Geoffrey Edwards, making Black History all year long

(Geoffrey Edwards)

Editor’s Note: “The Reel Black List” is our annual spotlight of brothers and sisters in the worlds of advertising, film, TV, music, radio and media who are making a difference through their contributions and creativity. For the next 29 days, you will be able to celebrate these wonderful personalities with us.

Think of Creative Director Geoffrey Edwards as a rocket launcher. When he touches brands like Disney, Apple or Nike, they blast off. A 20-year advertising vet, Geoff is Executive Creative Director at TBWA \ Media Arts Lab, the bespoke agency for Apple. There, he launched the much anticipated tv+ subscription service on November 1st. He also led the global launch of the AirPods Pro with the Iconic ‘giant dancer’ campaign.

Previously Geoff was VP, Executive Creative Director at R/GA, Los Angeles. There he leveraged emerging technology, design and entertainment to build brands like Disney, Nike, PepsiCo, and Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

Geoff was Head of Creative at CAA Marketing where his award winning work on Jimmy Johns, and Anheuser-Busch, set new standards for branded content. Geoff has both worked for and founded some of the most creative agencies in the advertising industry: Spike/DDB, TAG McCann, and DOJO.

He’s won 2 Grand Prix Awards at Cannes Lions and 2 Cannes Advertiser of the Year honors for his work on the Global adidas ‘IMPOSSIBLE IS NOTHING’ campaign and for the Global launch of Microsoft XBOX360 ‘Jump In’ campaign, featuring the lauded Halo 3 “Believe”.

Geoff believes that with great Influence comes great responsibility and Co-Founded SATURDAY MORNING, a Nonprofit organization that leverages the power of creativity to help solve social injustice. The organization is supported by: P&G, Spotify, and public donation.

His thought leadership’s been covered by The New York Times, Campaign, Hollywood Reporter, Creativity, WIRED, and Fast Co to name a few.

Geoff’s impact has been felt in the New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles markets. But nowhere has his impact been felt more than with his family and friends.

Let’s meet Geoffrey.

What did You Originally Want to be When You Grow Up? I haven’t grown up.  (:

How did You Get into Advertising? I studied Art Direction at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY.  This was before the specialized 2 year Advertising programs that are offered today.  And one day I was watching the Super Bowl and I saw the  commercial 1984 and it changed me forever. I wanted to do Iconic work like that.  

Who were Your Mentors? I’ve had different mentors at different points in my career, but it all started with Lee Clow.

What is Your Biggest Achievement? My biggest achievement in life was the birth of my daughter and son. The biggest achievement in my career was not letting my career get in the way of my daughter and son.

What is Your Biggest Disappointment? My biggest disappointment was closing my agency DOJO in San Francisco. Can’t say I didn’t try.

Name Your Biggest Pet Peeves? When brilliant Ideas that can make an impact on culture and build client’s business die. 

Predictions for the Industry Over the Next Decade: I don’t have a crystal ball however, I believe that purpose driven tech, entertainment tech, and data Inspired business companies will be in high demand. This will create a ripple effect through all Industries.

Name a Job You had that Would Surprise People: I was a dishwasher at a restaurant called ‘Two Steps Down’ in Brooklyn. It’s closed now but that job taught me humility. I met Spike Lee there when I was a Jr in college and we later became friends and business partners. That taught me taught me that in life anything can happen.

ALSO READ: Gwendolyn Osborne, a true Wonder Woman

Which Marvel or DC Superhero do You Get to Play? Easy. Black Panther!

What do You Wish You had More Time to do? Travel abroad with my family.

What Drives You to be Extraordinary at What You do? Luke 12:48 ‘To whom much is given much is required.’ Not only do I believe this passage to be true, I practice it. I understand that my purpose is not just to be great at what I do, but also set an example for others like me to follow.  And I take that responsibility seriously. I try to lead with humanity, passion, and accountability.

Congratulations, You Built a Time Machine! What do You Go Back and Tell Your 15-Year-Old Self? 3 Things:

  1. Geoffrey, save your lawn service money and Invest in Atari.
  2. Listen to your parents, when they say “i was young once” they actually were.
  3. Be a nerd not a cool kid. The nerds win in the end.

Follow Geoffrey:

Linkedin: @GeoffEdwards