When his friends asked advertising exec Whit Friese in 2009 to produce a TV show based on his career at Chicago-based ad company Leo Burnett Worldwide, Friese figured that he couldn’t pass up the opportunity.
“The most interesting part was to be part of a show that was purely creative all day,” Friese said of working on TNT drama “Trust Me.”
But when the cable channel did not renew the program for a second season, Friese, who worked as a producer on the show, was forced to look for a new job. That’s when he found brand strategy and design company Troika Design Group in Hollywood.
As creative director, Friese has found avenues for utilizing his 17 years of advertising experience to help clients develop and market their companies.
“Troika does a very good job of really thinking about the brand strategy or creative strategy, but they’re not very well known for that,” he said. “I’m here to let our current clients know that we can do that for them.”
His first project at Troika is the launch of a children’s network called the Hub. When Hasbro Toys and Discovery Kids came to the firm with an idea for the joint-television venture, Friese stepped in to advise them on developing their overall strategy, and create a logo and design.
“We’re starting to design what the channel looks like, what you’re going to see on the air,” he said of the ongoing project. “How will we market that? What will the channel look like to the outside world?”
Friese credits his father for introducing him to advertising while in high school. He would go on to earn a degree in advertising from Pennsylvania State University in the late 1980s.
“I knew that being a creative director was what I wanted to do,” he said. “I was lucky to start at Leo Burnett as an art director and love it.”
Friese, 42, lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their two children in Hancock Park. When he’s not at the office, he helps his wife market her children’s clothing line and enjoys fly-fishing.
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