Creative Person of the Year 2020: Margaret Johnson

During her 24 years at Goodby Silverstein & Partners (GS&P), Margaret Johnson, who has led the creative department at the agency since 2015, has developed a reputation for both innovation and advocacy. 

On the former, she has embraced new methods of delivering clients’ messages. A partnership between Doritos Cool Ranch and the augmented reality app Sway helped the #CoolRanchDance challenge, introduced at the Super Bowl, reach a wider audience and propel sales. Holiday windows proved another surprising medium, with PayPal’s Independents on 5th: Shoppable Holiday Windows campaign highlighting both the online payment system and five unique small businesses. Johnson’s work at GS&P also recognizes that traditional television spots remain effective, especially when they are built around the perfectly pitched humor of Cheetos’ Can’t Touch This and Samuel Adams’ Your Cousin from Boston ads. 

Johnson is not only concerned with producing great creative; she also wants to change the world. Being a mentor to women has been central to her career at GS&P, and she is a founding member of the 3% Conference, an organization focused on increasing the number of female creative directors. She also created the nonprofit Daughters of the Evolution with her daughter. The organization’s app, Lessons in Herstory, highlights the contributions of women in history. In addition, Johnson led GS&P’s work on the Not a Gun campaign, which drew attention to police brutality against Black people, and Respond2Racism, which focused on the surge in racist incidents against people of Asian descent that accompanied the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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