Karen Costello is Creative Chair at Deutsch LA, where she is responsible for setting the overall creative vision for the agency. She helms the full creative department across the agency’s client portfolio, in addition to overseeing the largest agency-owned production studio in America, Steelhead. As one of Deutsch LA’s first creative hires in 1997, she was instrumental in helping scale the agency from eight people to over 400 in its first few years. Growing stride for stride, Costello’s leadership now captures the spirit and ambition of Deutsch LA.
With over three decades of experience, Costello has launched global brands, created award-winning campaigns, and has touched just about every category in marketing—from automotive to fashion to music and everything in between. Costello was the brainchild behind Target’s iconic 2016 Grammy Awards live music video with Gwen Stefani and has since flipped the script a time or two at the Super Bowl. Her creative contributions have been recognized for their novelty and ability to make history.
Prior to her role as CCO of Deutsch LA, Costello led The Martin Agency’s creative department, her tenure marking the agency’s first-ever female CCO. Under her leadership, she helped drive double-digit business growth while continuing to earn creative awards and implement progressive agency policies.
Championing people above all else has become a signature of Costello’s leadership. In tandem with her craft, her passion for fostering equitable, humane work environments, has led her to be consistently honored with industry awards including Ad Age’s “Women to Watch,” Adweek’s “Trailblazers,” Refinery29’s “Matriarchy Power List” and No. 3 on Business Insider’s “Most Creative Women in Advertising.”
Acclaim aside, despite having elevated brands to the global stage and moved the needle in the advertising industry, Costello considers her most fulfilling challenge being a parent to two teenagers.