David Verhoef: Making TV ads — and more

David Verhoef, the recently hired director of integrated productions at San Francisco-based advertising agency Publicis and Hal Riney, originally had plans to make a lifelong career out of acting, until a little Hollywood-style divine intervention paved the way for an occupation change.

“I was acting as an extra on the set of ‘Highway to Heaven’ in 1986, and I saw this huge sign on a trailer on the set — Michael Landon Productions,” Verhoef said. “That’s when I said to myself, ‘Hey, maybe I should give this production thing a shot.’”

Verhoef transitioned from acting into producing TV commercials, before eventually moving to New York to join Cliff Freeman and Associates, an award-winning advertising agency. There, he worked with Roger Camp — the current chief creative officer at Publicis and Hal Riney.

“Roger contacted me a little while ago and asked me to come on board to Hal Riney as a producer,” said Verhoef, who has received awards for his production work from organizations such as the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival and the New York Art Directors Club. “We had such a great connection at Cliff Freeman in the mid-’90s, I just knew right away this would be the right move. I just feel so fortunate to work with someone who really has the same kind of vibe as me.”

In between Cliff Freeman and his new position at Hal Riney, Verhoef worked at a number of different agencies, including DBB San Francisco and TBWA Chiat Day.

Verhoef will once again assume the role of producer at Hal Riney, although the responsibilities that accompany that title have expanded since the last time he worked with Camp.

“I used to be simply called director of broadcast productions,” Verhoef said. “But with the advent of all the interactive, viral and other new media forms, that role has changed quite a bit.”

The possibility of new advertising outlets and the presence of his old friend has Verhoef optimistic about the future of Publicis and Hal Riney.

“We’re going to continue to turn stuff out that is innovative and creative,” Verhoef said. “Roger has managed to reclaim the amazing pedigree Hal Riney once had, and we’re going to work together to make sure we maintain that progression into the future.”

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