2 Minutes With ... Michael Aimette, Chief Creative Officer at FCB N.Y.

On 'Songs for Every CMO' and GE podcasting

Michael Aimette is chief creative officer of FCB New York. Under his co-leadership, the team has created recent award winners such as Spotify’s "Songs for Every CMO" and AB InBev's "McEnroe vs. McEnroe" and “Courtside.” Since 2020, the agency has grown 87 percent and notched 18 new business wins, including Budweiser, the New York Mets and MorningStar Farms.

Earlier, Michael's decade-long stint as global ECD at BBDO N.Y. resulted in acclaimed work for global clients such as GE, Snickers, Visa, FedEx and AT&T. His efforts have been featured in The New York Times and Fast Company, and he has garnered an Emmy nomination.

Also a filmmaker, Michael wrote and directed a feature in 2009 and he continues to create screenplays for both movies and television. But most of all, Michael is proud of his twins Juliet and William, who somehow still believe he's the strongest human in the universe.

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

Michael, tell us...

Where you grew up, and where you live now.

Born in Brooklyn, grew up in Pennsylvania, live in Summit N.J. Because it's everyone’s dream to live in New Jersey, right?

How you first realized you were creative.

I used to watch those super-kitchy reruns of Batman with Adam West and rewrite the cliffhangers to be even more cliffhanger-y.

A person you idolized creatively early on.

I'm old enough to have seen Star Wars in the theater. Couldn't believe someone could create an entire world like that.

A moment from high school or college that changed your life.

I was very close to both of my Irish grandmothers, and when they passed away around the same time, it was tough. But it made me appreciate the time spent with those you love, and do whatever you can to maximize that time.

A visual artist or band/musician you admire.

I just discovered this amazing blues guitarist named Elizabeth Cotten. Born in 1897, her debut album was in 1957. And she played into her 80s. Talk about doing what you love.

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

For some reason, I’ve been reading a lot of sequels: Tom Perrotta's sequel to Election, Jennifer Egan's The Candy House and Less Is Lost. I guess I always want to know what happens next.

Your favorite fictional character.

Bob Harris, the world-weary character played by Bill Murray in Lost In Translation. The scene in the karaoke bar where he sings “More Than This,” his eyes fixed onto Scarlet Johansson, is one of the most connected, drop-dead moments I've ever seen. 

Someone or something worth following in social media.

That TikTok trend where kids dress up as their parents particularly hits home to me.

How Covid-19 changed your life, personally or professionally.

I got to be home all the time with my wife and kids, who are all really fun human beings; and really excellent creative directors.

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

The Message, a podcast we made for GE. I’m proud of it because of how much it seeped into popular culture, becoming the no.1 podcast in the world, and opened my eyes to going so far beyond what we typically do.

A recent project you're proud of, and why.

Spotify’s “Songs for Every CMO” because it was a tiny B2B project that flew under the radar. We made it super cheaply and it was a topsy-turvy way to do creatively effective work, by reaching very few people (only the ones we needed to reach.) 

Someone else's work that inspired you years ago.

Gerry Graf. He’s just always had this punk rock spirit that I admire. And his work was so hilarious, it made me jealous on an almost-daily basis.

Someone else's work you admired lately.

From the ad world, I'm gonna go with my old boss from BBDO, Greg Hahn. What he and the team are doing over there at Mischief is so fun and loose, with the kind of spirit more agencies and creatives should have. 

Your main strength as a creative person.

I like a lot of things.

Your biggest weakness.

I sometimes like too many things.

One thing that always makes you happy.

Going to a place I've never been. And going there with the same people I always go with.

One thing that always makes you sad.

Sad movies on planes. They always feel like 30 percent sadder. Or maybe throwing out the Christmas tree. Hate that day.

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

Making movies. Or dying trying. 

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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Jessica MacAulay
Jessica MacAulay is a contributor for Muse by Clio. She's also a recent graduate of the University of Colorado Boulder's College of Media, Communication, and Information.

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