2 Minutes With … Bob Israel, Marketing, Film and Theater Impresario

On Hollywood, musical theater and more

Bob Israel is receiving the 2023 Clio Entertainment Lifetime Achievement Award on Nov. 9. He is a former entertainment marketing leader, a producer of theater and film and an avid philanthropist.

Bob is the co-founder (with Ron Moler) of Aspect Ratio, one of Hollywood's premier advertising agencies. The pair created campaigns for 100s of hits, including The Naked Gun, The Simpsons, The Addams Family, Ghost, Philadelphia, Groundhog Day, Forrest Gump and Jerry Maguire.

Bob's feature film producing credits include Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. He also produced the cult classic Bachelor Party, based on his original story.

In 2013, Bob created the Broadway & Vine Fund to develop properties for the stage. He is currently adapting The Flamingo Kid as a musical for Broadway with Tony-winning writer and lyricist Robert Freedman and War Paint's Scott Frankel.

We spent two minutes with Bob to learn more about his background, his creative inspirations and recent work he's admired.

Bob, tell us …

Where you grew up, and where you live now. 

I grew up in the 'burbs of NYC and now live in the 'burbs of L.A. (Brentwood.)

Why you pursued a career in entertainment. 

To explore my creative impulses, impact audiences and make a difference.

Three movies/TV shows you couldn't do without. 

Clockwork Orange is Kubrick at his finest. A dark, comedic film inspired by a brilliant dystopian novel. Right up my alley.

Moulin Rouge—I love the operatic nature of Baz Luhrmann's work. And I love musicals. A touching mash-up of Bohemian Paris circa 1899, and pop music circa 1999.  

Succession—I never worked at a major corporation, but I worked in the entertainment industry, and I know how insidious power can be. Add great writing and stellar performances. Wow. It's Shakespeare without the old-timey accents.

Your favorite movie trailer or poster. 

The Shining teaser.

One of your favorite projects you've ever worked on.

My favorite was Aspect's very first national campaignTime Bandits. An independent studio, Avco Embassy, entrusted us two shleppers (me and Ron) with opening a whimsical, odd fantasy (the A/V campaign, that is). We knew very little about how to sell a movie, so we made it up as we went. It worked. The film opened beyond anyone's expectations and provided Aspect with our first loyal customer.

 A recent project you're proud of.

Producing The Flamingo Kid, a stage musical, which premiered at Hartford Stage pre-Covid. It fulfilled a dream of mine—to produce musical theater. The creative team was packed with Tony winners and their were some wonderful moments. I loved how each night the actors were fueled by what they got back from audiences. People laughed in all the right places, jived to the jiviest songs and teared up because the show touched a vulnerable place. Wow—it was magical.

Someone else's work, in entertainment or beyond, that you admired lately.

The campaign to open the movie Barbie was genius. Can't believe how excited I was anticipating its release. Equally masterful was Greta Gerwig's vision for the film. I liked Oppenheimer, but I loved Barbie!

A book, movie, TV show or podcast you recently found inspiring.

The Ezra Klein Show podcasts always inspire me. 

A visual artist or band/musician you admire.

Lowland Hum. Check out "This Will Be Our Year."

Your favorite fictional character.

Ace Ventura.

Someone worth following in social media.

@Jesseisrael. Leadership coach, keynote speaker … "Turn up your inner wattage."

Your main strength as a marketer/creative.

Strategic thinking and storytelling.

Your biggest weakness.

My input can be too prescriptive.

Something people would find surprising about you.

I'm learning to sing "A Simple Song" from Leonard Bernstein's Mass.

One thing that always makes you happy.

Playing piano.

One thing that always makes you sad.

Remembering those I lost too soon.

What you would've done if you weren't in entertainment.

Owned a summer camp.

Click here to purchase tickets to the Clio Entertainment Awards at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.

2 Minutes With is our regular interview series where we chat with creatives about their backgrounds, creative inspirations, work they admire and more. For more about 2 Minutes With, or to be considered for the series, please get in touch.

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