Court Crandall

Co-creative director

Ground Zero Advertising

Age: 31

Starting from … well … ground zero just three years ago, an obscure little ad agency in Santa Monica is emerging as one of the hottest new players in the business.

Who are these guys, anyway? That’s a question heard with increasing frequency at major ad awards presentations this year, as Ground Zero walks away with some of the most prestigious honors in the industry.

The creative team of Court Crandall and Kirk Souder met while working at now-defunct Stein Robaire Helm, and set out on their own in 1994 along with former Lord, Dentsu & Partners chief Jim Smith.

Together, they have developed groundbreaking spots for such clients as video game developer SegaSoft, ESPN2, Yamaha jet skis, Diamond Back mountain bikes and Michael Jordan cologne.

Frequently pigeonholed as a Generation X agency because of the nature of its clients, Ground Zero likes to think of itself more as a place for outside-the-box thinking than a shop skilled at targeting young audiences.

“I think we’re more unconventional than young,” Crandall said.

A journalism major in college, Crandall worked briefly as a newspaper sports writer before following in his father’s footsteps and switching over to the advertising business at the age of 24.

With a name like Court, perhaps it’s no surprise that Crandall gave his son, now a toddler, an equally unusual name Chase.

Dan Turner

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