'Great ideas still win': John Norman appointed Havas Chicago's new CCO

John Norman (L) and Paul Marobella (R)
John Norman (L) and Paul Marobella (R)

The creative genius reveals his plans for the team as the network vows to drive meaningful transformation in advertising.

John Norman will take on the role of Havas Chicago chief creative officer as the global network looks to cement its position as a "positive force for change in the industry."

The seasoned ad pro, who has created renowned work for major brands across Goodby, Wieden+Kennedy, The Martin Agency, TBWA and -- most recently -- Translation, will lead the charge for one of the company’s most important creative assets following Jason Peterson’s exit late last year.

Norman told Campaign US he is excited to rid the landscape of what he sees as a "drought of craft and storytelling."

He said: "If you cut me open, I’m a hardcore design-thinking-approach to problem solving, but I love storytelling. I love telling stories in multimedia channels and I want to be a part of helping mentor new generations to do that -- and I think that’s what the industry really needs."

First order of business will be to sit down with the Chicago team and its clients (which include Citibank, AutoZone, Cracker Barrel among others) to find out what’s working and what’s not. 

"There are so many great tools that Vivendi and Havas already have," Norman continued. "Connecting those dots will be the main focus of what we do as a team going forward. There are a lot of great things we’re doing already -- nothing is broken -- it’s just a case of channeling it all with some positive energy and a good vision of how to package those up in really amazing ways."

Speaking to the current state of creativity in advertising, he stressed: "Great ideas still win.

"There’s a lot of constant pollution -- a lot of things people are doing just to do -- putting stuff out there that isn’t of good value as a brand-building product.

"One of my bigger campaigns was a gazillion dollars -- it didn’t have to be that big. All great ideas these days are small and resonate with culture."

Paul Marobella, chairman and CEO of Havas Creative North America, said Norman brings to the table a unique blend of advertising craft and a deep understanding of how brands can lean into culture to create economic value for their companies.

He said: "The Chicago agency plays a very powerful and unique role in our North America creative agency portfolio. Over the last few years, we’ve been building what we think is a more modern creative agency focused on modern platforms and really using the power of culture to help brands tap into different demographics that matter to them. Chicago has really led the way for that."

Marobella explained that Havas’ positioning to be the most meaningful partner to the modern CMO comes hand-in-hand with its mission to spearhead real transformation within the industry.

"This is the best industry in the world and it drives me crazy when people are negative about it," he added. "I want us to be a really positive force for change in the industry -- try new things and build new things.

"We don’t always get it right, but we want to be on the positive end of innovation and where creativity and storytelling is headed. That’s we chose John and he chose us -- because he radiates positive energy. And that’s what this industry needs.

"I’m excited for the city of Chicago."

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