- NEW YORK
Lisa Topol has joined purpose-driven advertising agency OBERLAND in the new role of managing partner and executive creative director.
Together, Topol and OBERLAND co-founder and chief creative officer Bill Oberlander will steer the eight-year old agency in partnership with co-founder and CEO Drew Train and managing partner and chief strategy officer Kate Charles. “Lisa’s stellar creative career on Madison Avenue as one of the best writers and creative leaders will bring a whole new level of firepower to our agency and to the success of our clients,” said Oberlander.
Topol is known as a prolific writer and integrated thinker whose portfolio shifts from humor to emotional work with ease. Her work has garnered awards from Cannes, Clio, ANDY, D&AD, the One Show, Effie Awards and CA. Prior to joining OBERLAND, Topol was co-chief creative officer of DDB New York, where she helped grow the New York office and led the charge in winning such accounts as Kroger, AT&T, Coors, Allergan and Aflac, and along the way won multiple Gold Lions for Tribeca Film Festival and a first-ever Effie for Pure Leaf. Before taking the creative reins at DDB, Topol led creative efforts at such agencies as Grey Group, TBWA\Chiat\Day, JWT (now Wunderman Thompson) and Wieden+Kennedy. She started her career as a junior copywriter at Ogilvy, where she first met Oberlander.
Among the brands she’s worked on during the course of her career are Best Buy, Bose, ESPN, IBM, JetBlue, Brand Jordan, Kotex, Marriott, Motorola, the NFL, Nike, Downy, Pepsi, Pringles, Schick, Wheat Thins and Twix, to name a few. Her work has frequently crossed over into popular culture and made waves across TV and social media, such as her Gold Lion-winning “Digital Death” effort for Keep a Child Alive, which generated international headlines for World AIDS Day and got people like Stephen Colbert talking.
Topol said the purpose-driven mantra of OBERLAND is what made the choice to go there an easy one. “Like everyone during COVID, I thought a lot about where I wanted my career to go,” she explained. “Bill was one of my first mentors, and when he and Drew opened OBERLAND, I told them how proud, and jealous, I was that they were starting that rare place with purpose genuinely at its core. So what else was left to do, but finally go where I belong?” Topol added, “Being driven by purpose is the way for brands and marketers to move forward today. They need to make a sincere commitment to it--and at this agency, it’s in the center ring.”
Oberlander added, “At this point in her career, Lisa wants to be at an agency where purpose-led work is driven by compelling creative ideas. She believes, as we all do here, that doing good is good business. I’ve known her for 20 years, and during that time I’ve watched her take agencies by storm. We’re looking forward to the powerful influence she’s going to have here.”
Oberlander described Topol’s brief as boosting the level of the work across all accounts at the agency. “We’re looking for Lisa to inspire clients to take that creative leap that makes for positive social impact in the world. And she’ll work hand in hand with Kate and our internal teams to attract the kinds of progressive brands that are now embracing purpose as an authentic way to connect with today’s increasingly conscious consumer. We’re also looking to Lisa to attract and recruit more purpose-motivated creative talent to the agency.”
“Lisa’s joining us sends a message to our often-maligned industry that great creative solutions, when done with the right tone and strategic approach, can manifest good in the world,” said OBERLAND CEO and co-founder Train. “Purpose is real, and industry giants and leaders are now all in. That’s something to feel good about.”
While not crafting campaigns, Topol could put Cesar Millan to shame, as her love of dogs has seen her win agility contests at the highest levels of international competition with her two rescue fur babies, Schmutzy and Plop. She has twice become the Westminster Agility Champion, and has represented the US.. team at multiple World Agility Championships. Her side hustle is running an agility training service called Weave Got The Runs--a name only a copywriter could conceive--which teaches people how to bring out the best in their pups through positive reinforcement.
On the pro bono front, Topol is on the board of Time’s Up Advertising, spends considerable time mentoring women in advertising, and helps run an online social activism site that is several thousand strong. “And I’m a big fan of kindness,” she added. “Good things seem to follow it.”