Michelle Lassman — Group Creative Director, AKQA San Francisco

TheNextGag
Jun 28, 2018 · 4 min read

Michelle talks to TheNextGag about the Future Lions competition, what students bring to the advertising world and working near the Silicon Valley.

Michelle Lassman is a Group Creative Director at AKQA San Francisco in the USA.

Michelle is a Group Creative Director at AKQA, where she leads creative vision and digital innovation for her clients. She is responsible for developing digital experiences across emerging platforms, ecosystems and retail channels, and fostering an environment for entrepreneurs and innovators. She founded “Women for Women,” a community to inspire, support and mentor female creatives, and is a member of AKQA’s Global Creative Council.

Prior to this, she worked with acclaimed agencies including Landor, Razorfish, and frogdesign. Throughout her career, she has created global brands and developed integrated marketing solutions for some of the most widely recognized brands in industries ranging from technology to financial services to retail. Her client roster includes Apple, Audi, Disney, Gap, Hyatt, Lufthansa, Mattel, Target, Verizon and Visa.

Her work has been recognized by The One Show, World Retail Awards, AdAge, AdWeek, Communication Arts, FWA, Graphis, PRINT, Webby’s and WIRED.

Michelle believes that creative opportunities and learning experiences can be found in everything she does. While not working, she’s completed 20 marathons and runs a craft group.

Michelle Lassman was a speaker at the 2018 Cannes Lions on the Future Lions 2018 “Create Tomorrow” panel.

Image for post
Image for post

THENEXTGAG: WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE 2018 BATCH OF FUTURE LIONS ?

MICHELLE LASSMAN: The ideas were inspiring. The challenge remained the same– to connect an audience to a product or service in a way that wasn’t possible three years ago. The students need to use new technologies, not just because they are available, but through a meaningful application that’s relevant to the brand the idea is built for. This year, the majority of ideas tackled real world challenges– a testament to where students’ minds and hearts are.

TNG: HOW ARE YOU INVOLVED WITH THE FUTURE LIONS ?

ML: I have been on the judging committee for several years. And this year, I had the honor of presenting the awards to the winners on stage at Cannes.

TNG: HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN ON THE JUDGING COMMITTEE ?
ML:
Four years.

TNG: WHEN DID THE PROGRAM START ?
ML:
We started this competition thirteen years ago.

TNG: DO YOU THINK IT IS SOMETHING THAT AKQA WILL KEEP ON DOING NEXT YEAR AND THE YEARS AFTER THAT ?

ML: Absolutely. It is an opportunity to shine a spotlight on top emerging talent. We’ve gained incredible momentum, with 2018 being our biggest year yet, and therefore, our most competitive year. We had a record breaking 2,290 participants, making it a remarkable platform for students to test their talents against their peers on a global scale. And at this scale, it is the largest creative competition for students. We had entries from 386 schools, across 55 countries. Since its inception we’ve awarded 88 winners, 99% of whom have been hired by some of the best and most respected companies and agencies in the world. And apparently the 1% is pursuing his dream as a farmer.

TNG: 13 YEARS AGO IT WAS DOABLE AND POSSIBLE FOR A STUDENT TO COME UP WITH A TECH IDEA. BUT RIGHT NOW WITH MACHINE LEARNING AND AI, IT IS GOING TO BE REALLY DIFFICULT FOR THEM TO PROTOTYPE THEIR IDEAS. WILL THAT HINDER THE COMPETITION OR NOT ?

ML: You’d be amazed at the skills and imagination the students use to bring their ideas to life. Some of them are prototyping, and if they aren’t, they create mockups to simulate their intent.

TNG: BUT AT THE SAME TIME WITH MACHINE LEARNING AND AI, YOU DON’T REALLY KNOW WHAT YOU ARE GOING TO GET. SO IT IS A BIT DIFFICULT TO PREDICT THE OUTCOME.

ML: Yes, it is, but they can still tell their story in a way that showcases their idea through a simulated version of what the actual experience would ultimately be.

TNG: HOW DOES THE STUDIO IN SAN FRANCISCO COMPARE WITH THE OTHER LOCATIONS ?

ML: San Francisco has a very diverse roster of clients. And for each of those clients, we deliver something different– from products and services to retail innovation and campaigns, to name a few. Because we are next door to Silicon Valley, we have the opportunity to work with some of the most progressive companies in the world.

Michelle Lassman

AKQA San Francisco

Group Creative Director

Linkedin

TheNextGag offers ad professionals an up-to-date calendar showing upcoming deadlines of the major global ad awards competitions and rankings of campaigns, brands, agencies and creatives in a beautiful mobile site.

thenextgag.com

TheNextGag | Obsessed with Creative Advertising

TheNextGag Interviews

Each week, a new interview with a talented professional…

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store