Sunday, May 20, 2018
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BBDO's David Lubars Reflects On His Induction Into One Club's Creative Hall of Fame
David Lubars
Shares principles that have served him in good stead
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Last week David Lubars, chief creative officer of BBDO Worldwide and chairman of BBDO North America, was inducted into the One Club for Creativity’s Creative Hall of Fame. 

This week he received the 2017 Clio Lifetime Achievement Award.

The Creative Hall of Fame has a rich heritage of honoring the lifetime achievements of creative luminaries in advertising and design, such as Mary Wells, David Ogilvy, Bill Bernbach and Lee Clow. The first inductee was Leo Burnett in 1961.
“The Creative Hall of Fame is the ultimate recognition of a storied career as a creative professional, and our newest inductees are being honored because of their significant impacts on the advertising and design industries,” said Kevin Swanepoel, CEO of The One Club for Creativity. “These are creatives whose work has transcended advertising.”

Among the One Club Hall of Fame inductees alongside Lubars last week were Susan Hoffman of Wieden+Kennedy and Tom Burrell of Burrell Communications.

On the Clio front, the Lifetime Achievement Award is the latest honor of many Lubars has received from that competition. In fact, Lubars has had a hand in more than 150 Clio wins over the years. Clio president Nicole Purcell described Lubars as “a creative genius,” adding that “his drive is unmatched, and that reflects in his hard-working teams across the globe that consistently produce forward-thinking creative work. We are honored to be recognizing a career’s worth of accomplishments, and look forward to seeing what the next years bring.”

In the 13 years since Lubars joined BBDO, he has helped transform the agency into the most creatively awarded in the world and a recipient of more than 15 Agency of the Year recognitions by various industry publications, including SHOOT.  His work for BMW Films back when he was at Fallon changed what was thought of as advertising forever.  He was named one of the top 10 creative directors of all time in a recent story published in Forbes CMO Network. And Lubars was on the 4A’s list of 100 people who make advertising great.

SHOOT connected with Lubars shortly after his One Club Creative Hall of Fame induction. He reflected upon the principles that have served him in good stead, as well as the ad artisans who have positively influenced him over the years.

SHOOT: In your Hall of Fame acceptance speech you cited three principles/axioms that have served you well. Discuss those truisms and elaborate on what each means.
Lubars: Well, the first principle is, you have to work with great people.  Everyone already knows that - but you also have to let them know you think they’re great, something that’s easy to forget.  The second principle is to know where you want things to go.  We wanted to be a 21st Century version of a kickass '60s creative agency; that’s what we’re doing.  The third principle is to constantly be learning but also always be unlearning.  Keep shedding the creative tropes, bandwagon trends, safety valves that lead to mediocre.  A big idea is everything and without it you have nothing.  A big idea is worth millions to your clients.

SHOOT: At the podium, you also mentioned people who had profoundly positive influences on you, including Steve Hayden (creative maven at Chiat\Day, BBDO, Ogilvy) and Allen Rosenshine (former chairman/CEO of BBDO Worldwide). Share with us how they impacted you and your career.

Lubars: These legends took a chance on me early on, saw something I didn’t see in myself.  Changed my career and, it’s not an overstatement to say, my life.
SHOOT: Looking back on your career thus far, what are the most compelling changes, themes, trends you’ve witnessed and why?
Lubars: I don’t know what to say about themes and trends.  But the overall thing is to never let the concrete harden on yourself.  You have to keep stirring it, keep it liquid, so you can flow with wherever the world takes you.  Saddest thing is seeing great creatives stop being great because they allowed their talent to petrify.