1) What was the biggest creative challenge posed to you by a recent project? Tell us about the project, why the challenge was particularly noteworthy or gratifying to overcome, or what valuable lesson you learned from it. *

2) What work in 2017 are you most proud of and why? Or what work (advertising or entertainment)--your own or others--has struck a responsive chord with you this year and why? *

3) How has your role--or that of your business or company--evolved over the years? What do you like most about that evolution? What do you like least? *

4) What trends, developments or issues would you point to thus far in 2017 as being most significant, perhaps carrying implications for the rest of the year and beyond?

5) What’s your take on the potential of VR/AR in terms of business and creative opportunities? What have you done in the emerging fields of VR and/or AR? What’s been the biggest learning curve (nuances of spatial sound, etc.) in this arena?

Chris Clark
Director of Music
Leo Burnett Group

1) The Samsung S8 Global launch commercial was one of the most fun challenges I’ve had in 2017. Our creative team has great music taste and our client allowed us to explore options without any present boundaries, so the opportunity to explore artists and songs that we truly loved and really spoke to the new product offering took center stage. We collectively decided to focus on the 2000s to present in order to find a contemporary production aesthetic that could resonate, as well as an artist that has cultural relevancy to ensure music reflects the new product features. We had just experienced a great response to licensing The Black Keys’ “Howlin’ For You” for our teaser and pre-order spots, so I did my dancing internally to drum up major interest in another tough, stomper-of-a-song: “The Power” by Sweet Spirit, an Austin-based band on the rise who has members I’ve known for years. In the end, the creative and client team loved the bravado of the track, especially the female vocals with lyrical relevancy to a breakthrough product.

2) I’m most proud of my team’s work for the new product launches we handled for both Samsung Global and Nintendo Switch. Our internal creative and production teams collaborated at a high level for Samsung, identifying and licensing all-time gems like “Rocket Man” and “Across The Universe,” as well as creating high-quality, major label-worthy original music for several spots with The Elements. Nintendo not only embraced a massive new song release by licensing Imagine Dragons for their Switch Super Bowl spot, but they also allowed us creative freedom with a discovery angle to write an original, Switch-inspired song with blues rockers White Denim, as well as licensing an absolute gem in the new Rubblebucket song, “If U C My Enemies.”

3) I’m extremely fortunate to be working at the intersection of the advertising and music industries in this era marked by the increasing popularity and creative business need for agencies to staff music supervision and production experts. It’s refreshing to see major corporations and communications companies embracing the human element of quality taste and production ability as a method to keep up with the different cultures and media technologies continuously changing our individual and collective lives!

4) It’s been an amazing year for new releases and I’ve enjoyed real instrumentation popping up more frequently in electronic and dance music. We continue to be tasked with creating more and more great content for our clients, which can be a challenge when finding marketplace-appropriate budgets for high-quality music, but the realm of premium original music companies and composers continues to deliver and help us balance the demand.

5) I enjoyed the initial buzz the entertainment and ad industries were swept up in around VR’s potential a couple years ago, but I’ve only worked on projects incorporating it in conceptual stages. Some of the premium original companies established themselves early on as front runners in spatial sound composition and production, so I look forward to utilizing it more and more once the everyday project viability catches up with the hype and potential.

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