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Michael Shirley Creative Director

About Me

Curiosity. It's what drives me. I love charting a path into the great unknown, the theoretical, the impossible. I love it when a project scares everyone, myself, the team, the client but we all decide to stand together and take the chance, hoping that with enough theory and hustle it will all work out— Because sometimes it does. And in that work, everyone grows. That's the foundation of my creative journey and it's taken me on a wild ride during my career. I think of myself as a hybrid creative director, beginning my career in the visually rewarding world of high design, then falling in love with all the technical possibilities of digital and then taking those talents into the strategic world of advertising. On that journey I've been lucky enough to help start small agencies from the ground up, lead large digital groups that grew into award-winning revenue sources, and ran global brands by setting the creative vision and strategy across interagency groups. I'm currently geeking out on what's next by tinkering in the Web3 space in my free time while serving as SVP, Creative Director on major brands at Leo Burnett Chicago.

Click here to view my resume on Linkedin.

Client Experience

Samsung Global, LG Global, National Safety Council, Nike, Dunkin', Sony PlayStation, Disney, McDonalds, KFC, Sprint, Kraft Heinz (Masterbrand), Kellogg's brands (Cheez-it, Frootloops, Club, Townhouse), Barilla Brands (Masterbrand, Wasa), OfficeMax, Old Navy, The Gap, Ford Automotive, Beam brands (Effen Vodka, Sauza Tequila) Casa Dragones Tequila, Diageo, Marshalls (TJX), Kmart, Sears, The Sports Authority and more.


I've been lucky enough to with very smart and talented people during my career and as a result earned over 200+ major industry awards across creavity, design and effectiveness, some selected highlights below:

Cannes Lions: Gold x5, Silver x2, Bronze x3, Shortlist x13
One Show: Gold x3, Silver x2, Bronze x2, Merit x8
D&AD: Yellow x1, Graphite x2, Wood x4
ADC: Grand Prix (Designism) x1, Gold x1, Silver x5, Bronze x1
Clio Awards: Grand Clio x2, Gold x6, Silver x4, Bronze 1, Shortlist x3
Effie Awards: Grand Contender x1, Gold x1, Silver x2, Bronze x1, Shortlist x1
WARC: 2x Grand Prix in Innovation
New York Festivals: Gold x1, Silver x2, Bronze x5, Shortlist
London International Awards: Gold 1x, Silver x4, Bronze x2, Shortlist x2
Webby Awards: 6x Honoree, 2x Nominee
FWA: “of the Year” People’s / Choice finalist x1, “of the Month” x1, “of the Day” x4, FWA Public Shortlist x4, The Web Design History Book (feature)

Michael Shirley Advertising Awards Creative Director

I'm impressed you read down this far. I intentionally made this look like legal so only the most astute eyes would catch it. So as a reward, here's some "freak facts" about me: I used to be a pro-am rollerblader. I farm coral at home. I've studied genetic engineering at Harvard. I'm a huge fan of Sumo wrestling. Plus lots more, but I'll save the rest for conversation.