Wunderman Thompson USA
Wed, 01 Feb 2023 11:26:47 GMT
Paul Greco is executive director of music and audio production at global ad agency Wunderman Thompson North America. He was appointed in 2011 to lead the agency’s (formerly J. Walter Thompson) music department and collaborate on music branding ideas across all media. Today his work continues to be recognised across the industry.
Paul’s musical direction has made a major impact on many major brands throughout his career and many of Wunderman Thompson’s most prestigious brands.
He is a board member of The Association of Music Producers (AMP) and was chosen as Chair for the 2015 AMP Awards.
Paul> The first thing I want to know from my creative directors is “What do they want to feel?” The emotional takeaway is the biggest clue for me to deliver what they want back. Are we creating a track from scratch or are we looking for an existing track, and if it’s an existing track what is the benefit of that for this project? Also, what is the budget?
Paul> Working solo is counterproductive, in my opinion. Advertising is a team sport. You need to take in the thoughts and opinions of the team and use those to help deliver the best music solution, but I’ll do that while taking the lead on music production because I’m the expert in that space.
One of the best experiences I’ve had was working with our agency creative team and our composers for the Rolex '#perpetual' campaign several years ago. It was some of the best music I ever produced and I was honoured to be able to record it with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at Abbey Road Studios in London.
Paul> 1) Helping to bring a creative idea to life with the aid of music and 2) when I’m able to be in a studio recording music with composers and live musicians. There is nothing more gratifying for me.
Paul> More and more I see brands wanting to use music’s ability to connect with their audiences. More thought is going into sonic branding, resurrecting jingles from years past, music experiences, etc. And how will we use music in the metaverse? That will be the next frontier. Brands are also coming back to radio and expanding into podcasts. Music and audio are in a growth stage.
Paul> There are so many, but top tier would be The Beatles and George Martin for their timeless song writing and fearlessness in the studio, along with Stevie Wonder and Pete Townsend of The Who - for really the same reasons.
Paul> I often refer back to my days of working in recording studios, recording music and voiceovers. So many of the things I learned then I often use when I’m working today. I’ve had the good fortune to learn some of the best audio engineers, composers, musicians, and producers in the business over my time in this industry – as well as musicians like Paul Shaffer, Will Lee, Steve Gadd, Michael Brecker and dozens more that have played on hundreds of records.
Paul> If it’s a mundane task, then I enjoy music in the background, but if it requires deep thought, sometimes just having it quiet is better so I can 'search my brain' without distraction. I think background sound and music is fine if it doesn’t distract you from the task at hand.
Paul> It’s hard to compensate for certain media once it leaves the final mix. Unless we have to final mix for a specific venue or media, we just try to make it sound as great as it can to the specs we are given.
Paul> No day is typical. My listening depends on what is driving me that day. Chances are I’ll start with my favourite, classic R&B and soul: Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, and Aretha Franklin and then it will move from there to something completely different like Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Anderson Paak, Vulfpeck, or The Struts. It really all depends on the day and my frame of mind. I also like listening to film score soundtracks, especially those by Alexandre Desplat, Thomas Newman, Bernard Herrman, and John Williams.
Paul> I have some vinyl and still have lots of CD’s and have many thousands of mp3’s, and a robust Spotify account. I do also have a good and basic sound effects library if I’m ever asked to do some last-minute sound design and mixing.
Paul> I love old movies (especially Hitchcock) and I am always amazed at the craft of creating music for films. I love the way a musical score can elevate a film’s story and characters.
Paul> I love going to different places and experiencing their music scene. Great local musicians all around and music everywhere. I stop and listen to street musicians whenever I come across them. I was impressed by some local jazz artists when I recently stayed in Montreal, and was thrilled to experience local musicians in Italy including an Italian country music band… they were very good!
Paul> I am open to more experiences than I was. When I was younger, I was less interested in bands or musical styles that I didn’t understand. Listening with an open mind has allowed me to experience more and enjoy things that I never would have given a chance in the past.