George Fiddler | The Innovator 25 Americas 2017
Charting the future of public relations

2017 Innovator 25 Americas - George FiddlerThe Innovator 25:

George Fiddler 

Creative Director 
Olson Engage
Minneapolis

“Finding creative ways to provide people with something that has real emotional or functional value.”

George Fiddler has driven the strategy and approach behind Olson Engage's most nimble and notable work. Since 2013, his work as the creative lead on accounts including the Belize Tourism Board, Blue Bunny Ice Cream and Terminix has been shortlisted for more than a dozen times for Gold and Innovation SABRE Awards, including five wins. Olson Engage has emerged as a steady presence on our Creative Agency of the Year list in recent years — and Fiddler's work has been a major contributor to that. 

How do you define innovation?
Finding creative ways to provide people with something that has real emotional or functional value.

What is the most innovative comms/marketing initiative you've seen in the last 12 months?
I've been a big fan of the Foot Locker "Approved" campaign which continues to generate media headlines through its creative and relevant way of referencing NBA storylines, such as the Father's Day spot featuring Lonzo Ball.

In your opinion, what brands and/or agencies are most innovative around PR and marketing?
Some of the most innovative PR campaigns I've seen this year have come from IKEA, Spotify, Crayola, Netflix, Reebok, and the tourism boards for Sweden and Iceland.

Describe a moment in your career that you would consider 'innovative.'
Earning the trust of our clients at the Belize Tourism Board to execute several nimble PR campaigns through our agency's "Right-Time Engagement" practice. These programs include putting the small Caribbean nation on Tinder, engaging with the cast of Breaking Bad, bringing Simone Biles on a celebratory trip, attempting the Polar Vortex Boiling Water meme, nicknaming an island after DJ Khaled's Snapchat account, and several others since 2013.

Who do you admire for his/her approach to innovation? 
I really admire Chance The Rapper for his innovative approach to music distribution. It was awesome seeing him win those Grammys in 2017 after several years of turning down record deals, and remaining committed to giving away his work for free.

How do you get out of a creativity or productivity rut? 
I typically either go to a kickboxing class (shout-out to Coach Angie at Olson), or fall far down YouTube rabbit holes that usually begin with really old Nike ads.

What advice would you give to the PR industry around embracing innovation?
There may be no better way to learn about innovative PR ideas, and what it takes for a campaign to break through, than by pitching stories to reporters for several years. Use that media relations experience and expertise to your advantage often when selling in ideas to account teams, agency partners, and clients.

In your opinion, what's the most innovative place in the world? 
"Most innovative place in the world" is quite the lofty title, but one of the reasons I've never left my hometown of Minneapolis is our incredible creative community, so that's my answer. Whether it's from one of the many agencies, Fortune companies or sports franchises, or a restaurant, brewery or museum, there's always something inspiring taking place here.

What's your favorite hobby that's not work-related? 
NBA Jam