Creative agency Swift is thrilled to announce award-winning creative veteran Don Shelford as their new Executive Creative Director. Shelford will help steer the agency forward in delivering exceptional caliber creative work across all accounts, including Adidas, Google, Starbucks and Blue Apron.
Shelford comes to Swift with wide-ranging industry experience spanning campaigns for Nike, Levi’s, Volkswagen, Target, Coca-Cola, MailChimp, Electronic Arts and JPMorgan Chase. Shelford was most recently Group Creative Director for Droga5 for three years and previously worked for Wieden + Kennedy (Portland and Amsterdam offices), Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, Arnold Worldwide, and as a film director for HSI Productions and Caviar Content.
“Don has everything we were looking for in a creative leader: incredible experience, outstanding conceptual ability and an ease with building lasting relationships both internally and with clients,” says Liz Valentine, Swift CEO and co-founder. “As our new ECD, Don will help draw out the best in our creative team, embolden us to take more risks, and propel us into new territory.”
Shelford was attracted to Swift for its heavyweight client roster and deep expertise in social, a position that is critically important as new definitions and opportunities for brands continue to arise in all the spaces and platforms where people communicate and interact.
“More and more there are opportunities to stretch into so many different arenas. Social is no longer just a channel, it’s a behavior. And it’s one that marketers are putting more money into as they evolve how to connect with their audiences, whose expectations for brands are only increasing. Swift’s deep foundation in social is something I’m excited to build on, getting bold, extensive ideas into mediums beyond people’s phones. The bar for brands is so high, they have to be better and more original to stand apart from consumer creators, who all have so much technology in their hands,” Shelford says. “In turn, we’re seeing the standards for broadcast and experiential bleeding into social, and that’s exciting to me.”
He also notes the rapid pace of platform innovation, emerging technology and consumers’ ability to mold and evolve how people communicate with one another and with advertisers. “Every day there’s another innovation and a chance for us to leverage and subvert new features and functionality in a way that no one’s done before,” Shelford says. “We get to ask ourselves how far we can push the craft in these platforms and beyond.”
As a leader, Shelford shows his team a lot of trust and space to create, while demonstrating a refreshing openness to failure and being proved wrong. “I’ve been fortunate to work for some great ECDs who gave me room to try things. It’s important to remember that the work we do is not indelible so that we don’t limit our ideas and are unafraid to really go for it,” he says.
Shelford was recruited by Swift Chief Production Officer Marni Beardsley, who first started working with him at Wieden + Kennedy more than a decade ago. “Don looks at work from unexpected angles and sees endless creative possibilities in any situation,” she says. “Nothing scares him so he is relentless about furthering the work—which he does in the most positive, inspiring way. He has an uncanny ability to hone in on people’s undiscovered strengths, motivate them, and help them create their best work. I’m beyond thrilled to be working with him again.”