Today we profile CCO of Havas and photographer Jason M. Peterson.
I grew up in Phoenix Arizona, where I played in punk and hardcore bands and started taking photos, and my career in advertising started at the recommendation of a high school guidance counselor.
I graduated from the University of Arizona at 21 and Andy Berlin hired me as Head of Art for Volkswagen. At 27 I became a Founding Partner and Executive Creative Director at Berlin Cameron, where I created the original campaign for Boost Mobile with Kanye West (early in his career), as well as working on the landmark NBA Campaign with Bill Murray. We also stole the Coca-Cola account from McCann-Erickson, who had had it since World War II—for Coca-Cola I worked on a campaign with Muhammad Ali, as well as a commercial campaign directed by David Fincher and starring Courtney Cox and Penelope Cruz, among other things.
After selling Berlin Cameron, I was recruited by Jay-Z and Steve Stoute to be the President and Executive Creative Director at Translation, the marketing agency they founded, where I worked on campaigns for State Farm (the landmark “Can I Get a Hot Tub” campaign), McDonald’s (including the McDonald’s Super Bowl Spot Featuring Lebron James and Dwight Howard) and Target.
Now I’m headquartered in Chicago as Chief Creative Officer for North America of Havas Worldwide, running the Chicago office. Because social media was this growing advertising channel then, I wanted to know and master it beyond anyone else in advertising. All our clients want to do is talk about Instagram, so I focused my passion and talent for photography on dominating personal channels, Instagram, Tumblr, and Twitter (@JasonMPeterson on all).
I like to stick to a specific aesthetic for my Instagram: monochromatic, with lots of aerial photography—usually showcasing Chicago and other urban centers. Black-and-white because it takes time out of the equation. I can shoot a great black-and-white image today and you wouldn’t know whether it was last week or 20 years ago. I’m always inspired by the photos Stanley Kubrick took of Chicago. Harry Callahan and Hiroshi Sugimoto’s work is also important to me.
I love shooting Chicago from the sky, and I recently brought a few members of Soho House Chicago up in a helicopter to teach them how to shoot the skyline with their phones. I shoot with both an iPhone and a Leica Q—my work actually caught Leica’s attention so they sponsored me and used my photographs for the launch of the Q.
My Instagram (@JasonMPeterson) has over half a million followers and has lead to opportunities (such as a short collaboration) with PacSun, shooting for Dom Perignon in Iceland, the Chicago Bulls, and ESPN. And last CES, Instagram hosted me as a featured speaker to top marketing executives in order to help explain Instagram as a branding tool for individuals and companies.
In terms of style, my iPhone, Leica, and Polaroid Brightsaber (an LED lighting wand) are really my most important accessories. And clothing-wise it’s pretty much Jordan’s and all-Supreme-everything with a little bit of punk-rock edge. It’s about simple but curated style.
As for my personal style:
Jeans: Supreme Rigid Denim
I think I have 20 pairs in various levels of fade, and I throw them out when they get too light or too beat up.
To me the V neck is classic, simple, and understated. The Jack Spade plaids are a little bit more unique than the average J. Crew plaid. I’ve worn Seize Sur Vingt since they first opened on Elizabeth Street, and I love the simplicity combined with the attention to detail in terms of fabric and cut.
Pants: Supreme Chinos
Suits: Tom Ford
I’d wear Thom Browne but I’m 6’4″ and Tom Ford accommodates my build. His suits are timeless.
Shoes: Jordan 3’s
I got my first pair of Jordans when I was 18—I had just gotten out of high school. I’ve been hooked since then.
It’s waterproof and the capacity is amazing. It works as everything from a day-to-day bag to a two-day travel bag.
I love SSur because the brand mirrors my background, coming from punk rock to street style and photography, they make shirts that reference Suicidal Tendencies or Misfits, so it’s a cultural fit for me. The Moncler is just an amazing jacket, and it saved my life in Iceland.
Favorite Cologne: Hermes
Tea Tree. I use the deodorant and shampoo as well.
I’m obsessed with Waze because social influence when it comes to utilities really interests me. It’s a completely different platform, which influences a completely different audience than Instagram. Steller is a new story-sharing app where you can share a portfolio of images at once. I shot ASAP Rocky at Lollapalooza and it was great to be able to share 20-something photos at once.
The brightsaber looks like a lightsaber, but it has 5000 LED lights inside. It’s great for backlighting people at night.
The SL is Leica’s new mirror-less camera. It’s the only serious Leica with autofocus, which I think will make it great for sports and music photography.