‘Live your truth’: Beyond the Brief featuring David Angelo, David&Goliath

David Angelo, founder, chairman, David&Goliath

In 1999, David Angelo founded his agency with the belief that everyone has Goliaths keeping them from reaching their true potential — and that if you’re inspiring and relentless, you can win the day.

Welcome to 2017, where David&Goliath (D&G) and their clients have slayed their lion’s share of challenges. You probably remember the epic Melissa McCarthy-led Kia spot during the Super Bowl — millions did, and it topped USA Today’s Ad Meter that night. It's one part of the brand's impressive canon.

You probably also recognize some of their other clients: Popchips, Vizio, Universal Studios Hollywood. All known, all underdogs: just the way Angelo and D&G like it. This is by design and principle, and with the amount of awards and honors they’ve received, the little full-service shop in El Segundo, California has the confidence to slay more giants.

A 30-plus year career of inspired courage. One Show pencils, Clios, Effies, Cannes Lions. An AAF Hall of Achievement induction. Overall, Angelo has won over 400 awards, and you may have known that.

You probably don’t know that in 2016 he founded Today, I’m Brave, a non-profit that uses storytelling and volunteer work to inspire bravery worldwide. It all started with assisting and inspiring young children in Sierra Leone during the Ebola crisis. Just over a year in, and the movement has spread to inspire and partner with celebrities and like-minded organizations: Decoding Dyslexia, Shine On Sierra Leone, Project Angel Food, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

Giving 100% of your heart and soul in what you do: one of the early lessons Angelo learned from his Marine father. This has been a career filled with purpose, initiative, and risk-taking, one of always looking out for the little guy in the face of tough challenges. A career this legendary is one made full by living beyond the brief.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve seen happen in a new business pitch?

The craziest thing that I've experienced in a new business pitch was the day I was invited to sit on the client side of the table. I have a lot of experience in lottery advertising and my former NY Lottery client asked me to sit in on the reviews for the Illinois Lottery. I watched agencies pitch to me and learned what it was like first-hand to be a client. It was an awesome experience for me to be able see how agencies are evaluated and what to look for from the client's perspective. It also exposed pitch antics and revealed that sometimes a client that smiles at you in your pitch is simply just smiling.

What do you believe your legacy in advertising is/will be? Why is that?

I do not want to just be remembered for the amount of awards or accolades I've received or the work that I've created. I want to be most remembered for the brave culture we created at David&Goliath and the number of people and brands we've inspired to take on their biggest Goliaths and step into their greatness.

What’s a virtue that you live by?

Live your truth. Because it's the easiest thing to remember.

What life advice do you give others?

First of all, have a clear idea of who you are and what you stand for. Then, use it as a filter to attract the right people to hire, the right clients to work with, the right friends to surround yourself with, and the right person to spend the rest of your life with. Because when you get the 'casting' right, your life movie will truly be worth watching.

To celebrate its 100th Anniversary, the 4A’s has partnered with us at The Drum to pull back the curtain and look at an industry full of problem solvers, creative types and analytical minds. But what keeps them going once the briefs are written, the campaigns executed, and the pitches won (or lost)? We’re interviewing 100 people at 4A’s member agencies — across all disciplines, levels, regions, and agency types — to get a glimpse into what drives them at work and what fuels them in life.

See the industry pros we're featuring here.

To pitch someone from a 4A's member agency for Beyond the Brief, please complete this linked form.

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Bennett D. Bennett

I am a NYC-based writer who calls BBDO NY home — putting copy together for major brands (and fiction for myself and others) and pushing for more inclusive, smarter work environments everywhere. I've previously sat on the ADCOLOR Advisory Board, and currently am a member of AAF's Mosaic Next-Generation Leadership Council and the 4As Steering Committee for High School Initiatives.

All by Bennett D.