46. Ross Martin

Executive VP of MTV Scratch, How To Redefine The Ad Agency

46. Ross Martin
Illustration by Zoran Lucic; Fabrizio Costantin/New York Times (Martin portrait)

Ross Martin is the executive VP of MTV Scratch, the network’s in-house group that connects brands like Pepsi and Chevrolet to the MTV audience through customized on-air or digital content, retail promotion, and product design.


“With the breakthrough work that’s being done today in our industry, everybody’s all up in everybody’s grill,” he says. “With all that confusion and chaos, it’s creating opportunities for us to bust out of those old boxes.”

He adds, “If work ever feels really, really safe, we know we’re doing something wrong. That’s not to say we don’t protect ourselves and our partners. We measure everything we do as we go, every minute of the day. We tweak, evolve, and iterate. But if you’re not risking anything, then you’re not doing your job for your client.”

Click here to read the full conversation about redefining the ad agency between Martin and Party Cofounder and Creative Director Masashi Kawamura, No. 47 on our Most Creative People list.


  • 1997

    Earns MFA in poetry from Washington University

  • 2000

    Publishes a book of poems, The Cop Who Rides Alone

  • 2002

    Produces HBO’s Special Nerve: Downloading Sex

  • 2006

    mtvU wins the GovernoräóÁí_Œçíëíí«Œés Award at the Emmys for its Sudan Public Service Campaign

  • 2009

    Sets Universal Record Data Base world record for most ear wiggles in 30 seconds