*A co-creator of content across a variety of media platforms, Sheldon Levy is a longtime innovator in the advertising community, responsible for creating ad campaigns that generate powerful connections between consumers and a long list of well-known brands.
As the executive vice president and deputy director for broadcast production at the global creative powerhouse Saatchi & Saatchi (whose list of Fortune 100 clients includes Proctor & Gamble, General Mills and Novartis), Levy is an established player in the ad industry, who’s also deeply committed to developing the next generation of advertising thoroughbreds.
Robertson Treatment recently caught up with the advertising pioneer to talk about his long career and the special projects close to his heart.
The It Factor
A 30-year advertising veteran, Levy travels the world as an executive producer and administrator for Saatchi & Saatchi, hiring, training and mentoring the next generation of players in the creative industry. “I’m a big believer in changing the vocabulary of diversity within advertising,” says Levy. “The industry is experiencing a great deal of growth right now because of advances in technology, and I feel it’s important that we venture into this new stream of traffic with a diverse mix of talent who reflect the world that we live in, and also create campaigns that are competitive and comprehensive.”
“The technology advances over the last five years has literally changed the creative face of advertising,” Levy continues. “Every year, we are getting new tools that are making our jobs easier—allowing us to integrate audio and video with a nimbleness and flexibility like never before. These exciting new opportunities ultimately allow us to deliver our final product a lot quicker to the marketplace. The challenge right now is how to create intimacy with our audience and deliver messages to them that are really relevant to their lives.”
Creating Transcendent Impressions
In an increasingly global economy, Levy stresses that next gen advertisers must be prepared to create brand ideas that “hit” their target audiences more intimately, as well as resonate with multicultural audiences on an international scale. “The creative community is going to have to create messages that jump off the screen and grab the consumer by the collar,” he says. “They are also going to have to learn how to effectively prepare global campaigns that transcend language and culture for worldwide audiences.”
Advice to Next Gen Filmmakers
Levy is heavily involved in a number of programs that identify and train the next gen professionals, such as the New Directors Showcase, hosted annually by Saatchi & Saatchi during the Cannes Ad Festival. He’s also a longtime supporter of the innovative Streetlights job training/placement program, and the annual Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival. “Having the right kind of access and support are useful resources anytime during your career, but especially at the beginning,” he says. “Competition for jobs and opportunities are now global. So individuals entering the creative field must strive for greater vision and ingenuity than ever before.”
AUTOMOTIVE SPIN – 2014
2014 Altima 2.5 SV
After taking a red-eye into Atlanta, it was refreshing to find a 2014 Altima waiting for me at the airport. Famous for its roomy interior and solid performance, I confidently settled behind the wheel to begin what would be a busy week in the greater Atlanta area.
Wow Factor: The new Altima earns wow marks for being a reliable ride that good economy. Its upgraded safety and infotainment features are other “big plus” features that will appeal to drivers.
Ride: Powered by a 2.5-liter, 16-valve 4-cylinder engine the Altima 2.5 SV performs well in city and highway road conditions. It’s supported well by its Xtronic CVT (Continuous Variable Transmission) and Active Understeer Control, which are both highly responsive and add to its overall performance.
Comfort: This ride’s spacious interior is well complimented by its generous interior storage spaces. Other added interior features include: a rearview camera and satellite radio, plus a more accessible [and advance] Bluetooth system, USB ports and Driver Assist Display that amplify the driving experience.
Spin Control: With its clean, good looks and accessible interior features, the Altima 2.5 SC will appeal to a variety of demos. Add to that its competitive price (MSRP: $24,180.00) and solid fuel economy (27 city/38 hwy.), and I predict this ride will earn “favored” driver status for a job well done.
Gil Robertson IV is an award-winning journalist, bestselling author and president of the African-American Film Critics Association.