judy John’s attention). And the copywriter charmed Diaz with his student work during a portfolio review evening in Toronto.


Moving on

Art directors Joel Holtby, Catherine Allen, Hiten Patel, Ryan Dzur, as well as copywriters Ian Simpson and Naeem Ghafari, who helped produce Kokanee’s “The Movie Out Here” at Grip, have all moved on since their awards spree in 2013. Their relocations include Rethink, Ogilvy & Mather and Isobar. But no hard feelings, says Randy Stein, founder and partner at Grip. Some had spent a good chunk of their careers at the shop and it was just time to move on, he says.

Outside the ad box

IMG_9229047Born and bred in China, Yusong Zhang (#3 AD, pictured right) arrived in Canada at the age of 19, graduated from OCAD and first made the report card cut in 2008 when he landed at #29. He later climbed to #17 in 2013. Zhang collected points for his art direction on creative for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and Missing Children Society of Canada.

His inspiration: It’s mostly non-advertising related and can usually be found on the internet, he says, referencing videos on Devour, the latest tech on PSFK, corny news on Buzzfeed and beautiful artsy pieces on Fubiz. “The content gives us an edge to do something and think of something the world of advertising hasn’t yet produced.”

From intern to hired

JakeBundockBack in 2007, Jake Bundock (pictured right) first tried advertising on for size when he interned at Leo Burnett. Less than a year later, he was behind the front desk at a Marriott hotel in Toronto, earning his way through a degree in advertising. His first stop after OCAD: the intern’s corner at DDB. It didn’t take him long to prove his worth. Bundock was promoted to his first AD position after five months (working on the McDonald’s account), and now he’s #17 on the report card AD list.

The proof is in the colleges

Of all the schools this year’s top 40 copywriters and art directors picked for their studies, Ontario College of Art & Design University came up top with seven alumni in the group. Humber College placed second with six past students, and Seneca College boasts five of the top creatives.

A shout out goes to George Brown College for its three successful alumni, including #2 AD Anthony Chelvanathan.