In 1997, David formed a second business, a logical off-shoot of his popular radio company, called VOX:Chicago Voice Casting, Inc.. Working along with partner Bonnie Murray (Leo Burnett’s talent coordinator for 23-years), VOX:Chicago became the city’s first voice-exclusive casting service. With an equally impressive client list, VOX:Chicago continues to be the most experienced and well respected voice casting company in town.
Of, course, experience takes time. The last of a classic breed, David Lewis actually started his advertising career in the mailroom. It was his summer job at W.B. Doner & Company in Detroit while he attended college at Eastern Michigan University. During his third summer stint (1975) between his junior and senior years, he was given a chance to be a copywriter. His first assignment, a radio spot for THE DETROIT NEWS, also turned out to be David’s first award-winner.
Upon graduation in 1976, David got his full-time job at Doner, where he worked under three different Creative Directors: Lawrence Kasdan, now an Oscar nominated Screenwriter and Director; Cathy Guisewite, who went on to create the popular comic strip “Cathy”; and Thom Sharp; now one of the country’s top commercial actors and voice-over talents. And, while David learned a lot from each, he takes all the credit for their individual successes.
From Doner, David moved on to Campbell-Ewald in Detroit, where he worked on Borden and Bil-Mar Foods. He also created a “little inside joke” that garnered a lot of national and, ultimately, international attention: The Rula Lenska Fan Club. It was a faux “fan club” for the then unknown star of a series of popular and campy television commercials for a national line of hair products. David’s little inside joke landed him on numerous TV shows, including “The Merv Griffin Show”, as well as dozens of radio shows across the country. David and his “Fan Club” were featured in TIME, NEWSWEEK, PEOPLE, US, and various other magazines, as well as in hundreds of newspapers in North America and Europe. It was his “15-minutes”. It was also the thing that got him noticed for a job at Leo Burnett in Chicago.
At Burnett, David worked on Kellogg’s, Keebler, Green Giant and other top brands. But his biggest success came on McDonald’s, where he wrote numerous memorable Ronald McDonald TV spots, and quite a bit of radio. During this time, David was a member of the comedy improv group “Easy Street”, and appeared in The Second City Children’s Show.
After five years at Burnett, David moved down the block in 1984, to Needham Harper & Steers (now DDB). While he was hired to work on Dial, Kraft, and Busch Gardens, a chance assignment on Bud Light changed the course of his career. It was a pair of Bud Light radio spots that just happened to solve a client’s lingering radio problem. David, and his whole creative group, in fact… were moved onto the Bud Light account soon after. While he wrote a number of the popular “Give me a Light” TV spots, it was his work on Bud Light radio that did the trick. They won a number of awards, and, in doing so, caught the attention of the legendary comedy radio advertising team of Bert, Barz and Kirby in Los Angeles. They offered David a job as their writer/director/producer in 1986.
It was a great experience. In his first year there, David shared credit for 11 of their Clio Awards finalists. He got to work with some of the biggest names in Hollywood, as well as all of the top national voice talents. Best of all, he got to learn radio at the feet of the radio masters: Bert Berdis, Alan Barzman and Jim Kirby. And the stories he can tell you! The Gene Berry story is the best…
After 15-months in Hollywood, David was ready to head back to his beloved Chicago and a VP/Creative Director job at his equally beloved DDB. But after a couple years (1989), he longed for his more beloved radio work. With the encouragement and support of his bosses and friends at the agency, David left the company to form his own: David Lewis Creative Radio.
Since August of 1989, David has written, directed and produced literally thousands of radio spots for agencies and clients throughout the U.S., Canada, and England. His client list is as impressive as it is varied. Everything from beer to cattle wormers… Viagra to Midol. But what David is most proud of is that he’s never had to advertise or promote his business. He doesn’t enter awards shows or even send out sample reels. Not even a website. His business has come exclusively through word-of-mouth from his clients. And that’s the best advertising.
No one in advertising could possibly love their jobs as much as David Lewis loves his. He remembers a sign hanging in the office of one of his agency clients. It paraphrased the quote of a near-death stage legend… The sign read: “Dying is easy. Radio is difficult.” Well, not if you love it.
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