2 Minutes With … Steve O'Connell, Co-CCO at RTO+P
Steve is the co-chief creative officer of RTO+P. In a previous life, he was named one of the 10 most-awarded creative directors in the country while at Crispin Porter + Bogusky, working on accounts like Mini and Truth.
We spent two minutes with Steve to learn more about his background, his creative inspirations and recent work he's admired.
Steve, tell us …
Where you grew up, and where you live now.
I grew up in the middle of New Jersey near Six Flags. Which is less exciting than it sounds. I moved around the East Coast a bit and am now back in N.J., right outside of Philly.
How you first realized you were creative.
When I was in grade school, I wrote these terrible short stories about a scientist who made hybrid animal creatures. They were random nonsense, but it hooked me on creating stories from scratch.
A person you idolized creatively early on.
A moment from high school or college that changed your life.
The first time I pulled an all-nighter in college working on a project. Instead of being exhausted I, felt invigorated. And so began a life of never-enough sleep.
A visual artist or band/musician you admire.
OK Go. Great music. Brilliant videos.
A book, movie, TV show or podcast you recently found inspiring.
Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow. And it's totally not because if I could go back and do it all over I'd make games instead of advertising. Not at all.
Your favorite fictional character.
Someone or something worth following in social media.
@pablo.rochat. The things this guy thinks up are wild.
One of your favorite creative projects you've ever worked on.
"Dietz Nuts" for Dietz & Watson. The idea started as something we were almost too afraid to present to the client (that was my bad). But they loved it. The next thing we knew, we're making a new product. Then we're getting Craig Robinson and shooting a Super Bowl spot. Then we're selling out in stores. Then we're making product extensions. Sure, it's a juvenile joke. But it drove big sales for the client. Which is what this is all about.
A recent project you're proud of.
Our latest for Sparkling Ice. They're a new partner, so launching a campaign is always an accomplishment to be proud of. I love everything about this campaign, from the foundational strategy through the execution. Getting to work with Annie Murphy was a rare delight.
Someone else's work that inspired you years ago.
When it comes to advertising, the Honda "Grrrr" spot is the pinnacle for me. I'll spend the rest of my career trying to make something as wonderful.
Your main strength as a creative person.
Shifting quickly between big picture thinking and small detail tinkering.
Your biggest weakness.
Approving 18-second scripts for 15-second media buys.
What you'd be doing if you weren't in advertising.
Living in a van down by the river. And writing fiction.