ELITE 2019 Creative Director Jody Van Swearingen of AbelsonTaylor

Jody Van Swearingen

SVP, Group Creative Director


An Exquisite Creative Mind

“Jody Van Swearingen joined AbelsonTaylor in 1994 to head up our art production department,” says Stephen Neale, EVP, Chief Creative Officer, AbelsonTaylor. “Working with her on the production of a new campaign, I realized that in addition to an exquisite attention to detail, she had a strong communication-design sense that some of the art directors in my creative group were still struggling to command. I convinced my bosses to make her an art director and she has been generating industry-changing work ever since.”

One example: #MyEpilepsyHero, a social media campaign created for Sunovion, in association with the Epilepsy Foundation and actor Greg Grunberg, to raise awareness of epilepsy and bring the topic into mainstream conversations. Jody and her team created a social platform encouraging members of the epilepsy community to step out of the shadows by publicly honoring the heroes who personally inspire them and improve their lives. The #MyEpilepsyHero Facebook group, which has more than 2,500 members and over 4,000 heroes posted, has become a center of advocacy, with members interacting both online and offline to support one another with their personal experiences and recommendations. #MyEpilepsyHero has earned 12 industry honors, making it one of the most award-winning campaigns in Sunovion’s history.

Through programs like #MyEpilepsyHero and Night Nurse Nation (the first social media campaign on Facebook for healthcare professionals), Jody shows how to successfully put a human face on healthcare, leverage the most effective channels to communicate with a desired group, and create a win-win-win for clients, campaign targets, and agencies. Jody’s work also influences the industry through its memorability and longevity. Eight years ago, she ideated the brand icon Major Nutrition for Ensure. Although AbelsonTaylor never ended up working on the campaign and the Major has undergone some modifications over the years, he’s still recognizably himself and still issuing orders to everything else in the refrigerator.

In terms of hard numbers, Jody has led her team on 10 product launches, 25 product relaunches, and five global campaigns, winning numerous creative honors along the way, including PM360 Trailblazers, Clio, Grand Global, Global, and Rx Club awards.


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