Brian Watanabe is an associate creative director at MVNP. He’s worked as a copywriter at ad agencies in San Francisco, Detroit, and New York on clients including AT&T, the Oakland A’s, Nikon, Wendy’s and Mastercard. At MVNP he’s worked on the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau, McDonald’s Hawaii and Hawaiian Telcom. He’s won awards at the Detroit Addy’s, the Adrian Awards, the Effie’s, and the Pele Awards, including a “Best of Show” for HVCB in 2008. He’s also a produced screenwriter and an expert diaper changer. You can follow Brian on Twitter at @brianwatanabe.
Tell us about your first job in advertising.
In college I interned at the Schiller Group. In true Hawaii ad-intern form, they used me in a Kraft print ad… without paying me.
What were some of your early creative influences?
Han Solo. Ferris Bueller. David Addison from Moonlighting. Carlin at Carnegie. Cat’s Cradle. Saturday Night Live. Shermer High. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. And of course, all 80’s movies starring John Cusack.
Just Do It or Think Different?
Just do it different.
What’s your secret weapon?
I draw all my powers from my eyebrows.
Tell us your weirdest production story.
My first commercial was for AT&T Wireless. We rented out a grocery store in Vancouver and unleashed about two-dozen sheep. The problem was, production didn’t account for the fact that sheep poop. And they poop a lot. There were sheep pellets everywhere. The whole thing was surreal. This ridiculous idea my art director and I came up with while playing foosball was actually happening – and that idea was violating Canadian health codes.
Flight or invisibility?
What’s on your Netflix cue now?
What are you, a cop?
What’s your favorite quote?
“Give them what they want, just not the way they expect it.” ~ William Goldman.
What projects have you worked on that you’re most proud of?
HVCB’s “Colors of Hawaii” & “Stories of Hawaii” web videos and Hawaiian Telcom’s “Always On” spots were really fun to put together. I also love working on our Consolidated Theatres Hana Hou Picture Show posters because I’m a big movie fan and it gives our art directors and designers a fun, creative outlet.
Madonna or Lady Gaga?
Paul, John, George or Ringo?
Posh, Scary, Sporty, Baby or Ginger Spice?
The smart one.
If you could change one part of your body, what would it be?
Less defined abdominal muscles.
Have you ever worn pantyhose before?
Only on my head. And the charges were dropped.
As a member of the Pele Awards committee, how are you contributing to this year’s Pele Awards?
I put together (with the fine folks at 1013 Integrated) a “Pele Profile,” Olympic parody short spotlighting Wall-to-Wall Studio’s Bernard Uy. This was not at all Bernie’s idea and we want to thank him for – I think the technical local nomenclature is – “Making A.”
What’s the best part about working in advertising?
Drinking on the job is rarely frowned upon.