College for Creative Studies I Advertising Design


Mark Canavan


Sr. VP/GP Creative Dir.

A 20-year veteran of the business, Mark Canavan is senior vice president, group creative director of McCann Midwest. He oversees the creative direction for Travel Michigan, Colonial Williamsburg, Michigan Credit Union League and Karmanos Cancer Center and has spearheaded campaigns for GM Corporate, Buick, The Detroit Medical Center, Charter Cable, Agilent Technologies and the Detroit Red Wings.

“Although I’m a very visual person, I start most advertising projects with words,” Canavan explained. “I love finding the shared truths in life and in brands and creating communications that touch people. I am most proud of the work I’ve done on the Pure Michigan tourism campaign. The state was at one of its lowest points with automotive in a tailspin and unemployment at record levels. The work we did showed people a Michigan they didn’t know and tapped into a common need to get out of the everyday routine and show them a place that is authentic and true. And I still love the rush of new business pitches. Never gets old.”

Last October, Canavan won “Best of Show” at the D Show awards. He’s also been awarded numerous other national awards and honors over the years, including recognition by Forbes for his work on Travel Michigan, which was voted one of the top 10 tourism campaigns of all time.

“Ideas are everything,” he said. “Never confuse technology with an idea that touches people. We live in a digital app for this, app for that world and it’s easy to confuse something that’s “cool” with something that makes people think and feel differently.”