Student Union Building
PO Box 444264
Moscow, ID 83844-4264
1031 N. Academic Way,
Coeur d'Alene, ID 83814
A friendship leads to national ad campaigns
Written by Steve Hanna
He stands with a slight slouch, relaxed, leaning his weight on his left foot. Hand in pocket with the thumb out, Brett Craig ’95, stands tall in a sky-blue button-up shirt, dark hair messed with gel, looking chill in stylish sneakers. His friend Victor Camozzi ’95 stands next to him twirling a water bottle, as he talks to five University of Idaho students after a presentation.
It’s not immediately apparent that these two have designed Super Bowl commercials featuring the likes of Bob Dylan and Will.I.Am, and national ad campaigns for Southwest Airlines, but this advertising duo of best friends has the hip looks and relaxed manner to show for it.
Victor is telling the students about how he stays up working until 2 a.m. on a regular basis at his job as a creative director in Austin, Texas.
“You’re a mole,” Brett says.
Victor laughs. “You’re right.”
They look at each other and grin.
The two go back 15 years to when they met in 1994 in an advertising class at Idaho.
“We both sort of spotted each other across the room,” Brett says. “It was a kindred spirits sort of thing. Then the next year we ended up living in apartments next to each other.”
They were both on the University’s advertising team that placed second in the nation in 1995 when they created an advertising campaign for the Dodge Neon. They worked as creative writers and editors on the project, which is exactly what they eventually found themselves doing after graduation.
Brett is a creative director in Los Angeles for TBWA\Chiat\Day, one of the largest advertising firms in the country. He did the design, production, and voiceover for a Pepsi commercial shown during the 2009 Super Bowl to an estimated 95.4 million viewers. See the ad at here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7T_IpCVf3cA
Victor works as a creative director for the firm GSD&M, and was responsible for developing Southwest Airlines’ “Wanna Get Away?” TV commercials with the famous tagline, “You are now free to move about the country.” He also works as a creative director for AT&T.
As creative directors, they manage a staff of writers, artists and designers, who produce and develop ads ranging from TV commercials to magazine spots and online marketing. They help nurture, implement and revise their creative staff’s ideas, and Victor says, “it’s our job to show them how to make their work better.”
On the business end, Brett says it is their job to package and sell the advertisements to clients. While they don’t usually work with clients directly, they often sit in on business meetings with the executives of their firms.
“In our business,” Victor says, “you go your own way and do your own thing.”
While independence is the norm in the advertising business, Brett is quick to add, “we don’t do any of it totally ourselves. I give Victor a lot of credit for everything I’ve gotten to do. He was so motivating coming out of school and it rubbed off on me.”
During their time at Idaho, they spent a lot of time bouncing ideas off each other while working on projects. They also took classes from Mark Secrist, associate professor of journalism and mass media, who designed the highly successful advertising program. Secrist also was a mentor for the budding executives, and coached their advertising team to the national competition.
At nationals, Brett and Victor solidified a connection that continues today.
“We’re still best friends,” says Victor, “and we still get together when we’re on productions.”
“At Idaho, we were both kids trying to figure out life,” Brett says. “It’s the same thing now. We just drove down from
Spokane [to visit campus] and we’re still talking about the different challenges along the way. Having one of your best friends do exactly what you do for a living is really cool because you can talk about your careers and relate on so many levels.”
Victor looks over at Brett and sums up their relationship in easy terms. “The friends you make, it’s the biggest thing.”