Spotlight: Mark Andersen, Executive Creative Director

There’s been a lot of focus on metrics, data and performance in the marketing industry for the past few years but while all of that is critical to brand success, something else is even more important. Incredible Creative. Spotlight sits down this month with Executive Creative Director Mark Andersen to talk ideation, inspiration and what creative means at Media Bridge.


So Mark is creative really king for brand marketing success?

Well I’m a Creative, so I’m super tempted to say yes. But of course not. Everything has to work together: inspired brand strategy, innovative media planning, tracking and learning, and all the things. But to really stand out, to show up and make everyone’s effort work the creative has to be truly distinctive. That’s the term we like to use here. Our work has to be more than good and more than different. It has to come from the unique force of each client’s brand and give consumers something to hold onto, that no other brand dares to. And to do that, it takes everyone at Media Bridge. So no, Creative isn’t king. But is sure is fun.


Tell Spotlight how you got your start in the creative industry?

Not sure I should share this, but here we go. It’s the last class of my last day of college and I’m sitting with some classmates talking to Mr. Owen, my mentor, advisor and toughest English professor. He’s asking us what we’re all going to do with our shiny, new English degrees. He goes around the class and people say they’re going into teaching or getting a doctorate. Mr. Owen nods and mutters his approval. Then he comes to me. I tell him I want to be an advertising copywriter. He pauses, looks down then looks right at me and says, “You know Mark, that’s a damn shame.” Ouch.

I laugh about it now, but it’s true. I wanted to be in an agency creative from the day I stepped out of school. I didn’t really know what a copywriter did, but I was determined to make it happen. I worked inhouse at the great NordicTrack writing anything they told me to, then I moved to Chicago where I worked for a small agency that got bought by Leo Burnett. That’s where things got serious. It was a tough, competitive place, but it’s where I learned how powerful creative can be.


What’s creative look like at Media Bridge?

Well, we’re a nimble, multi-talented team that I’m incredibly proud of. I love what we stand for and what we’re known for: doing bold creative that delivers for clients. It’s working. Clients keep asking for more and new opportunities keep coming in the door.

At Media Bridge, we believe the best strategy is to care. We’re incredibly purposeful about creative ideas and how we execute them. It’s led to some really rewarding work. We do all kinds of things from full-on campaigns to opportunistic projects, but recently we’ve helped a few organizations redesign and rebrand themselves. The latest one was for Secondhand Hounds. I won’t take you through the whole process, but we did research, planning and developed a new mission and vision. From there, we came up with a new name – The Bond Between – and a complete identity and brand system. We couldn’t be prouder and The Bond Between is ready to grow and evolve into the organization they want to.


It sounds like your team works with some really interesting clients. What do you look for in a client that allows and champions really creative work?

We look for clients who are good people, want to grow and aren’t afraid to be bold. And when I say bold, it’s not just creatively, it’s in every part of their marketing and media. We also look for clients who want to be part of the process. The old model of an agency getting an assignment, then disappearing for a couple weeks to work on is counter intuitive to what we’re doing at Media Bridge. It’s about complete client involvement in the process, transparency, trust and co-creation. Like, when a client says, “I’m not a writer, but …” and then makes a copy suggestion, I immediately tell them, “Maybe not, but you’re a creator, you’re a human and you have great instincts ideas about your business.” Our creative process brings clients in early because we care about who our clients are as people, what energies they bring to the process and how we can bring great ideas to life together.


What’s the most creative phase of your career do you think?

I like to think I’m just entering it. I know I’m energized to work with my team every day so that’s got to be a good sign. Looking back, there have been lots of times and projects I’m plenty proud of. I’ve been lucky to work on some great brands and alongside some talented people. But the opportunities at Media Bridge and the unique way we approach them really gets me excited for what we’re going to do.


What’s next for creative at MB?

To grow and develop what we started. When I interviewed here I asked what success would look like for the creative department. And in every meeting everyone said the same thing, “We want our people to feel good, be challenged and grow.” If we keep people at the center of how we work, how we collaborate, how we use data and technology to produce creative work, we’re going to do very well. Very well!


Anything else?

What else matters? Good people working with good people doing great work…