The Marketing Minds Series #3 with Cordell Burke – Advertising Creative genius.

Cordell Burke Advertising creative
Cordell Burke and me – we meet up every few months and he’s always full of brilliant advice and always with a smile!

Cordell Burke is an advertising creative genius. Currently Creative Managing Partner at Up There Everywhere. But his title doesn’t really do justice to to Cordell’s talents. Creativity oozes from him and what I love about him is his energy, enthusiasm and desire to give back. With a wealth of experience gained at some of the biggest names in advertising Cordell not only mentors other Creative leaders but works with the DMA to help youngsters get into advertising. He’s been a great supporter of mine and I always look forward to meeting up with him as we can chat the night away talking about projects and ideas.

The Marketing Minds series delves into the minds of some inspirational people involved in the wonderful world of Marketing and asks them to answer a set of questions that probe into their career journey and what inspires them. This is what Cordell had to say.

1. What’s your name?

Cordell Burke

2. Where do you work and what do you do?

I’m Creative Managing Partner at UP There, Everywhere UK working on national and international accounts using on and offline creative teams across the world. I also mentor creative heads and juniors looking to get into the business.

3. What’s your career path been like and how did you end up where you are?

Many moons ago, I started as a junior art director working for a two person creative consultancy. Over the years, I moved onto a range of advertising and direct/digital agencies in large networks such as Saatchis, Ogilvy and TBWA. In late 2018, I left Bigdog Agency intending to take some time off but that was cut short when an old colleague and friend asked me to become the creative partner to help develop the UK branch of UP There, Everywhere. While the international side has been going for some time, the combination of my partners (Christos and Kate), the support of an old client and the feeling of a start up seemed too good an opportunity to pass up.   

4. What elements of your job do you dislike?

Bureaucracy and anything that stifles the quality of the creative work.

5. What’s your favourite brand and why?

Nike. One of the few brands that still continues to stand for something. 

6. What’s your favourite advert of all time?

C4’s ‘Meet the superhumans’. A wonderful ad that managed to completely reposition Paralympians in the most inspiring way. The idea and execution were so excellent that everyone worldwide stood up and took notice. I think its influence will last a lifetime. 

7. What advice would you give your 20 year old self if you could go back in time?

Work hard, give your best, be good to people, be as honest as you can and have fun. Do all of that and you’ll create some great lasting friendships and things will work out fine. That applies to both life and the advertising business.

8. What makes you get out of bed in the morning?

The sudden burst of music from the alarm clock….

9. What is the creative idea or innovation that you wish you’d thought of first?

What 3 Words. It’s a really simple and universal way to look at location. They’ve divided the world into 3m by 3m squares and assigned a unique 3-word address which will never change. This means the most obscure location can be addressed which opens the world up to everyone. I think it’s ‘cat’s eyes for the 21st century’.

10. What’s your favourite way to spend a day off?

Popping to see an exhibition at the Tate or the V&A followed by lunch or dinner. Great places for top ups of inspiration.

11. What was the last thing you learned?

Some fundamentals of Facebook marketing.

12. Which blog or podcast are you currently listening to / would recommend?

Stuff from The Loft by Dave Dye. He showcases classic ads and the creatives, photographers and directors associated with the work. Proof that strong ideas should underpin everything we do.

13. What 3 words sum you up?

Helpful. Hardworking. Supportive.

14. Who do you most admire and why?

In the ad business, Bob Greenberg has been a pioneer all his life. He developed RGA into a leading film production company then transformed it into an agency with creativity and technology naturally baked in. In my opinion, RGA continues to be the benchmark for the 21st century agency.

My inspiration outside of the business is my late Mum who against all odds always remained positive and brought joy, laughter and strength into the lives of family and friends alike.

15. Do you think technology is killing creativity in marketing or helping it?

I prefer to go the positive route and say that it’s helping creativity. Most people who start with a problem find creative ways to solve it using tech.

What’s the point of creating a tech solution that doesn’t do that? It’s very important that technology works in tandem with creative thinking and execution rather than looking at them as polar opposites. What 3 Words is a great example of that.

16. What’s the work you are most proud of?

American Express ‘Receipt’ mailer for its creative use of personalisation across countries; Rightmove ‘Market Intelligence’ for using technology to solve the challenges of buying and selling houses; Aviva Community Fund online films for helping to promote the great things people are doing in their communities.

17. What are you going to do now?

I’m going to make myself a nice cup of tea… 

If you’ve enjoyed this post why not read the other interviews in the Marketing Minds series here and if you want to find out more about GingerTree then visit my homepage here.


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