Fellowship Award

Jeff McLean

After 30 years in the advertising and design business Jeff McLean is by far and away the most decorated — and celebrated — creative in Edmonton’s history. Jeff is too self-deprecating to tell you that his work has been recognized from New York’s One Show to Communications Arts Annual, from the Cassies to the Clios — the kind of trophy shelf you rarely see in Canada, let alone the world. Jeff has mentored countless creatives and driven them to keep pushing because of the high standard he sets for what a big idea looks and feels like.

Those who have had the pleasure to work with Jeff want to do it more often… and those who haven’t, always hope for an opportunity. Jeff never says no to school talks, student tours, industry nights and panels, open to sharing ideas and tall tales in his infamous dry, self-deprecating way. Jeff’s ideas come fast and furious and at all hours — leaving brilliant, simple sketches and inspired account executives in his wake.

He was part of the team that developed the ground-breaking ad campaign for Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism, widely regarded as the gold standard for Canadian tourism campaigns. His social marketing work for Alberta’s Office of Traffic Safety, AGLC and the Christmas Bureau found a way to simultaneously get under your skin and inspire you to change. And his passion for equality led to the brilliant Pride Tape campaign — a movement that continues to transform the very culture of sport and drive homophobia out of the locker room. Jeff’s love for a simple, powerful idea can be seen throughout his entire portfolio, whether it was for a McDonald’s drive thru or using a six-pack of handcuffs to challenge impaired drivers.

Jeff’s impact on the community isn’t a traditional one. He’s not one to sit on a board of directors. You won’t see him front row at a fundraising gala. He’s a guy who runs from the spotlight, not towards it. But the legacy of Jeff’s brilliance — and the people it has touched — will be felt for a long, long time.