2 Minutes With … Kathleen Wille, CCO at Solve

On Skittles, Sunoco, iPhone and more

Kathleen has worked at some of advertising's powerhouses, including DDB, FCB and VMLY&R. She has been chief creative officer at Solve since 2022. 

We spent two minutes with Kathleen to learn more about her background, her creative inspirations and recent work she's admired.

Kathleen, tell us …

Where you grew up, and where you live now.

I was born in beautiful Monterey, Calif., but grew up in the suburbs of Chicago. I just moved to Minneapolis and already consider it one of the most unsung cities.

A person you idolized creatively early on.

Kevin Lynch, a (then Chicago) writer whose work I studied fanatically. He was most recently at Oatly in Sweden, which I'm taking as proof of my impeccable taste in idols. 

A visual artist or band/musician you admire.

Shelly Klein, a Michigan artist who does wonderful, minimalist line drawings of people that make me feel all emotions.

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

I'm a compulsive watcher of anything that people are talking about, but The Rehearsal by Nathan Fielder is still stuck in my head. 

Someone or something worth following in social media.

My husband—hi Steve!—turned me onto the artist Mars Black. I can't tell what I like more, the paintings or the names of the paintings.

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

It's gotta be Skittles, their first Super Bowl spot where the whole town arm wrestles for their favorite flavors.

Our "Two Hearted" work is also near and dear to my heart. The clients mentioned that their beer was created by a stubborn bastard who refused to change a thing. That instantly lit us up. We loved the idea of embracing stubborn as an endearing quality. I also loved our Sunoco effort with Adama Sanogo. The moment Charles Barkley mispronounced his name as Sunoco, we became superfans. We fueled the fire with memes. Then we created jerseys with Sanogo's name in the iconic Sunoco diamond. Pretty cool that he ended up the March Madness MVP.

Someone else's work you admired lately.

"R.I.P. Leon" by TBWA\MAL is perfection in 30 seconds.

On the other end of the spectrum, "The Last Photo" by adam&eveDDB is some of the most insightful work I've ever seen. Such a gut punch.

What you'd be doing if you weren't in advertising.

Maybe interior design, but most likely forensics or detective work. I went to the first CrimeCon, where we received stacks of files for real cold cases and sat on juries for others. I cried so much, but I love solving mysteries. Small wonder I'm at Solve. 

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.

Advertise With Us

Featured Clio Award Winner



The best in creativity delivered to your inbox every morning.