CEO, Chief Creative Officer, Siltanen & Partners
A proven business game changer and a brand turnaround artist, Rob’s insightful and engaging advertising campaigns have played a pivotal role in positioning and changing the fortunes of several of the world’s most noted companies.
Early in his career, Rob worked as a copywriter at TBWA/Chiat/Day, Los Angeles. In 1990, at the age of 26 he was made the youngest creative director in the agency’s history and at the age of 32 was named managing partner of the West Coast’s largest agency. As Creative Director at Chiat/Day, Rob guided the Nissan business for nine years while also creating famous ad campaigns for Apple, Levi’s, Infiniti and the International Olympic Committee.
Rob’s engaging and perception-changing Nissan work dramatically elevated the brand’s reputation for quality and quickly helped the company reverse a three-year sales slide. With his help, Nissan outsold Honda in the U.S. for three straight years. Prior to that, Nissan hadn’t outsold Honda in America even for a single month. His launch campaign for the original Nissan Altima helped the car become the best selling new model nameplate in automotive history and that year was named one of the three best car campaigns in the world by Advertising Age. Today the Altima is Nissan’s best selling car of all-time. He also launched the original Nissan Xterra, which became the best selling SUV in Nissan’s history and won the Grand Effie award for the most effective advertising campaign in America. Rob’s Nissan commercial titled “Toys”—featuring a remote control 300ZX car being taken for a joyride by a GI Joe and Barbie doll—was named Commercial of the Year by Time, Rolling Stone, USA Today and Adweek. The commercial consistently ranks among the five best car commercials of all-time.
In 1997, Rob spearheaded the legendary Apple “Think Different” campaign and wrote the Emmy Award winning “To the crazy ones” commercial. That campaign helped Apple achieve one of the most spectacular business turnarounds of the past century and is frequently listed as one of the top campaigns in advertising history. While at Chiat/Day, Rob also won the Gold Clio award for the best commercial in fashion for Levi’s. And his ad campaign for the International Olympic Committee for the Sydney Games, helped yield the most sponsorship dollars and the highest worldwide viewership in Olympic history.
In 1999, at the start of the digital revolution, Rob founded Siltanen & Partners with the belief that the marketing landscape would dramatically change as advertising would soon converge with technology and the entertainment industry in all new ways. He believed this meant smaller, tech-savvy, production minded creative agencies who could quickly come up with big business changing ideas would be able to outmaneuver the larger, slower and red tape strapped holding company agencies.
One of Rob and S&P’s first campaigns (featuring a wise-cracking talking baby for a dot.com client) became an internet and television sensation and was so popular that Rob pitched the idea of turning the ad campaign into a sitcom to Leslie Moonves the CEO of CBS. The pilot scored well and was turned into a prime time television show. Rob served as co-executive producer during the show’s two-year run. The show’s debut episode was the second highest rated show in America.
Throughout its 17-year history, the agency has consistently worked its magic in turning around and turbo charging a wide host of brands. In 2007, Rob’s agency won a six-month project from Hyundai and masterminded the first successful image overhaul in the company’s history. Long regarded as the poster child for tin-can transportation, Rob’s agency was the first ad agency able to obliterate Hyundai’s prior image problems and immediately skyrocketed the brand’s quality scores. Despite no new models in its line up and no special incentives on its vehicles, Rob and his agency were able to provide Hyundai with its biggest sales quarter in history and set the course to be one of the more respected brands in the auto industry today.
In 2008, Rob’s agency won the Panda Express account and guided the Asian restaurant chain to record success for six straight years. During the three years of the great recession, when the rest of restaurant industry saw sales go flat, S&P’s creativity and unorthodox tactics helped Panda beat the industry in same store sales growth by 600%—with no increase in media spending or marketing budget.
Over the past five years Rob and his agency have continued to take brands to new heights. His and his team’s work for Coldwell Banker has ranked as the #1 most effective television commercials and video content for any real estate company for five years in a row according to Ace Metrix. They’ve also helped increase Coldwell Banker’s sales volume by over 35% since winning the business.
One of Rob and his agency’s greatest success stories is that of Skechers. In 2012, the agency helped jump start the company by naming, branding and launching Skechers Performance Division and overseeing the advertising for a variety of its other shoe lines. In five years, S&P has helped Skechers triple sales and double profits. Last year Skechers outsold Adidas and was second only to Nike in total U.S. athletic shoe sales. This success helped Skechers be named an Ad Age Top Ten Marketer of the Year. Rob and his team’s 2012 Super Bowl spot for Skechers ranked as the number one most recalled spot and the number three most liked spot on the game. The agency’s commercials rank as the number one and number two most effective athletic shoe commercials ever tested by Ace Metrix.
He has appeared on a variety of television shows to talk about his innovative style of advertising including Good Morning America and Oprah.
Rob will be sharing how brands can create disruptive campaigns at the 2017 Un-Conference.