Proof Advertising Invests in New Creative and Strategic Firepower

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Proof Advertising, an independent, full-service marketing firm in the heart of the Lone Star State, today announced two key appointments to its executive team. Craig Markus has been named Executive Creative Director and John Kottmann joins as Chief Strategy Officer.

These hires are a decisive move to strengthen Proof’s capabilities and to reunite Markus and Kottmann, who has a longtime working relationship, with Proof Advertising owner Bryan Christian.

“COVID-19 has allowed me to reunite with John and Craig while allowing them to work from New York, where we have a growing team. These two hires are critical investments in taking Proof to the elite level of mid-sized agency. Or any-sized agency, for that matter,” said Christian.

Markus launched his career at Ogilvy and helped grow Deutsch before taking his talents to McCann/NY where he co-founded TAG, their youth marketing division that launched Xbox, and led the U.S. Army account during its transition to Army Strong. It was at McCann/NY that Markus began working with Kottmann, who was leading strategy for clients across the portfolio. Most recently, Markus has helped countless brands find their purpose at Cramer-Krasselt NY and through his branding studio, Rage, Grace & Partners. In his new role, Markus will lead creative for all agency accounts.

“I first worked with Proof when they were part of the U.S. Army agency roster. I was immediately impressed with their work and their spirit,” said Markus. “While a lot has changed in our business since then, Proof tenaciously remains a place full of passion, talent, intellect, and energy. I am excited to have an opportunity to reunite with John as we all help brands find meaning and value amidst a noisier and noisier world.”

During his time at McCann/NY, Kottmann was the lead planner on almost every major account and co-managed the strategy department for several years, overseeing global planning for Mastercard, Coca-Cola, Capital One, Wendy’s, Burger King, HP, GM, Pfizer, and Verizon. Kottmann then went to DDB as U.S. Chief Strategy Officer and continued to create iconic and effective brand platforms and work for clients from Microsoft to McDonald’s. He brings extensive experience across categories, including consumer goods, travel/hospitality, technology, financial services and healthcare, to his new role at Proof.

“Planning has never played a more important role in connecting data and creativity to drive business goals than it does today,” said Kottmann.

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