What’s A Creative Culturalist?

With my first week at Y&R now in the books, the question most frequently asked (by both friends and new colleagues) was, “What is a Creative Culturalist?” It’s a fair question. I suppose I could answer with a mobius strip-type response, explaining that it’s not a job with a clearly defined job description, just as culture today is hard to easily define or categorize; and it is that very element of cultural ambiguity that lead to the creation of the Creative Culturalist role in the first place.

Several people have suggested that my role is similar to that of a planner, and I agree. It definitely has some of that to it. I know a lot of planners, have had that as part of my job descriptions in the past, and have a lot of respect for the role. I hope that my ideas are informed by and relevant to the work of the planners at Y&R.

Where my role diverges from the planners will be the work I do on behalf of the agency in addition to that of our clients. I hope to bring the culture of Y&R to the world, helping to shape the agency’s voice and the way in which we communicate with our industry and the public at large. The flip side of that will be bringing elements of culture into the agency through my filter.

But sometimes rather than talk about things, it’s better to describe it with something more visual. And so I was able to work with Bumhan Yu, one of the talented people at The Madison Group, part of the Y&R Brands network, to create this infographic. Because the role of Creative Culturalist, or any of the new hybrid positions popping up at agencies right now, is defined as much by the person in the role as the role itself, this visual definition is part job description, part bio. ¬†We wanted to have a little fun with it too, so this isn’t exactly gospel here. I hope you like it and I welcome your comments.


  • Anonymous

    Hi Rick,
    Congratulations on the new role and I’m finally getting a chance to respond to this. The interesting part about your title and those that are similar (creative technologist for example or integrated creative director) is how the industry is realizing that due to the demand of *transmedia* solutions, you need individuals who can inspire others to think along those lines. The roles are certainly no longer exclusive to one previous job path and the mixture of social, digital and physical media has pushed agencies to rethink the criteria of a candidate. Certainly by having someone who is looking at culture from so many vantage points is extremely valuable. However, the key to all of this is the companies actual commitment to recognizing and paving a way for such individuals as yourself and listening to what you have to say. Without that support, the road will be very challenging to implement both your perspective and value. Hopefully for you this won’t be the case and keep us posted on your progress.

  • Pingback: Plannersphere20()

  • Pingback: joe gerstandt()

  • Pingback: Tim F. Andresen()

  • Pingback: Rick Liebling()

  • Pingback: Chang Hyun Choi()

  • Pingback: Rick Liebling()

  • Pingback: Jamie Parfitt()