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360i's New CCO Says the Best Marketers Are Those Who Find 'the Hidden Obvious'



Photo: Alfred Maskeroni

Who Pierre Lipton
New gig North American CCO, 360i
Old gig New York CCO, M&C Saatchi
Age 42

Who is furthest along in the race among traditional, digital and media shops to be all things to all marketers?
I wouldn't say digital over media or media over search because they're all pieces of a gigantic puzzle, right? But it will be won by agencies that truly have those capabilities as opposed to those who rely on vendors.

What’s the biggest challenge of your new job?
Time. It's just not having enough time in the day.

What do you hope to accomplish in your early days?
I'm really trying to immerse myself in our clients’ business needs and also understand the different players here and the different talents. I want to make sure that all the disciplines are working together really, really well. That’s a big part of my job because I feel like epiphanies can come from any department if we’re all talking together in a really efficient way.

What about in a year’s time?
Creating amazing work in lots of different disciplines or types, if you will, for lots of different types of clients.

What inspires you creatively?
A simple thought. I call it the hidden obvious. It’s so simple that you feel like you’ve come up with it yourself, but of course you haven’t. The best work has that in it. [Also], things that are beautifully crafted. I love the craft that goes into making the work.

How did a literature major at McGill end up in advertising?
My uncle was in advertising. He was vp of research at FCB in New York. While I was growing up—I didn’t know it at the time—my uncle was basically lying to me throughout my entire childhood and pretending that he was a creative. Every time I visited him he’d tell me a long story about how he invented Tony the Tiger the week before, or Snap, Crackle and Pop. Anything that I was familiar with. He’d tell a very long story about how the meeting went and how he came up with the idea of something like the Kool-Aid man, which had been created years before. So, he romanced the industry in this really long and drawn out way over years. It was kind of a seed that was in my mind for a long time.

What other jobs did you have?
I managed restaurants. I sold real estate. I have a master’s in acting. I sold death and dismemberment insurance over the phone. So, it took me a long time to figure out what I wanted to do. But once I did, I went to night school at SVA for about three years while I was managing two restaurants. I never thought that I’d break into the business. And my teacher, Sal DeVito—based on an ad I did on my own for the ACLU—hired me. Eventually, that ad ran and it got into The One Show. So, my first print ad was in The One Show. It was kind of a really, really lucky break.

So, how long have you been a Jets fan?
Too long. I’m a Jets and Mets fan and I’ve turned into a Nets fan because I live in Brooklyn. But it has just been miserable.

What keeps you rooting for them, seemingly beyond reason?
When you’re born a fan, it’s in your blood and there’s no way you can switch allegiances. It’s just not right. It’s just who I am. It’s like the same reason that I’m half French, half Ukrainian Jew. I can’t change that. It’s just who I am.

You have a motto?

Let’s go Mets!

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