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Ep. 8: Michael Fanuele, Chief Creative Officer of General Mills

By Exact Media

“The people who I found to be most world-altering are those with the most preposterous ambitions.” — Michael Fanuele Our interview with Michael Fanuele was very entertaining, and brought a fresh perspective to the world of marketing and advertising. Michael’s creativity stems from his diverse background in politics, comedy and advertising, which gives him a unique ability to understand human behavior and emotions. Here are the three things I learned: - Before stand-up comedy, and before agency life, Michael’s career started in politics, working on Capitol Hill. While he was able to interact regularly with the Secretary of State, the Vice President… etc., he quickly realized that politics was not a place for him. At the time, he felt the main tool used to persuade others were exploiting their fears and insecurities. This self-awareness of what caused him stressed helped him quickly pivot his career in a more creative direction which led him to where he is today. - Agencies and Clients look at new ideas in vastly different ways. When you say an idea is ‘new’ or ‘different’ at an agency, it’s often considered a compliment. Michael found that now working on the client-side, these words often come with less excitement, and an increased burden of proof to prove these ideas will be effective. It’s been an emotional adjustment for him. - Michael is a true creative mind. He cracked the insight, while working for Unilever’s Laundry Business, that “Dirt is good”. It was a statement against their direct competitor — P&G — who at the time, focused on owning the messaging around ‘keeping clean’. This kernel of an idea eventually spread to a campaign that encouraged kids to go out and play with their parents, leveraging professional athletes and coaches to help moms and their kids go out and play. It shows the power of provocative ideas. 

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