Chad Farmer

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As one who believes advertising should always “tell a story” while simultaneously stirring desire for the focal selling point, Chad Farmer has become well known for his clean aesthetic and evocative imagery through his work as an Art Director.

After attending Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, he worked his way to becoming Senior Art Director at Lord Dentsu & Partners in Los Angeles. There he executed his first major success—an ad campaign for American Suzuki Motorcycles. With his leadership, the brand moved from fifth to first in the U.S. Japanese motorcycle market.

After five years, Farmer assumed his current position as Executive Creative Director at Lambesis, Inc. His addition to the company, which was recently named the “Best Agency in the West Under $40M” by the American Advertising Federation, has been key in its impressive growth. The company is known for its dynamic approach to advertising, and has solidified its reputation as a premier agency—no small part of which is thanks to Farmer.

Farmer’s outlook is one focused on innovative talent and groundbreaking approaches to design, illustrated through clients such as SKYY Vodka, BCBG, Nordstrom, Grand Marnier, Coca-Cola brands including Dasani, and others. The campaigns created by Farmer and Lambesis were even dedicated a chapter in Malcolm Gladwell’s infamous New York Times best seller, The Tipping Point. This symbiotic partnership is resulting in a growing list of noteworthy campaigns, with no signs of slowing down any time soon.

With such a creative background, we at SOMA were curious to learn more about Farmer and discover what secrets he holds in his palm.

What are your first steps when starting a new campaign? Where do you go for creative inspiration?
I like a lot of research. I have always liked to study culture and people’s behaviors. After that, I love art history, and design of everything and anything cinematic.

What’s it like to balance your own vision with that of a client’s? How much creative control do you really have?
Ultimately it is based on understanding and trust. So, it seems to work best to lead through a very clear focus on the macro issues.

Do you have any standout favorites when it comes to past campaigns?
Any that are iconic and enduring—I don’t care much for stunts or one-off campaigns. From our body of work, SKYY Vodka stands out. It changed the way the spirits category communicated and drove dramatic brand value and year-over-year growth for 15 years. I was sorry to see new management come in and take it in a different direction.

What aspects of your work do you find to be most challenging?
The ability to dedicate enough time to doing better creative thinking. I also think our industry suffers from an overuse of marketing jargon and chasing the next shiny object. There’s a lot of b.s. in our industry. Ask anyone on my team, I have an unwavering focus on sifting through all of the peripheral fluff to arrive at simple clarity. It’s a human business. As an industry we need to get better at speaking with humans, as humans.

When it comes to 2014, what are you most excited about?
We just added some really amazing new clients; I am very excited for the work we are about to produce.

To learn more, visit Lambesis’s website: www.lambesis.com.

Text by Kate Zaliznock

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