Bob Purman is considered a directing legend. Easily the most honored commercial director in Wisconsin advertising history, Bob’s work spans everything from side-splitting comedy spots to emotionally-moving documentaries. And he has been recognized by everyone from the One Show, CA and the Clio’s to the Emmy Awards.
But you would never know any of this from talking to him.
The son of an engineer, Bob got his first camera at the age of 11 with money he saved from his paper route. Hooked on visual storytelling from that point forward, Purman went on to the Minneapolis College of Art and Design in pursuit of a career in photojournalism. A path that quickly migrated to motion picture after his first film class.
After school, Bob began his career as a grip working with local production companies, before eventually deciding to venture out on his own, starting RYP Filmworks in 1987 (and later True North) with his wife Yannique. Known for his honest and humanistic approach to interviews, along with his keen eye for epic cinematography, Bob soon made a name for himself, piling up more local and national awards than any director in Wisconsin history — including an unequalled four Best of Shows in both the Milwaukee Addy’s and 99 Show.
His work for Wisconsin Tourism, Alka Seltzer Plus, Milwaukee Brewers, YMCA, Master Lock and Sun Country Airlines helped quickly put Bob’s name among the country’s elite directors.
His national profile grew even further when he signed with Moxie Pictures in 1995, Imported Artists in Toronto in 1996 and later GO Studios in 2015, where he created spots for some of the country’s biggest brands like McDonalds, Home Depot, Honda, CVS, Lay’s, and Pedigree.
Of course, the only thing that rivaled Bob’s storytelling talent was his generosity for giving back. Bob rarely turned down a request to shoot a PSA, and some of his most memorable work was done for the non-profit community, tackling issues from gun violence, foster care and smoking cessation to teen pregnancy, brain injury and American civil liberties.
Today, Bob is represented by Sequoia Content in Toronto, and runs Island Orchard Cider in Door County, Wisconsin.