2 Minutes With ... Josh Braithwaite, CCO at CPB
Born in a small Australian coal mining town, Josh Braithwaite, chief creative officer of Crispin Porter + Bogusky North America, has seen firsthand the plight of industries that resisted change.
Josh and his teams have ignited evolution for some of the biggest brands in the world. He strategically repositioned sports as a creative expression by authoring Adidas' global platform, "Here to Create," taking the company to No.2 in the U.S. and surpassing Nike in China. He made Google famous for more than just search by partnering with Star Wars, Disney and J.J. Abrams.
We spent two minutes with Josh to learn more about his background, his creative inspirations and recent work he's admired.
Josh, tell us ...
Where you grew up, and where you live now.
I was born in a small Australian coal mining town called Lithgow. Since then, I've called 12 other "towns" home including Sydney, Hong Kong, Los Angeles and now New York.
How you first realized you were creative.
Very early on, I was fascinated with drawing maps, tracing them, inventing countries and building imaginary worlds. I must have been only four or five years old.
A person you idolized creatively early on.
I'm a '90s kid. I grew up around a lot of adults swooning to Kenny G. I've always been fascinated with how he could captivate so many purely with a saxophone. The man. The hair. The legend.
A moment from high school or college that changed your life.
I started studying economics in college and took a marketing and advertising class as part of my major. That's when I was introduced to this world. As soon as I learned that you can get paid for coming up with ideas, I went down to the dean's office and switched my major. And the rest is history.
A visual artist or band/musician you admire.
Well, obviously Kenny G. I have always admired people who have reinvented themselves and created entire worlds around their music. Like David Bowie or Madonna, for example.
A book, movie, TV show or podcast you recently found inspiring.
I love listening to the All In podcast every Saturday. It is a really good consolidation of macroeconomic, geopolitical and technological trends and how they influence each other.
Someone or something worth following in social media.
My interests sit at the intersection of all things Bravo and mixed martial arts. I've been following #scandoval from all different viewpoints and it's better than anything anyone ever could write. "You're a worm with a mustache" = Quote of the year.
How Covid-19 changed your life, personally or professionally.
It has given me flexibility as a parent to play a more active role, and it's accelerated the normalization of men as caregivers. It's been good to see this fundamental shift, especially in our industry.
One of your favorite creative projects you've ever worked on.
Globally repositioning and transforming Adidas was a big one. Influencing everything from their brand, to experiences, to how they show up in culture, and even influencing the types of athletes they sign. It was such a privilege. Anyone who has ever worked in sports understands how tough but fulfilling those assignments are.
A recent project you're proud of.
All the work we are doing at Crispin is infused with such great personality. Everything from the Buchanan's World Cup campaign to a project for Dropbox, we are having fun and it is showing.
Someone else's work that inspired you years ago.
Everything that Scott Trattner did at Apple and the work he is creating with his team at Airbnb is beautifully simple and makes me smile every time I see it.
Your main strength as a creative person.
I'm a generous person to my team, the agency and our clients. I believe in the simple formula that the more you give, the more you get back.
Your biggest weakness.
I have a propensity to go go go and keep looking ahead. I need to be better at stopping to smell the roses and celebrating everything we have achieved. This is true in life, and at the agency.
One thing that always makes you happy.
First thought: my wife and kids. But I will give you a less obvious answer. Being around anyone passionate about anything lights me up. It could be anything. Quantum physics or pigeon racing or cooking banana bread with grandma. I love meeting people and listening to whatever it is they're passionate about. Passion is infectious.
One thing that always makes you sad.
Anything to do with sick kids gets me. Those Make-A-Wish campaigns make me absolutely crumble.
What you'd be doing if you weren't in advertising.
I'd probably be back in economics, but somewhere in venture capital. I love helping people realize their ideas, so this would be a bit like what I’m doing now, just on a different canvas.