Edward MillerCreative Director – Copy \ Art \ Content
Many times in my career, by many people, I have been referred to as a “problem solver.” If you need to start a creative department from scratch, I have done that multiple times. Perhaps your client can no longer reach their goals with TV and you need to move them to branded content? I started making that shift even before we had a name for it. Or, maybe your client has slashed the budget but has increased the scope of work? I’ve seen that movie many times, and know it can end happily. All these tight spots can be resolved; you just have to think your way out of them.
That is how you truly earn the description “creative.”
2013 – Present
ADCB, Auburn University, BMW, Deloitte, Dodge, Ducati, ElioCoin, Etisalat, Faraday Future, Florastor, FX “Legion”, Genesis, Huawei, Intuit, Jacksonville Jaguars, Jaguar USA, Jos. A. Bank, Karma, KFC, Lexus, Men’s Wearhouse, Nissan, O’Charlie’s, Pepsi, Porsche, RAM Trucks, Robinsons Department Store, The North Face, Toyota, Winn Dixie Food Stores
Freelancing the last several years has allowed me to add new categories as well as focus on writing and branded content. Below are some of my longer assignments along with a few accomplishments for each.
Freelance Executive Creative Director
2018 – 2019
- Stabilized client confidence in creative department
- Instituted a proactive schedule for predictable projects
- Broadened vendor list with A-level international talent
- Served as Director and Postproduction Supervisor on 3 digital content films
TOYOTA UAE “WHAT DRIVES YOU?” DIGITAL CONTENT SERIES
These Toyota UAE “What Drives You?” digital films spotlight Toyota owners committed to making a difference in their community. Even when directing a small production such as this I maintain one philosophy. If you want to get more views than you paid for, create something people want to watch. Once the results were in, the campaign overall preformed at 153.88% of forecast. The Video Completion Rate was above 70% and the Click Through Rate was 3 times the industry average.
TOYOTA UAE SUV DOMINANCE OOH
The brief: Restore Land Cruiser as the premier SUV in the UAE. The solution must communicate quickly for both Arabic and English readers. Make the execution locally relevant. (Included are few "real life" photos that inspired us) The first image was so successful we are to apply the same strategy to their whole SUV lineup.
Freelance Executive Creative Director
IMPACT PORTER NOVELLI – Dubai UAE
2018 – 2019
- Instituted adding sharable image capturing by participants to PR stunts
- Helped expand PR assignments to multi-media campaigns
Freelance Creative Director, Branded Content
- Administered three video productions in six weeks time
- Produced and published eight video content pieces in ten weeks
- Administered various digital and social projects including a 150 page product guide for tablets
- All above assignments completed by a creative staff of six people
FARADAY FUTURE CES TEASER CAMPAIGN
In preparation for its reveal at the Consumer Electronics Show, Faraday Future embarked on teaser campaign to build interest. While FF was ready to test their vehicle against the most famous brands in the world, they weren't ready for anyone (including the production crew) to get a good look at the car. Even with being completely clad in camouflage, these videos have collected millions views.
FARADAY FUTURE FACTORY UPDATE VIDEO
The only thing harder than shooting a video for a car you cannot show is shooting a video for a factory that does not yet exist. This was the first assignment for my group at FF. We got the assignment on Monday, bid on Tuesday, met the manager on location, wrote the script and shot on Wednesday, wrapped shooting on Thursday, presented a cut on Friday. It felt good to know I could still pull off a $15,000 project when I needed.
Freelance Creative Director / Director of Content
2016 – 2016
- Transitioned current staff to new assignments
- Restructured the team to include entry level employees with no reduction in product quality
- Revised processes to accommodate new reduced production budgets
- Sourced and installed more affordable vendors with no reduction in quality
- Served as director on 3 productions
- Introduced clients to numerous video opportunities beyond broadcast TV
JOS. A. BANK SUIT CHALLENGE
The research stated that there is no real difference between Jos. A. Bank suits and expensive designer suits. But, people don't read research, so nothing could be better than to have other real people deliver that message. As you can see in 360º deck this concept translates beautifully to a broad array of media and will have a long shelf life.
Freelance Creative Director / Director of Branded Content
2014 – 2015
- Identified content opportunities in all divisions
- Enlisted the services of top vendors such as Bandito Brothers, Company 3, Hybrid Edit and the Ultimate Arm image capture vehicles
- Employed scriptwriters with creative as well as technical skills
- Repurposed existing event assets into production set pieces
- Introduced multiple clients to video opportunities outside of broadcast TV
- Served as director on 3 productions
Freelance Creative Director
Saatchi & Saatchi LA
2013 – 2013
In June of 2013, I was brought on to do a couple of commercials for an incremental media buy. By October we had turned that assignment into the 360º campaign, Camry Thrill Ride.
CAMRY THRILL RIDE
The Toyota client was panicked. Camry had fallen from its number one seller position two months in a row. I was brought in to quickly execute two product-centric spots. However, the research showed that people were put off by the exterior of the car. They called it “boring”, “vanilla”, and “an old person’s car”. So with only two creatives borrowed from other groups, we built a 360 degree campaign. This included television, print, mobile, digital and a unique feature in which we let real people on the ride record a selfie with their own smart phone and upload it from the event. The research said people didn't want to get in the car, but who can resist a thrill ride?
Executive Creative Director
2009 – 2013
- Built creative and creative service departments
- Led building of in-house broadcast, print and digital studio
- Reinvented real people testimonials with 18 camera live events
- Pioneered the use of YouTube talent for a holiday promotion yielding over 1,000,000 web hits
- Launched the successful 2011 Hyundai NCAA Football promotion including digital, in stadium, on site activation, radio, magazine and TV
- Re-launched the 2012 NCAA Football promotion as user generated content with over 6,000 fan submissions on Facebook
- Served as director on 15 commercials and videos
- Founding member of agency’s Executive Committee
- Won Hyundai Dealer Advertising Association accounts: Central Region (35 million), California Region (20 million), Eastern Region (75 million), South Central Region (14 million)
- Judged New York Festivals for branded content
- Judged AdStars competition for PSAs
COLLEGE FOOTBALL PROMOTION (SEASON 1)
In the early summer of 2011, my group was presented with an amazing challenge. Hyundai was given an opportunity to purchase a national ad campaign for twenty-five separate schools through sports media marketer IMG. The package included television on CBS and ESPN, spreads in "ESPN The Magazine", hundreds of banner ads on various sports sites, and in stadium message boards for all twenty-five schools. The catch was it had to be up and running by Labor Day. Not only did we succeed, but many of the pieces ran for an additional three years.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL PROMOTION (SEASON 2)
In the season of 2012, a few of the products had changed, thus causing the need for some of the spots to be replaced. The client desired to include user-generated content on television. We decided to take it a few steps further. Because we were able to start earlier, we built a fan site and collected over six thousand images from real fans across the nation. These images were used to make not only commercials, but also all of the magazine and digital ads.
The Hyundai dealers had asked repeatedly for a testimonial campaign. So I challenged my staff to reinvent the format. The result was Hyundai Uncensored. Real people were allowed to say anything they’d like about Hyundai while they actually drove the cars. Every comment captured was from someone who had no idea it could end up in a television commercial. But we didn’t stop there. We set up chat rooms and posted real people’s comments in all the digital on point of sale materials.
HYUNDAI UNCENSORED (REMIX)
Because of the previous success, we were asked to repeat the campaign. However, my staff and our clients said, “You did most of the work last time. Why don’t you direct the spots this time?” So, I did. This time we stopped real people at a gas station to highlight the Hyundai Mileage Claim and yes, we actually included a remix with DJ Steve Porter.
HOPE ON WHEELS
Right outside the meeting room, the account director and I quarreled about the client not ordering a :60 and he felt we should not present it. But after the longer version had run, the client looked up wiping his eye with his sleeve and said, “I don’t know what else we are doing, but the :60 is running in our in our first spot on Sunday Night Football”.
2008 – 2009
- Built new creative department in Nashville, TN
- Revamped process for creative work moving through the agency
- Revised the client approval process for projects
- Conducted client review of all current work for the purposes of updating
- Led revision of all current work.
2007 – 2008
Pedigree Adoption Film Series
This project was done with only a camera operator, a soundman, an agency producer and myself. There were nine different locations across the country, none of them pre-scouted. Our crew simply showed up with a list of questions and shot what was available. For “The Story of Bear” the shelter was too small to shoot inside so we sat the subjects in the parking lot and framed out parked cars on either side.
While working on other Pedigree work, this was a little idea that was too good to let die because of funding. So, we shot it in my house. The bathroom is actually the corner of my family room. The toilet was quite a conversation piece for a few days.
Hardee’s Chicken Club Sandwich
A creative team that I had known for some time had about a $300,000 storyboard and about 1/10th that much budget to shoot said board. So I treated it more like a play. There is only one camera angle in scene one, but it covers all the action. Then there is only one set up plus a close up in the bathroom scene. No one ever notices until it is pointed out.
SVP Group Creative Director
2003 – 2006
- Built and led creative department
- Built and led creative service department and processes, including broadcast
- Directed over a dozen commercials
- Led the award winning House of Blues promotion for Chrysler
- Worked on the launch of the Chrysler Crossfire
- Worked on the launch of the Dodge Caliber
- Instituted the successful practice of adding 100 showing outdoor media buys to all model launches
California Dodge Durango Launch
The California Dodge Dealers had a healthy advertising budget and high unit sales number they were expected to achieve. However, the corporate office put a six-month moratorium on regional launch TV for Durango in hopes the dealers would run the tier 1 commercials in their tier 2 media. If you don’t know, dealer associations hate those kinds of tactics. Our dealer clients said “people just want to see the new model.” So, we made 24 different pieces of creative and flooded California with out of home media. It worked like crazy.
California Dodge Magnum Launch
With the launch of the Magnum, again a moratorium was put on regional TV advertising. But, this time the dealers were instructed not to shoot original photography for outdoor boards. That being the case we made several pieces of creative from the photos of a small brochure.
Chrysler House of Blues Promotion
Along with all the promotional material that is included in this type of sponsorship House of Blues offered posters framed like the art in their restaurants. My group recommended that the posters look like the Outsider Art featured in their decor. HOB loved the idea and provided a list of approved illustrators. The fees for these artists started around $20,000 per illustration. Our Chrysler client found this to be an issue because the entire sponsorship, had only cost $100,000. To save the idea I called a silk screening group I knew from Alabama that reprinted Outsider Art. They estimated the illustrations at only $1000 each. The result was so successful it ended up in the Communication Arts Magazine Award Annual.
SVP/Group Creative Director
2001 – 2003
- Seamlessly launched the Lincoln “Travel Well” campaign as brand and dealer association advertising
- Created the “Travel Well” signature that appeared on all communications
- Unified the creative departments in Irvine, CA and Dearborn, MI.
- Combined underfunded projects of running footage, snow footage and the association package into one 2 million dollar production with a top director
- Realigned the reporting structure to better serve the client
- Produced an ad association campaign showcasing the talents of Dwight Yoakam, Macy Gray and Aretha Franklin
Lincoln Travel Well
The Lincoln brand team was launching the new Navigator SUV along with the new tagline “Travel Well”. However, the dealer advertising media buy was over 60% of the impressions being made on consumers. So, I took it upon myself to fashion a retail campaign that had the look, feel and sound of the brand ads but with the flexibility for dealer associations to change features and offers for each market. In addition, every commercial included a “Travel Well” ending. In fact, the brand team picked up the logo treatment developed by the retail team. No one asked me to do this, I just knew you couldn't rebrand the company in only one third of the ads.
Freelance Creative Director
2001 – 2001
Associate Creative Director
1999 – 2000
- Helped launch 10 year, 100,000 mile warranty
- Helped develop junior staff
- Helped pitch PAC SUN account
Hyundai Tiburon Campaign
For the print launch of the new Tiburon, my partner and I were challenged to create one ad to appeal to car enthusiast magazine readers, women’s magazine readers and men’s magazine readers. It was impossible, so we divided the production into three smaller shoots and made three ads for the price of one.
Associate Creative Director
1997 – 1999
- Developed junior staff that previously had little broadcast experience
- Consolidated regional ad package with the running footage package to attract better production companies
- Won a Belding Bowl with regional work
Acura Regional Series
This was the best client relationship of my career. The Regional Acura client was a former agency guy and loved to take risks. This challenged my group to make the most provocative work possible and provided the resources to accomplish the task. A testament to the success of this campaign was winning a Belding Bowl in a National category with Regional work.
Associate Creative Director
TBWA \ Chiat \ Day
1992 – 1997
- First outside hire for the Washington D.C. office
- Built full service creative and creative service departments in Washington office
- Group contributed over 200 concepts for Absolut Vodka, 3 are published
- Absolut Philadelphia appeared in Communication Arts Magazine
- Built creative and broadcast departments in Jacksonville, FL
- General market and Spanish production was consolidated in Miami for cost savings as well as attracting creative talent
When Chiat Day merged with TBWA the Absolut Team saw all the Regional offices as that many new people to come up with ideas for their print campaign. The ads had already been running for about fifteen years so it was difficult to arrive at solutions that had not already been presented. The Mayor of Philadelphia had written Absolut to ask why there had not been an ad for his city. The Account Planner exclaimed “Well we finally solved Philly” when she opened the package that we had sent.
Sr. Art Director
1989 – 1992
The Pennsylvania Print Campaign
Location, location, location. A real estate developer was trying to attract lobbyists who could afford their luxury apartments. “All they need to know is that it is between the Capitol and the White House.” The piece with George H.W. Bush drew a cease and desist from the White House. The ad was reprinted on page two of the Washington Business Journal. The client said, “Great work, no one can ‘buy’ page two in the WBJ.” So we replaced the page with “Tom, Dick and Harry.” I bought the portrait of “Tom” at the Jefferson Memorial gift shop.
1987 – 1989
MAX Federal Credit Union Bankimals Campaign
The agency was started by a former Art Director who only kept a writer on staff for long format assignments such as annual reports. He felt Art Directors were the idea generators and should write their own copy. The Bankimals for Max Federal Credit Union was the first campaign in which I had responsibility for more than a few headlines. Ad Week’s "What’s New" Portfolio called it “deftly written” so I must not have done too badly.
Central Bank of the South
1984 – 1986
Marketing Consultant, Yext, Moat, Four Square / Former CMO Hyundai Motor America
Chief Creative Officer, Superconductor
Marketing Consultant / Former COO INNOCEAN USA