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The tester

Sep 21, 2012
by Kara Pound, '06

Ken kresge helps companies like crest and michelin get their ad campaigns spot on

Before advertising agencies spend millions of dollars on a sneaker commercial, they hire a company to create test spots to be presented to a focus group. Based on the group’s reaction, the test spot helps determine which concepts best grab viewers’ attention before developing full-fledged commercials.

For Ken Kresge, ’97, vice president and creative director of The Napoleon Group in New York City, this means partnering with agencies in the earliest stages of an ad campaign and working through creative ideas for brands like Crest, Scope, Dawn, Michelin and Lunesta.

“We call this ‘Pre-Viz’ and it accounts for about 90 percent of the work we do at Napoleon,” Kresge said. “And as creative director, I have a hand in just about everything – from conceptualizing storyboards to showing a creative how I want a 3-D avatar girl to skip.”

Originally from Long Island, Kresge’s family moved to St. Augustine in 1989 to be closer to his grandparents. He later attended Flagler, where he double majored in theatre and broadcast communication.

“My theatrical background has helped my communication with clients,” Kresge explained. “My photography classes with Ken Barrett taught me about light, shadow and composition of frame. And all around, Flagler helped me become a problem solver and a good storyteller.”

Less than two weeks after graduation, Kresge packed up his belongings and moved to New York City to live with a couple of fellow Flagler alumni. His first job out of college was in shipping and he would spend all of his free time teaching himself editing. He attended New York University for a summer film program.

Kresge later joined McCann-Erickson, a global advertising agency, where he spent three years as an in-house editor.

“Working there gave me more of a reel for my portfolio,” he said. “I started sending my tapes all over the city.” In 2000, The Napoleon Group came calling and Kresge took a senior editor position.

A husband, father of two and self-professed workaholic, Kresge has also managed to find the time to create a pilot for an adventurous, documentary-style TV show called “Road Trip Earth.” It features Kresge and two of his oldest friends from St. Augustine driving around New Zealand on an extreme road trip. He said the pilot has garnered interest from major television networks.

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