Chicago Agency Taps Emmy Winner Brett O’Bourke as Head of Studio Production

One of the Midwest’s top advertising agencies is making moves. Upshot, the Chicago-based full-service creative shop staffs 160 people, and counts clients including Constellation Brands, Google, Starbucks, and Procter and Gamble. The company recently added entertainment industry impresario Brett O’Bourke as Head of Studio Production. The position expands a professional pedigree spanning editing culture website Flavorpill to writing for XXL, Spin, Jazziz, and Blueprint Magazine and winning Emmys and directing and producing documentaries Hecho a Mano: Creativity in Exile and Plastic Paradise

In the new role, O’Bourke will lead the expansion of Upshot’s Content Studio – home to best-in-class photo and video production and 3D environmental and product design – into storytelling across all formats, as well as future-forward forays in mixed reality and beyond.

O’Bourke’s arrival comes at an auspicious time as the agency moves into a new office located in Chicago’s West Loop Maker’s District that includes a full complement of state-of-the-art audio, visual, retouching, and editing resources.

Additionally, Upshot has expanded its talent groups to include new centers of excellence in Boston, Minneapolis, and New York, which provide immediate value and efficiency to the agency’s growing slate of productions. Long-standing client partners like P&G and Constellation Brands, as well as new clients including Quaker and Newell have access to award-winning motion artists, influential content creators, expansive production facilities, and new casting resources – all under one roof. 

“We’re constantly evolving and investing; not just in capabilities and technology, but in incredibly talented people with unconventional vision and experience,” said Michael Rivera, Executive Vice President, Executive Creative Director at Upshot. 

“What we’re building is a tour de force that is going to transform how we tell stories for any screen, any platform, and for any audience. This team is realizing some of the most exciting and creatively challenging projects from our clients, so the time is perfect to have Brett O’Bourke joining Upshot at such a transformative time.”

With more than 20 years of storytelling experience across all media, O’Bourke brings extensive experience in content creation and strategy, film and television production, as well as brand marketing. He has created award-winning content for GE-Hitachi, Bridgestone Tires, Four Seasons Hotels, Aflac, AirTran Airways, and more. 

As Founder and Executive Creative Director of Common Machine Productions, he partnered with brands and corporations to blend commerce with creativity, and tell great stories. His creative work for AirTran Airways won a Bulldog Award, which honors the best in corporate communications and public relations, and he has won multiple Addy Awards for the campaigns he’s produced for Pella Windows.

“The best part about my new role is I get to work with creators and disruptors who care about the craft of storytelling as much as the discipline of brand building,” said O’Bourke who added, “Many agencies continue the traditional practice of involving studio and production only after a concept has been approved. At Upshot, we’re involved much further upstream – before and during the ideation phase – working as a true idea collective.”

In addition to his branding work, O’Bourke directed and produced the Emmy®-winning documentary Hecho a Mano: Creativity in Exile (2011) and Plastic Paradise (2013). Both documentaries aired extensively on PBS affiliates across the US…

He has also written, produced, and directed documentary programming for ESPN, National Geographic, PBS, A&E, The History Channel, and Discovery, as well as edited the internet arts and culture website Flavorpill. Brett’s feature writing has appeared in such publications as XXL, Spin, Jazziz, and Blueprint Magazine.

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