2 Minutes With ... Peter Ignazi, Global CCO of Cossette

On pro hockey, the Clash and the incredible SickKids campaign

Photo illustration: Ashley Epping

Peter Ignazi tried being a research chemist and an account executive before finding his calling as a copywriter. 

Following stints at Taxi, McCann, Downtown Partners DDB and BBDO, he is now the global chief creative officer of Canadian agency Cossette, and has helped lead the shop to the Agency of the Year award from Strategy magazine three years running. 

A member of the Film jury for the 2019 Clio Awards, Ignazi answered our "2 Minutes With" questionnaire, in which he reveals some of his background growing up in Hamilton, Ontario, a few of his favorite artists and ad projects, and why he might not be in advertising at all if it weren't for Jerry Della Femina. 

Peter, tell us... 

The town where you were born. 

Hamilton, Ontario, the Pittsburgh of Canada.

What you wanted to be when you grew up.

Pro hockey player. 

How you discovered you were creative. 

When my 6th grade masterpiece, "Santa vs. The Godfather," was picked to be my school's Christmas play. 

A person you idolized creatively growing up. 

Bobby Orr.

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

After getting an A+ for a college English class poem I'd written, I tried to rewrite a Shakespeare passage and my prof told me to fuck off. I learned a lot about humility and ego. I'm really more like Chaucer. 

The first concert you saw, and your favorite band or musician today. 

The Clash. The Clash. 

Your favorite artist. 

Aleksandr Sorotschynski.

Your favorite hero or heroine in fiction. 

Sydney Carton from A Tale of Two Cities. 

The best book you've read lately.

My Struggle by Karl Ove Knausgård.

Your favorite movie. 

Marty. No one captured true Italian American family life better than Paddy Chayefsky, a Jewish kid from the Bronx. And Ernest Borgnine was heartbreaking. Palme D'Or and Oscar for Best Picture, 1955. 

Your favorite Instagram follow. 

My wife. She's beautiful and funny. 

Your favorite creative project you've ever worked on, and why. 

Just to have the opportunity to work on SickKids hospital has been unbelievable. A cause that I (and anyone in Toronto with children) owes so much to. To get to work with the most talented people in the world. And for the work to have worked so well. Lucky at least seven times over. 

Your favorite creative project from the past year, and why. 

McDonald's "Follow the Arches." It was one of those rare ideas that everyone from our place all the way up globally at McDonald's just knew was going to be big. Functional but also just made you feel good about the brand. 

McDonald's | Follow the Arches
Someone else's creative project that inspired you years ago.

I was in a totally different business and I picked up legend Jerry Della Femina's book From Those Wonderful Folks Who Gave You Pearl Harbor. I thought, "If this business is a quarter as fucked up as this, I want in." 

Someone else's creative project that you've been envious of lately. 

The New York Times work from Droga5. Come on! How much has the topic of "the importance of journalism" been covered lately? To do something so original and true and powerful is a triumph. 

Your main strength as a creative person. 

Making other people's ideas better. 

Your weakness or blind spot. 

Giving up too quickly. 

One thing that always makes you happy. 

Coming home after being away. 

One thing that always makes you sad. 

Seeing an amazing idea die because I couldn't convince someone it was the right thing to do.

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

I'm scared to think. I literally failed at everything else I tried. 

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Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd is editor in chief of the Clio Awards.