How To Be A CD

David Wen at The Ranch posted an interview with David Baldwin, ECD at McKinney in Durham, NC. Here’s my favorite bit:

Q. Is it hard going from Copywriter to Executive Creative Director? What new challenges/responsibilities does being an ECD entail?
A. You have to realize that you have a new job. Your job is to create culture and possibility rather than to ‘write.’ I’ve always called it a transference of joy. You have to take joy from seeing someone else create a great idea and then either help make it better or get out of the way if you can’t.

About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. After working for seven agencies in five states and freelancing for several more, I ventured out on my own in 2009. Today, as head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon, I'm focused on providing effective integrated marketing solutions to mid-market clients.


  1. How rare and few are the ECDs who understand the simple point made by Baldwin. Whereas most ECDs come in thinking it’s all about them, in fact it’s all about the people who will be doing the work.
    If you can’t achieve joy from helping others succeed, you’ll never be a great creative departmenet leader. At least, you won’t be one who can keep a good team together for long.
    Any jobs there in Durham?

  2. daveednyc says:

    I concur. I may not be getting paid to do the most exciting work, nor for the best of clients, but I do get the support/encouragement/direction I need from my group CD and his ACDs. And they’re more than willing to put in the hours along with the rest of us hoi polloi in order to get the work done right.
    Great interview — thanks for the head’s up on it. It reminded me why I don’t dread getting to work at the agency I’m at now, compared to others I’ved worked at.

  3. Carl LaFong says:

    “Any jobs there in Durham?”
    Doubtful, Theo, considering they just lost Audi.

  4. David, you pasted the only interesting thing in that entire interview IMHO.