Choose Your Own Adventure: Why Creativity Thrives at Independent Agencies

Speaker(s): Jeff Sweat, Lisa Bennett, Marcus Wesson, Katy Hornaday, Gaelan Draper

Time: 3:30pm | Room: Forum

Independent agencies have been on the rise in recent years, responding to the pressures of a fast-changing marketplace. But while most of our focus on indie agencies has been from a business standpoint, can agencies be more creative when they’re independent? What hidden advantages should brands and creatives consider when choosing between a holding company and an indie-owned shop? How are indie shops dealing with the challenges they face in a shifting marketplace? And how can independent agencies make the most of their freedom?

Leadership

Jeff Sweat Founder & CCO Mister Sweat
Jeff Sweat Founder & CCO Mister Sweat
 

Whether covering tech for InformationWeek, serving as a social media lead at Yahoo!, leading PR for Deutsch LA and 72andSunny, or the author of two novels for Macmillan, Jeff Sweat has always believed one thing: It's the story that matters. He led the content marketing team for Yahoo and pioneered its use of social media. He directed PR for two of the top advertising agencies in the country, Deutsch LA and 72andSunny. His first novel, Mayfly, debuted in 2018; its sequel, Scorpion, is due out in 2020. He now runs his own Los Angeles–based PR and marketing agency, Mister Sweat.


Lisa Bennett CCO Laughlin Constable
Lisa Bennett CCO Laughlin Constable
 

Lisa Bennett is Chief Creative Officer of Laughlin Constable. Prior to LC, she served as Chief Creative Officer of TM Advertising, EVP/Creative of DDB North America and Chief Creative Officer, Managing Partner of DDB San Francisco. Lisa has built successful creative and production departments, transformed agencies and reinvented brands. Lisa has created content for iconic brands across a broad range of categories including Consumer Packaged Goods, Airlines, Entertainment, Retail and Technology. Her work has been recognized by award shows including Cannes Lions, CLIO Awards, D&AD and One Show. Lisa served on Executive Juries for Cannes Lions, D&AD, CLIO Awards, One Show, New York Festivals and was named one of Ad Age's 21 to Watch in the 21st Century.


Marcus Wesson CCO Dailey
Marcus Wesson CCO Dailey
 

With over 20 years of experience at top agencies such as TBWA Chiat/Day, DDB and 72andSunny, Wesson has helped craft work for some of the nation's top brands including Nissan, Activision, Carl's Jr. and Honda. Wesson's work has been honored by the One Show, Clios, D&AD, FWA, the Beldings, Webbys, TBS' Funniest Commercials, and even mentioned in two major motion pictures. Dailey won a 2018 Drum Social Purpose Award for "Best Representation of Diversity and Inclusion in a Campaign" for "What Diversity Gives Us," a website, led by Wesson, that allows visitors to find out more about the contributions underrepresented groups have made to society.


Katy Hornaday EVP/Executive Creative Director Barkley
Katy Hornaday EVP/Executive Creative Director Barkley
 

Katy Hornaday is the Executive Creative Director of Barkley in Kansas City, where she oversees the Creative, Production, Content and Video teams. She's been named a Future Lion, a Young Gun, one of Business Insider's 30 Most Creative People in Advertising Under 30, AdWeek's Creative 100, one of the 30 Most Creative Women in Advertising and a member of the Creative Circus Advisory Board. In addition to ads, she's created two humans she's quite fond of: Emery, 7 and Palmer, 2.


Gaelen Draper Creative Director and Partner Quirk Creative
Gaelen Draper Creative Director and Partner Quirk Creative
 

Gaelan Draper, Creative Director at Quirk Creative, is a feature film and commercial director who specializes in video ad campaigns and creative strategy. He directed the live-action film, "Blood, Sand and Gold," 2017 theatrical release, which was shot in six countries around the world. He has directed campaigns for Walmart, Campari, Western Union, WordPress, Coinbase, Betterment, Kimpton and others. His work has received awards including REGGIE - National Consumer Campaign, IAC - Outstanding Online Video, and W3 - Integrated Campaign, to list a few.