Welcome to Digital Doorways, the podcast that invites you to explore the transformative journey of advertising and marketing through the eyes of a true industry luminary. I’m your host, Jason Siegel, founder of Bluetext, a global digital creative agency. Our guest today is Chris Clarke, a marketing visionary renowned for his remarkable journey that has reshaped the advertising landscape. Chris’s story is a testament to innovation, adaptability, and his relentless pursuit of excellence.

With a career spanning decades, Chris is not only one of the most significant thought leaders in the advertising and marketing world but also a pioneer of change and evolution in the industry. His journey began with a mission to disrupt the status quo, which he did with the founding of Nitro in Shanghai in 2001. This move was pivotal, as it redefined the advertising industry by vertically integrating offerings such as innovation, brand strategy, traditional advertising, and digital advertising. Nitro swiftly became a global network, with a prestigious client base that included Mars, Nike, Unilever, and Coca-Cola.

However, Chris’s story is one of constant adaptation. In 2009, Nitro underwent a major transformation when it merged to create SapientNitro, which became the world’s largest independent advertising and digital agency. Under his leadership, SapientNitro grew to encompass 14,000 employees and 36 offices worldwide, ultimately leading to its remarkable sale to Publicis Groupe for $3.7 billion in December 2014.

Chris’s journey doesn’t stop at the advertising world. He’s also a successful Broadway Producer, with an impressive 15 Tony Award nominations for his shows including Tootsie and American Buffalo, starring Lawrence Fishburne and Sam Rockwell. Today, Chris serves as the Executive Chairman of Empower Media, the largest woman-owned media agency in America. With this rich tapestry of experiences, Chris continues to shape the future of marketing and advertising, offering invaluable insights into the ever-changing landscape.

In this episode, we’ll delve into Chris Clarke’s journey, focusing on his exceptional ability to adapt to change and redefine brand positioning and marketing strategies in all his ventures.

⁠Digital Doorways⁠⁠⁠ is Hosted by ⁠⁠⁠Jason Siegel⁠⁠⁠, Founder of ⁠⁠⁠Bluetext⁠

🎧 Listen to the Digital Doorways Podcast here


  1. Chris, your journey began with the founding of Nitro in Shanghai, which redefined advertising by integrating various offerings. How did you adapt to such a unique venture, and what inspired this holistic approach?
  2. The merger of Nitro into SapientNitro was a pivotal transformation. What was the driving force behind this merger, and how did it influence your brand positioning and marketing strategies?
  3. From Nitro to SapientNitro, how did you navigate the massive changes that came with leading a global agency with thousands of employees and offices around the world?
  4. The sale of SapientNitro to Publicis Groupe for $3.7 billion was a momentous achievement. How did you adapt your strategies for such a significant deal, and what impact did it have on your brand positioning?
  5. Your journey took you to the world of Broadway, where you’ve been a successful producer. How do you adapt your skills and experiences from advertising and marketing to the entertainment industry?
  6. As the Executive Chairman of Empower Media, how do your experiences in advertising and marketing influence your approach to media and brand positioning in the current digital landscape?
  7. Can you share some specific examples of how your approach to brand positioning has evolved with changing trends and technologies in the marketing world?
  8. With the rapid evolution of digital marketing, how do you keep your strategies agile and adaptable to new technologies and consumer behaviors?