The One Muscle All Brands Must Exercise

Tad Greenough.

Surprisingly enough, it’s not that surprising that US-born Tad Greenough moved to Sweden.

For one, his wife is Swedish, but an equally important reason is that Tad has a history of continuously venturing out of his comfort zone to wherever there’s a story that needs telling. Once in Stockholm, he decided to join The Absolut Company as Director of Brand Creative simply because he saw in it ”a progressive brand with a pioneering legacy of bringing positive change to the world – but also with a story that deserves being told in new ways”.

Tad’s life has always had an undercurrent of rebellion. From an early age, he was inspired to follow his own path in life and never fear the unknown. It started with sports, where Tad learned to play almost every sport out there – from hockey, to golf, lacrosse, squash, baseball, kayaking, football (not soccer), etc and – finally – rowing, where he found his true calling. Thus, after graduating from pre-law studies in Boston, and after rowing for a number of established clubs across the US, he ventured out into the world without a clear agenda or plan. He started by hiking, biking and backpacking around the planet, occasionally taking different temporary jobs, which over time would shape his own unique character. He found a gig as a whitewater rafting guide in 5+ rapids (that’s pretty scary stuff), he worked at a brewery for a while kicking out the mash tons, and he eventually decided to give copywriting a try. In all his professional endeavours, Tad has been diving in head first without any training or previous experience, simply because he was curious​.

In copywriting, he found his passion for storytelling and was inspired by the creative vibes of the boutique ad agencies of Madison Avenue. His ambition and curiosity first took him to New York City and later, in the late 90s, to San Francisco, which was the Mecca of advertising at the time. In the heart of Silicon Valley, he enjoyed a front row seat during the exhilarating boom and the painful bubble burst of the fledgling tech industry, before he once again felt compelled to step outside of his comfort zone and moved on to Los Angeles. By now, he had built quite a reputation in marketing and joined Chiat Day as the global account lead for Nissan. 

”Don’t get too caught up in the business. Remember the people you’re trying to serve. Serving your consumers is the most important organisational muscle, and your reason for being.”

Then his appetite for adventure and change kicked in again. Tad has always viewed life as a game of filling in the blanks, and now he started sensing that he was missing life experience outside of the US. He turned his focus to Europe and found a job at Wieden+Kennedy in Amsterdam, where he soon found himself in another unknown territory – working with soccer for the global Nike account.

Tad didn’t know the first thing about soccer, so he had to learn as he went – a process that left him feeling more whole and grounded as a person. The continuous stepping out of his comfort zone pushed him to find the core of himself, and his personal journey soon started to impact his work as a storyteller. Tad found himself being curious about the personal stories of the athletes, and brought that curiosity with him when he joined the Nike marketing team client side, full time. With Tad’s personal storytelling style, the brand started shifting from focusing on products to instead focus on consumers and ”serving athletes”, which would prove to become an immensely successful brand journey. Tad believes that “modern communication is about moving beyond product and function to increasingly highlighting consumer journeys, life integration and human potential”. He is drawing wisdom from his own journey, as well as his many years in sports communication, when stating that consumer focus is a muscle one needs to exercise;

Exercising that people-serving muscle from his new home in Sweden is  next for Tad, and we’re curious to see where his curiosity will take the legacy of both Absolut and Tad Greenough.