Lizzie Wilson


Growing up I had no idea that advertising was a career path. I lived on a non-working farm in Athens, Georgia surrounded by chickens and mules and tire swings. But my parents were both creative people, and I that’s what I wanted to be too. I graduated with a BFA in photography from The School Of The Art Institute of Chicago- a school I chose because it was housed in a world class museum- where in between classes I could lose myself in the tiny details of Joseph Cornell’s boxes, or Byzantine artifacts. Years after graduation I was working in a small jewelry store and they brought in this traveling sales guru to teach us how to master the art of selling engagement rings. He gave us homework: "come up with 100 ways to romance a diamond.” I wrote all night. I loved the exercise- the challenge of problem solving ways to get people to buy basically a tiny rock made up of really old carbon. I came in with pages of ideas. I thought about those rocks historically, emotionally, biologically, culturally, and what I could say to people to get them to think about them that way too. The sales guru suggested Advertising. And a Google search took me to Miami Ad School in Brooklyn for Art Direction. McCann hired me straight out of school.

My favorite part of Advertising is the ideas. I get to go to work every day and solve problems, make connections, visualize something beautiful, and then hopefully execute it in the world. It’s a dream job, but it’s not perfect. I love the ideas, but I don’t love the industry. Brands and agencies have so much power in the world (and all of the money), and still rarely use that power to make our world better. But each new brief is a chance to affect that in baby steps: Working with diverse artists and directors, making sure every idea is grounded in real human truth and not culturally tone-deaf, and bringing young creatives into the fold and championing their ideas. That’s what the women I look up to have done, and that’s what I'm trying to do as well.




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