photo credit: Finley MacDonald (age 5)

photo credit: Finley MacDonald (age 5)

Matt MacDonald is trying to make advertising people don't hate.

Matt MacDonald is a creative director, writer and speaker whose work nestles right there in that sweet spot where culture, technology, entertainment and advertising meet. He's written award-winning campaigns for brands like AT&T, Macy's, JetBlue, Smirnoff and Ford, created reality shows for TLC and MTV, an animated prime-time Christmas special for CBS, documentaries for the film festival circuit and one open-source grade school musical.

In 2014, BBDO tapped Matt to lead creative on AT&T, their largest account in America, managing integrated, cross-agency teams in New York, Los Angeles, Dallas and Atlanta. In 2016, Matt led the creative charge for Omnicom's win of AT&T's $2 billion combined media and creative business — a two-month race to not just deliver new ideas, but also a re-invented agency model where creative, media, and data join forces for better, sharper, more innovative work.

Prior to BBDO, Matt was instrumental in the creative transformation of JWT New York, joining that agency as a junior writer in 2003, rising to Chief Creative Officer in 2012. Along the way, he helped lead that agency to its best award show performance in more than a decade. Matt and his teams have won every major industry award across disciplines multiple times, including Cannes Gold Lions in Film, Branded Content, Digital and Mobile. 

He holds degrees from Bradley University and the University of Texas at Austin. Lives in a ramshackle midcentury modern undergoing permanent reno in Connecticut. And spends the rest of his time doting on his wife, Jillian, and four kids, Alexandra, Finley, Milo and Tobias (aka the Junior Clients.)

Awards & Recognition

Matt has received top awards from every major creative and effectiveness competition in the industry, including Best of Show at AICP, the Addys, and the Mashable Awards,  multiple Golds and a Titanium Lion at Cannes, pencils from D&AD and the One Show, Grand Prixs from the Ciclope Festival and Internationalist Awards, the 2016 YouTube Ad of the Year, and, his personal favorite, the Golden Award of Montreaux.

Matt has served on juries for D&AD, the London International Awards, NY Festivals, AICP, the Advertising & Design Club of Canada, the Effies, and the Snackable Awards.

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EVP, Group Executive Creative Director, 1/2014 - Present

Overseeing all creative on AT&T for Omnicom's combined BBDO & Hearts & Science team. Brand responsibilities include the AT&T Entertainment Group, DirecTV, AT&T Fiber, AT&T Business Solutions and Corporate. Managing a multi-disciplinary team of creatives, including specialist design and social units, across New York, Atlanta, and Dallas. 

I also lead BBDO's pro bono work for two non-profits—Autism Speaks and Theirworld — a United Nations-backed NGO dedicated to fighting the global education crisis. 

Chief Creative Officer, 2012 - 2013
Executive Creative Director, 2010 - 2011
Creative Director, 2007 - 2009
Copywriter, 2003 -2006

Started as a copywriter on Visine. Ended up running the creative department. Managed about 100+ permanent and freelance creatives, usually by breathing deeply and counting to ten a lot. Account experience: Macy's, Smirnoff, Smirnoff Ice, Jose Cuervo, Tanqueray, Ford, Rolex, JetBlue, L.L.Bean, DeBeers, T. Rowe Price, Merrill Lynch, Berocca, Tylenol, BAND-AID, Litter Genie, Schick, and Nestle.

Led successful new business pitches on Macy's, Tylenol, L.L.Bean, among others. Named to JWT's High Potential Program in 2006. Served on JWT's Global Creative Council.

Bates NY
Copywriter, 2002

Account experience: Cadbury Adams, T.Rowe Price, Pfizer Consumer Healthcare, Whitney Museum of American Art, CVS Pharmacy, the AdCouncil.

Moss Advertising
Copywriter / Producer, 1998 - 1999

Made some epic local car dealership commercials, which was way more fun than it sounds.


The University of Texas at Austin
M.A., Advertising, 2001

As a Graduate Teaching Assistant, taught undergraduate creative labs for the introductory advertising course. As a research assistant to Professor Neal Burns, won a grant from NASA to develop long-term communication strategies for a human mission to Mars. On weekends, coached the UT Speech Team, helping that squad take the national championship in 2001.

Bradley University
B.S., Advertising, 1998

Competed four years on the Bradley Speech Team, winning over 200 individual speaking awards, four team national championships, and personally taking 2nd at nationals a ridiculous three times. Elected team President senior year. Inducted into the National Forensic Association Hall of Fame in 2001.


"The Magic of Macy's: From Retail Brand to Entertainment Brand"
NATPE Brand Innovation Summit, September 2011

"Restoring a Pop Culture Icon"
BANFF World Media Festival, June 2012

"Can We Just Make Some F$%*ing Ads?"
Creative Week New York, May 2012

"The Advertising Funeral"
Advertising Week New York, October 2012

"Microsoft Creative Roundtable"
Creative Week New York, May 2013

"The Eight Hour Internship"
Creative Week New York, May 2013

"My Best Worst Idea" Advertising Week New York, September 2013

"Is Cross-Channel Planning Broken?"
Google Squared, September 2014

"The Death of Intuition in the Age of Big Data"
BMA Connect, September 2014

"Winning in Second"
Bradley University Leadership Conference, June 2015

"Stop Chasing Culture and Start Making It"
Advertising Week, iHeart Media Panel, September 2015

"That's Debatable!"
Advertising Week, Cog Debate Smackdown, September 2015