I want to write a little bit about the role of Creative Director. You see, the best creative director I’ve ever met has died.
His name is Mach Arom, and he was executive creative director for FCB Interactive in New York. I just found out he died on August 23rd, while doing humanitarian work in Rwanda.
I worked with Mach while we were at Magnet Interactive in Washington DC. Mach was the “mother hen” for our large, boisterous and extremely talented creative department. He was a skilled designer, an inspired leader and an intelligent, funny guy.
Much of our business, our daily lives, as marketers revolves around the task of being creative…or at least, facilitating good creative on our projects. It’s not easy, creating the aesthetics of a communications program, be it a website or ad or whatever, since aesthetics are so personal and subjective. You can have the best creative strategy, the best wordsmiths, the best offers, but if the creative stinks, the program will flop.
Mach knew good creative, and he drew the best talent out of his team. He led them by example, directed design, managed egos, kept account types at bay and led his team to build the best creative product I’ve ever seen.
He died at 38, doing what he loved: helping people.
I remember coming over to bug him, repeatedly, for proposal graphics or for status updates on client work. He would protect his creatives fiercely. I remember his terse “Weaver!” when I would ask for a level of effort that would impinge on his team. And his alternating between being all-business and then joking and smirking while we discussed projects.
He went on to Ogilvy Interactive, then FCBi. I spoke to him last year, caught up on where he was. It was good to hear from him, to hear he was happy in his new role.
Since being spoilt at Magnet, I’ve been looking for not good, but GREAT creative. I’ve found strong talent in people I’ve worked with over the last few years, but nothing like Mach. I’ve not found another creative department like his, either: hopeful, happy, joking, wildly creative and supremely talented.
If you’re an account guy like me, selling creative isn’t easy. Clients can’t always tell you exactly why they like or dislike certain creative efforts. It’s often related to past experience, background and taste. Because of this I respect good creatives who can translate communication problems into beautiful, compelling and at times emotionally moving works.
Safe journey, Mach. Thanks for being such a great person, and such a great example to others.
His memorial is here.