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By Doug Zanger | Americas Editor

July 26, 2017 | 2 min read

Browsing through the work of Portland’s HouseSpecial can become a walk through a creative candy shop — starting with (pun kind of intended) iconic creativity for M&M's, including the well-received Candyman spot featuring Aloe Blacc and Zedd.

Throw in Planters, Chipotle, Kellogg’s, Comcast, Starbucks, Allstate and others and you have a CG, stop motion, 2D wonderland. Started as Laika/house, the ad arm of Laika Studios outside of Portland, founded by Nike’s Phil Knight, the company was spun off in 2014 as an independent studio — and Kirk Kelley, partner, chief creative officer and director has been on the front line of the some of advertising’s most interesting and fun work.

He also knows, from his vast experience, what it takes to be a great creative. First, it’s “mind-numbing patience.” Making one’s way through ideas takes the will and understanding that it doesn't simply happen on the first try — especially in animation, where Kelley, a Texas native, has carved out an incredible body of work.

Secondly, Kelley, who is a partner in two Portland restaurants (Texas BBQ and Tex Mex) believes it’s about talent — finding it, nurturing it and, like all great leaders, understanding that getting the right mix together — and leading it well can yield substantial success.

Hear what others believe makes a great creative — including the founders of Saturday Morning, Laura Fegley (Colle+McVoy), Daniel Bonner (SapientRazorfish), Pancho Cassis (Lola MullenLowe) and other industry leaders.

Creativity

Other episodes in the series

Episode 1

‘It’s about asking a lot of questions’: Deutsch’s Winston Binch on what it takes to be a great creative

The Drum recently caught up with Winston Binch, Deutsch North America’s chief digital officer, to find out what he thinks it takes to be a great creative.

Episode 2

‘Be a producer’: RPA’s Sarah Bates on what it takes to be a great creative

To Sarah Bates, creative director at RPA in Los Angeles, being weird is perfectly fine. In fact, it’s pretty normal and desirable — especially those “non sequitur adventures” that make a person interesting in a creative field.

Episode 3

‘Distill the brief’: The Mill’s Phil Crowe on what it takes to be a great creative

Are there bad briefs? That’s likely up for all kinds of debate but, to Phil Crowe, ECD of The Mill in Los Angeles, it’s less about the brief and more about the interpretation of the brief.

Episode 4

Saturday Morning leaders on being a great creative

It’s not difficult to be inspired by Saturday Morning, the movement for peace founded after a spate of police shootings against African-Americans including Philando Castile, Alton Sterling and others.

Episode 5

Lola MullenLowe Madrid's Pancho Cassis on what it takes to be a great creative: 'It's not about ideas anymore'

The Drum caught up with Pancho Cassis, executive creative director and copywriter at Lola MullenLowe Madrid, to find out what he thinks it takes to be a great creative.

Episode 6

Colle+McVoy’s Laura Fegley: 'Being a great creative is all about endurance'

Laura Fegley, ECD at Colle+McVoy in Minneapolis, treads a path of undeniable success.

Episode 8

"Great creatives need a partner": OKRP leaders on becoming a great creative

What Does It Take To Be A Great Creative? is a video series that highlights the thinking of global creative leaders on specifics actions that can build a successful creative career in the industry. See what other creative leaders had to say in past episodes.

Episode 9

'Stick with your gut': Pereira & O'Dell's PJ Pereira on being a great creative

What Does It Take To Be A Great Creative? is a video series that highlights the thinking of global creative leaders on specifics actions that can build a successful creative career in the industry. See what other creative leaders had to say in past episodes.

Episode 10

Hunger, passion, curiosity: MullenLowe Singapore’s Shengjin Ang on being a great creative

What Does It Take To Be A Great Creative? is a video series that highlights the thinking of global creative leaders on specifics actions that can build a successful creative career in the industry. See what other creative leaders had to say in past episodes.

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