Getting to Know Nathan Phillips

Nathan Phillips is the hilarious new associate creative director at Draftfcb New York. Check out the inner workings of his mind.

Are you an Ad Man or a comedian?
Being a professional creative person is like building chairs for a living. It doesn’t matter if you build retro-chic vintag-ey kitchen chairs or faux-Louis XIV settees. All that matters is that you’re proud of your work and someone pays you for it. My business card says “Ballerino,” does that help?
 
Does the comedy in your work come naturally? How essential is it?
Steve Martin says he keeps a slice of bologna in each shoe so he always feels funny. I think for most people, myself included, it’s all about what the brief calls for. But, sometimes comedy can work great in unexpected places. I try to look for those places, because they can also be great for naps between meetings.

What have been your favorite campaigns to work on? Why?
Obama was definitely a big one. It was great being part of a movement that actually affected people. Which is why I’m dying to work on Spanx.

Manfear scares me. Tell us about it.
Manfear began when I turned 30 and started waking up at 5 a.m. freaking out that I was getting old. Like realizing I had kept my bike helmet on for the entire duration of a visit to Home Depot. It has led to a lot of cool projects based on the idea that when you really think about the things that scare you they’re usually pretty funny.

What are the top learnings/insights you’ve gathered from your experiences?
Coming up with good ideas is easy, keeping them that way is hard.

What is your creative muse?
The visionary life and music of Prince.

Your creative contributions to museums around the country are extremely varied. How did you get started and what are some of your favorite work?
I worked on all of them with a Creative Technologist named Brian House. My favorite was a miniature golf course we created through the Museum of Contemporary Art in L.A. The balls had RFID chips connected to your phone so there were little interactive experiences every time you sunk a golf ball.

Biggest heartbreak?
My lactose intolerance.

Why Draftfcb?
 Javi, my partner Alvaro Rivera and Koreatown.

Name five absolute must haves if stranded on a deserted island.
A 3D printer, a melon baller (assuming there will be a lot of melons), my wife Victoria, my baby Louisiana and a conch shell so I’d know when it was my turn to speak.

Define a successful campaign.
It totally depends on what we’re setting out to achieve. But, if it can change the way someone behaves, I’d consider that successful. Or if someone makes a shlocky YouTube parody of your work. Either of those two things.

You did not perform with Penn & Teller on the Vegas strip.
A while back, I wrote and performed a show in Las Vegas, it was for a pretty conservative brand and we ended up getting all sorts of amazing Broadway and Vegas talent to cameo in it.

I also saw Liza Minelli perform and let me tell you, she’s still got it.

What do you have in store for Draftfcb?
Not much until I figure out how to expense things.