The Innovator 25 Liv Buli
Charting the future of public relations

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The Innovator 25: Todd Hunter

Creative executive at CAA since 2009
Los Angeles
Marketing and Advertising, 8 years

 


"
The work isn’t talent-led but talent-leveraged. We find the story and then find the best storytelling."

For being a part of one of the most successful — and memorable — examples of branded storytelling with Chipotle’s “Cultivate a Better World Campaign” that produced “Back to the Start” and this year’s Cannes Lions Best Show Winner “The Scarecrow.” For seeing past the lure of big-name talent, and instead, in the appeal of pop culture relevancy. And for making content that consumers actually want to talk about.

In what area of marketing/PR do you see the most innovation?
Content creation & creative copy

How would you describe the communications/PR industry’s level of innovation?
About the same as other marketing disciplines

Where do you see the greatest opportunity for marketing & PR to become more innovative?
The greatest opportunities will be at the intersection of marketing expertise and audience experiences – whatever those experiences will be…

Who most influences how innovative a brand’s marketing/PR is?
CMO

How do you define innovation?
I see innovation as both a process and an outcome.  The process is the act of pushing into uncharted territory with a sense of direction and a vision for the destination – knowing that the destination will change along the way.  The outcome, is that delightful feeling we get when we experience something new.

"We do large scale transactions but we also look to create bespoke content and respond to briefs in the same way an ad firm would. The media landscape has changed so much, so the question we ask is — what’s the best way to deliver that content?"

Most innovative PR/comms campaign you’ve seen in the last 12 months?
Sound Of Honda

What brands and/or agencies are most innovative when it comes to marketing/PR?
Nike, Honda, Apple, Disney, Chipotle, W+K, Dentsu

Describe a moment in your career that you would consider ‘innovative.’
As CAA’s first homegrown Creative Executive, I was dropped into the deep-end of the entertainment industry, the mailroom, as a brand-centric creative person. The experience of growing up as both an agent and creative has influenced all of my work – from creating an original mobile game to telling a brand’s story to building a music festival from scratch.

Who is your mentor and why?
Jae Goodman, Jesse Coulter, and the CAA community. I started as Jae’s assistant at CAA Marketing eight years ago.  Since then, I have spent my years with Jae and Jesse developing a shared vision for brand storytelling in a building of amazing people (agents, executives and clients) that make my work and me better every day.

How do you get inspired?
Collaboration. There is nothing more inspiring than working with a great team. I’m so fortunate to work with my colleagues, collaborators like Moonbot Studios, and clients like Chipotle.

Advice for people seeking to bring new ideas, ways of doing things to their organizations?
Respect the process. You have to implement a process and culture that is idea-driven and commit to it for the long run.  It helps an organization feel comfortable with being uncomfortable – which is critical to innovation.

In your opinion, what’s the most innovative place in the world? This could be a city, a venue, a neighborhood, etc.
For storytellers, it’s a three-way tie between MIT Media Arts, the City of Los Angeles, and the “land” of the independent game developers.  Joi Ito is leading an incredible new and open chapter at Media Arts Lab.  Los Angeles is having another creative renaissance driven by greater diversity in its composistion, thinking and creativity. The Indie gaming space is creating the most exciting and emotional storytelling in the world.

What’s your favorite time of day and why?
The wee small hours of the morning. The world feels quiet and the possibilities limitless.