Much like the mysterious and elusive advertising God we know from the hit television series Mad Men, Donald Draper, Greg Ketchum is also a hard man to get to know…at least online, that is. Throw any combination of “Greg Ketchum”, “Ogilvy”, or “BBDO” into google and suddenly whatever concise wikipedia biography you might have pictured in your head is poof, gone. Greg Ketchum seems to be all over the place, and maybe that’s good in his profession of creative advertising.
However, it was clear that Greg Ketchum has and continues to work as part of a pair with Tom Godici. Both carry two decades of experience in the business of advertising as Executive Creative Directors at Ogilvy & Mather, David Ogilvy’s brainchild advertising agency, and now hold the same positions at BBDO, a worldwide advertising agency network formed by the merger of Barton, Durstine & Osborn and the Batten Company. They are best known for the launch of the “Smarter Planet” campaign for IBM during their time at Ogilvy. “Smarter Planet” is IBM’s creative business strategy to make the planet “smarter” through organization and distribution of data, the collaboration between systems, businesses, and technologies, and advancement of management to oversee the interconnection, intelligence, and instrumentation of our resources in a changing world. As you can see, advertising today has definitely expanded from those little drawing boards we see on Mad Men.
Ketchum returned to BBDO in December of last year after once working there between 1989 and 1997 at the West Coast branch. During those eight years Ketchum was the Creative Director on the Apple Computer account. He then moved to a Hal Riney & Partners (now Publicis & Hal Riney) serving as Creative Director for Saturn and Worldwide Creative Director for HP. This time at BBDO, Ketchum will be overseeing many different accounts and clients for the expansive agency. Ketchum stresses, “I’m a copy-writer first.” But he’s definitely a copy-writer with a whole lot of experience and power.
Also like Don Draper, Ketchum has established himself as a force to be reckoned with in the advertising and creative world, moving on up, making big creative director power moves. Except, I’m pretty sure he didn’t go through all that Korean War drama and isn’t harboring a secret past and a secret name. We can only hope that despite this distinction, he still sips whiskey straight in his office like it’s his job.