The Adcraft Club of Detroit is the catalyst that brings together the city’s advertising and marketing communications community, and each year, its D Council recognizes the outstanding work that was created over the past year at an annual award show and party, called the D Show. The Council just held its 9th annual celebration, and our very own Jeff Cruz, Associate Partner, Executive Creative Director was named the new D Council chairman. We sat down with him to learn more about his role within the organization.
Q: Tell us a little more about the D Show and what it means to you?
A: The D Show is one of those nights you look forward to every year. Sometimes you can get so caught up in creating the work, it’s nice to just take a breath, grab a drink and see what the amazing creative people in Detroit are capable of. Honestly, it’s also one big party and it’s a great chance to catch up and hang out with great friends and colleagues.
Q: What makes the Detroit ad industry special compared to the rest of the nation?
A: I’ll be the first to admit there are great advertising communities everywhere, including Chicago and New York, which are home to our other VSA offices. But there’s something about Detroit—we’ve got this chip on our shoulder—that we can’t let anyone out-hustle or out-create us. We just want to make great work for our clients, our city and, really, for ourselves. We won’t let anything get in the way of that.
Q: Who were some D Show winners this year that you found exciting?
A: The Best of Show winner—the Enough SAID (End Sexual Assault in Detroit) brochure created for the Michigan Women’s Foundation by Brogan & Partners. It definitely lived up to that title. For a print piece to take that honor over TV or a big integrated campaign is pretty telling about how powerful a simple idea can be.
Fiat’s “Blue Pill” took the local journalists’ Joe Award, which made me smile. It’s good to see that something fun and sexy can be honored like that.
Q: You’ve recently been appointed the new chairman for The D Council—Congrats! Tell us a bit about accepting that honor, along with any big plans you might have.
A: It really is an honor. There are a lot of talented, heavy-hitter creatives in this town, and to have the Detroit community trust me to help lead the charge and continue the success of the D Show is rather humbling.
As for my big plans—don’t screw it up. People are saying that this year’s D Show was the best one yet, and I want to continue all the momentum created by my chairman predecessors, including Brian Yessian of Yessian Music, who just passed the baton to me.
Q: The G Show is a huge fundraiser celebrating the talent and life of George Katsarelas, and has become the official afterparty (of sorts) for The D Show. Explain how and why you started The G Show?
A: George had a huge impact on my life, as he did for everyone else he encountered. He was a talented, creative leader, mentor, friend and a super-funny, all-around great guy. I miss him every day.
When he passed, I wanted to honor his legacy, so I helped create a memorial scholarship in his name at his alma mater, Michigan State. George’s scholarship helps the next generation of creatives pursue a successful career in the advertising business. Through the amazing generosity of our sponsors and ticket sales, the G Show fundraiser helps the scholarship rewards become even bigger. This year, we set a new record in fundraising.
Q: If someone wants to get involved with The D Council or The D Show, where should they go?
A: If there are more folks in Detroit who want to help us make the D Show great, please tell them to give me a call or drop me an email. The more the merrier.