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Interview with Creative Director of Propaganda Champ

May 2, 2011  
Filed under Profiles / Interviews

By Annie Suh | Photos by Akili Shine for Propaganda Champ —

gheren vitte

Apple. Swoosh. “I’m lovin’ it.” If you instantly thought of Mac, Nike and Mc Donald’s upon reading those words, enough said about how powerful marketing can be. While the message itself is important, the way the message is presented is even weightier because it has the ability to make an audience respond, think and act.

We got a chance to speak with creative director of Propaganda Champ, Gheren Vitte, about his thoughts on marketing, and about their latest project on recreating the Civil Rights Movement. “Freedom Starts with Me” launched on April 4th and is a powerful multimedia tool that began as an extension to Black History Month. The purpose of the project is, in their words: “to dutifully acknowledge the sacrifices and productive energies of our forebears, for they laid the foundation on which we proudly stand.”

freedom campaignCM: What is your role at Propaganda Champ?

GV: Creative Director for brand strategy.

CM: Could you briefly explain what the Civil Rights photo project is and how it came about?

GV: We like to take on different challenges and stimulate conversation….and recreated a Civil Rights photo shoot with 30 people. It was a collective conversation at one of our meetings right after black history month. (Visit to view the complete project.)

CM: How do you come up with marketing ideas?

GV: Knowing and seeing what’s going on in the world and taking a critical look at everything—when I hear a song, when I watch something on TV or when I see what somebody’s wearing. There’s always something that triggers an idea for a concept or event….Having an open mind and being focused on what’s out there and what other people might like and want to see.

CM: What is your passion?

GV: I think my passion is trying to make people enjoy life and have a positive outlook no matter what.

CM: How do you define marketing?

GV: The way you present your product, service or idea to people—moving people to an action you want them to participate in.

CM: Is there any ad or commercial you’ve seen that was striking to you or that you keep in mind all the time?

GV: Lately I would say one of the ones that stands out right now is the whole Nike Boom campaign…And I think all the insurance commercials are really funny, light and very entertaining. When you’re talking to consumers, that’s what you need to do. Being in a marketing background, I kinda look for that stuff…I’m not looking at it as “do I wanna go buy this?”

CM: Do you have any favorite TV shows?

GV: My favorite TV show is Entourage…Every character has different battles and struggles and successes…all at different levels…which I can relate to. I also watch Grey’s Anatomy sometimes, but I don’t get to watch too much TV.

CM: Is there anyone you look up to?

GV: Definitely, of course, my mom…and celebrity-wise: Paul Robeson. He was so dynamic and he was involved with so many different things…his struggles, what he accomplished and all that.

CM: Do you have a motto or inspirational quote you live by?

GV: I have a poem that I keep in my mind at all times. One of them is “If” by Rudyard Kipling and “The Test of a Man” [unknown author].  I know them by heart.

CM: Do you feel like you’re living your dream now or do you have a list of things you want to accomplish?

GV: I think I am. All the stuff that I’m doing is all the stuff that I want to do and enjoy doing. It’s a lot of work but…sometimes I’ll pick up another type of work and balance it out with the personal stuff I like to do.

CM: Is there any important virtue you value among others?

GV: I would definitely say balance is something to keep at the forefront of everything. With balance, you get patience and peace, which are very important.

CM: How do you stay grounded with all the stress and challenges?

GV: Just knowing that I’m blessed and that all the people and experiences I’ve had are gifts. And knowing that at any point anything could change and it could be a lot worse. I know that whatever our struggles are, everybody else in the world has struggles. I can’t think that mine are any more difficult. We’re all on our own path.

CM: Any advice or marketing tips for readers?

GV: Stay true to your goals and dreams and not to forget those no matter what. Lots of times in business, people can’t reach that because of shady business, poor attitude or other things like that. So I’d say: stay true to yourself, stay balanced and never give up. And once you have your goals and your dreams, if you have to work another job to support your dreams, do that. But never pull the plug.

CM: What’s playing on your iPod?

GV: Right now my favorite musician is The Roots. It makes sense with what’s going on, my goals and how I feel.

CM: What’s your news source and what magazine do you subscribe to, if any?

GV: I subscribe to Men’s Health. I think it’s a really great magazine. And on the Web, there are about a hundred sites I read in the morning, daily, like somebody reading the newspaper.

Visit Propaganda Champ to see more of what they’re up to.

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