#ChromeHomie: Brad Zibung

April 6, 2016

Here at Chrome City, we pride ourselves in having ultra-creative and inspiring homies throughout the Chicago area. Each week, the Chrome Chronicle (our news outlet) will share a little bit about these incredible people and why we are excited to feature them as our #ChromeHomie.

Let us introduce our Homie, Brad.

Brad Zibung The Heckler


Q. Explain your job position. 


A. I have a few "jobs" but the one that led to me meeting Alex is The Heckler, which I founded with a friend of mine back in 2003. It started out as a Cubs-themed satirical newspaper and now is more of a light-hearted sports and lifestyle outlet. We still publish satirical sports news but also do trips, events and sell merch all focusing on Chicago sports. 


Q. What is your creative process? 


A. It depends on the topic, but as it relates to publishing satirical sports news, we often try to merge something going on in Chicago sports with something going on in the mainstream media to kinda of point out the absurdity with either. 


Q. What inspires and motivates you? 


A. Great question! Sometimes the things that motivate or inspire me one day overwhelm me the next. I am mostly motivated and inspired by creative or passionate people in my network. When it comes to humor I am mostly inspired by people whose jokes, one-liners and comebacks are so good that I don't think I ever could have thought of them. It's like they're on a different level and I'm unable to wire my brain like theirs.


Q. How did you end up in Chicago?


A. I moved here about a week after graduating college in 1999 (how many other Chrome Homies or Chrome staffers were even born then???). I had come to Chicago for a Chicago Advertising Career Day in April of that year with no real idea what I wanted to do even though I was graduating in less than a month. I also was battling bronchitis so I was super-tires and hurting. After struggling to stay awake for some of the presenters (mostly because I was sick!) the corporate spokesperson for Leo Burnett came up and spoke and I immediately knew where I wanted to start my career. After his talk, I cut through the crowd to walk up to him and introduced myself saying "I want to be in your shoes someday." He chuckled and gave me his card. A couple days later I mailed him a cover letter and resume (yes, this predates the proliferation of email) and wound up getting an internship there. I stayed with Burnett for five years and it that time very much molded me into the professional and person I've become.


Q. What is your favorite part about living in Chicago?


A. Great question! I love a lot about Chicago and my neighborhood in River North in particular. It's impossible to be bored in this town and neighborhood. There is always something going on. So many people here are smart, fun and outgoing. My fiancé and I are really lucky for a lot of reasons and Chicago is at the center of that. 


Q. What has most influenced your career?


A. Lots and lots of things. I learned a ton from my first boss Wally Petersen (the Burnett spokesperson I met in 1999) and still think back to a lot of the lessons he taught me (directly or indirectly). Winding up at Burnett was a great first move for my career. I met so many great people and stay in touch with many of them to this day and a few of them are still best friends. The guy I cofounder The Heckler with was a fellow intern with me at Burnett and we are still super-tight. A few years ago I got into real estate and partnered with a great friend I met through a mutual friend at Burnett. Now he's my mentor and helping us build a great business together. And of course my fiancé is a constant influence on my personally and professionally. 


Q. What is your experience with Alex?


A. We were in the BeeGees together!  


Thanks for being a Chrome Homie, Brad! 



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