Contrary to the above headline, advertising legend Joe Pytka is most known for the hundreds of commercials he’s directed for the world’s largest brands including Nike, Pepsi, McDonalds, and the NFL. Pytka also directed iconic music videos such as Michael Jackson’s “The Way You Make Me Feel ” that had a profound impact on all of us whose formative years were spent during the golden age of MTV.
There’s probably not a more successful and influential commercial director, but despite his other accomplishments, we at the American Indian College Fund consider Joe to be “our” director and cherish what he’s done to create awareness about higher education in tribal communities over the past 20 years from donating his time to direct and create the College Fund’s strongest television public service announcements.
Pytka was inducted into the One Club’s Creative Hall of Fame last week at Gotham Hall in New York City. This is one of the highest honors in advertising.
At the ceremony prior to his induction, a reel of his work was played featuring commercials starring celebrities from Michael Jordan to Britney Spears, reinforcing why Pytka was being honored—he has directed a good portion of the most memorable television spots over the last three decades.
The audience’s lighthearted mood shifted to a more somber note when the reel concluded with Pytka’s most recent work, the 60-second version of the Fund’s newest public service announcement, “Help A Student Help A Tribe.”
The crowd erupted with emotion at the conclusion of the reel as Pytka, very moved, made his way to the podium. Here were some of his initial words:
“I was gonna be kind of nasty, but after seeing this last piece of work we did with Dave Kennedy, I kind of lost my taste for being rude.
David Kennedy is a legend for me.
We’ve been working on this [the American Indian College Fund] campaign for about 20 years now. And I think this is the best thing we’ve done.
You’re stuck with me a lot longer because this really re-energized me for doing work and I can see what can be done in our medium to bring important issues across. And the issues of the American Indian College Fund are monumental because we have systematically been trying to destroy this culture for 400 years now, and we’re trying to gather up the pieces that are left and trying to bring it to some kind of fruition.”
The American Indian College Fund would like to congratulate Joe on his induction into the One Club Creative Hall of Fame and thank him for 20 years of helping us to gather up the pieces. Take a look at Joe’s full One Club induction speech.