Advertisers at Work: Craig Allen

Craig Allen

Craig Allen is a creative director at Wieden+Kennedy (www.wk.com) in Portland, Oregon.

He earned fame and recognition as an art director, working for the last several years with partner Eric Kallman on accounts such as Old Spice’s “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like.”

Allen’s early work in the industry was at TBWA/Chiat/Day in New York, where he (with Kallman) became known for their innovative work for Skittles. In 2010, Allen and Kallman were named among Creativity magazine’s top 50 creatives in the industry.

The following is an excerpt from my interview with Craig for Advertisers at Work, which can be found at Amazon.com.

Tuten: How do you stay up-to-date on what’s happening in the industry? All of the things you need to know to be current?

Allen: If I have a recipe for success—if that even exists—I read a lot of ESPN Longhorn football blogs and then I follow that up with celebrity news web sites for some reason. I’m not proud of that. And I also like funny viral videos. I try to do this every day. I come in and catch up on what’s going on. I don’t watch a lot of TV, but my wife watches a lot. For me, just living and being outside and getting out a lot matters for soaking up what’s current. I try to keep in tune with as much stuff as I can, but I by no means watch a ton of television. I hate reality television, so that’s probably the main reason.

Tuten: Do you have a ritual that’s important to your ability to create? Something you use when you are ideating?

Allen: As far as how I create, I wish what I did sounded “cooler” but sadly, my process is just sitting in complete quiet until I think of a good idea. When Eric and I would go into concepting sessions, everybody would always say it looked like we were sad or fighting with each other. For our sessions, we would basically just sit in a room, staring at each other in complete silence until we had something funny to say. I wish it were cooler. I’d love to tell you that we just turned on some good rock music and played ping-pong to get our creative juices flowing, but that doesn’t work for me as well.

Yeah, for me, concepting means sitting there in a quiet space and going through everything in my head. When I was younger, this process took much longer than it does now. As you get older and more experienced, it becomes easier to run through the ideas and shoot holes in them on your own. Before we even share concepts, we can be running through things in our head, thinking “Ahh, that’s not good because of this or that.” Even as a team, there’s a lot of pruning that can happen before we share with each other.

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