Parallels are often drawn between the fictional Peggy Olson from Mad Men and Susan Credle, who started out as an intern at BBDO and moved up the ranks to become Executive Creative Director. The woman responsible for making the iconic M&M’s “human” speaks about leadership and creativity.
Susan Credle , FCB Global
Every agency says it wants “to do great creative,” but for Chief Creative Officer Susan Credle, it’s the reason why that matters. “Great creative has to build helpful, meaningful brands for the long-term,” she says. “That’s the sum of what we at Leo Burnett do, and what I’ve set out to do my entire career.”
She came to Leo Burnett in the fall of 2009, after more than two decades at BBDO in which she rose from “bathroom-break girl” for the agency’s receptionists to EVP Executive Creative Director. There, Susan reinvented the iconic M&M’s characters; turned Cingular Wireless from a start-up into a leader brand; and created other consistently award-winning work for such clients as Bank of America, FedEx, Gillette, Lowe’s, PepsiCo, Pizza Hut and Visa.
Since joining Leo Burnett, Susan has spearheaded a creative renaissance at the agency through an eye for new top talent, a commitment to work that benefits brands and the world, and a vision for clients that always looks beyond a single campaign or ad.
Susan’s leadership, inspiration and in-the-trenches contributions have led to legacy-respecting yet forward-looking campaigns like McDonald’s Happy Meal “Happy Tales,” Kellogg’s Special K “What Will You Gain When You Lose?” Secret’s “Mean Stinks” anti-bullying campaign and, one of the most beloved and awarded platform ideas, Allstate’s “Mayhem.”
“I believe in purpose-driven brands and having pride in something in lasts,” she says. “And, as we say here at Leo, that creativity can transform human behavior.”
Susan serves on the Boards of the University of North Carolina’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication, the American Association of Advertising Agencies, the Foundation for EXXcellence and the Creative Circus. She is a member of the Economic Club of Chicago, the Media Council at the Paley Center for Media in New York, the Creative Review Board of the Ad Council and is a supporter of Marwen and One Million Degrees in Chicago.