32 Under 32: Shaun Oppedisano

By Egotist / /

Back to our 32 Under 32 interviews this week. We spoke with Shaun Oppedisano, Copywriter at DDB California. As usual, we’ll be back tomorrow with another interview, so check in then.


Congrats on being chosen as one of the top 32 advertising and marketing professionals under 32. We selected people who really go above and beyond in their work. How do you think you approach your job differently than other people?

I can’t say how different this is from one person to the next, but for me it’s important to not be an asshole. It’s never really been in my DNA to be cynical or mean, and I have no interest in changing that. I am always hungry to win and be the best I can be, but I also don’t see what’s wrong in wanting to celebrate the victories of those around me, too. After all, if my peers get better, then that’s better competition, which drives me to be better.

What kind of accounts/projects are you working on these days?

Luckily, many of our clients here at DDB California, like Clorox and ConAgra Foods, have a variety of brands underneath them. It’s great because we’re constantly getting to switch up what we’re working on, and end up with a wide range of work and experience. Lately, I’ve also been working on the first-ever brand campaign for Qualcomm, which is pretty exciting.

What is it about where you currently work that really pushes you to be better?

Definitely the people. There are too many asses to kiss, but I first have to say I’ve been lucky enough to meet and work with Andre Cabral, one of the best Art Directors / Designers in San Francisco. The dude is a savant, and deserves to be on this list more than I do. While I’m at it, I need to recognize Sam Brown, a superhuman ACD at our office. She’s a wonderful inspiration to all of us here, and will very likely take over the world in the near future. Be ready.

In thinking over your career so far, what work had made you the proudest?

Digging deep into the archives of my vast, nine-month career, I would have to say my first TV spot, which is actually in production at the moment. My partner, Tufan, and I have been working on this since September, so it’s kind of surreal to see it actually coming to fruition. It’s a summer spot for Kingsford charcoal, and we hope you’ll enjoy the real thing as much as we’ve liked the version in our heads.

We were told you were pitching ideas to HP before you even graduated college. How did that happen?

Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) has a program called Collaborative Learning Center, which selects students from various majors to do real work for real clients. I worked with an amazingly talented team to develop an augmented reality platform for HP, called Passport to Nature, which allowed children to learn about animals and natural habitats in a whole new way.

The kids loved it. It was really humbling to see people actually interact with something I worked on. After the class portion of the project was over, I approached the folks at HP about potentially funding and expanding Passport to Nature to become a permanent fixture. Fortunately, they accepted our proposal, which was an incredible learning experience in pitching and building client relationships. We built it all together, and I’m glad to say it’s still out there in Savannah.

Here’s a ridiculously clichéd interview question for you: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Here’s a ridiculously clichéd answer: I don’t know. I really don’t. And I think for the first time in my life, I’m okay with that answer. Up to this point, I’ve been pretty obsessive over trying to forecast every detail of my future, but now I’m learning to just focus on the present and be the best I can be today. Who knows? Maybe in 10 years I’ll be in a cabin in the woods. Maybe I’ll be fortunate enough to still be working in the creative realm. For now, I’m just grateful for the opportunities I have today, and want to thank everyone I work with at DDB California for the daily inspiration.

This might be tough, but here’s your chance to give a shout out to one person who has helped you get to where you are today. Go.

Art Novak, without a doubt. I’ve been very lucky to have so many great mentors, but I must thank Art for all of the support he gave me at SCAD and beyond. It’s easy to find someone who can teach you about your craft; it’s rare to find someone who will teach you about yourself. Art helped me figure out what it was I wanted to do, and how to approach it with passion and humility. He’s about to retire from teaching, but I can attest to the fact that his career has made a real impact.

  1. Voice of Reason April 22, 2015

    Shaun it's great that you were so honest in your answers. So honest that you admitted that you've only been working in the industry for 9 months. I'm sure you are a great guy but how does anybody make this best of the best list after only working for 9 months??!?? WTF is going on with this nomination criteria here?!?! I don't care how awesome you are..working in the biz 9 months does not earn you a place on this list.

  2. Anomymous April 22, 2015

    @Voice of Reason - if you read the article, he was doing real work for real clients even in college. That HP work is better than anything most young creatives out there have in their books.

  3. Anonymous April 22, 2015

    Haters gonna hate. Just a little jealous here?

  4. Old Kind Swoll April 27, 2015

    Hey there Voice of TREASON, we here at the Valley do NOT appreciate your nasty words, and I personally think that you're peanut butter and JEALOUS

  5. Anonymous April 28, 2015

    Great work-keep it up-too bad others have to be so negative...