Tom McManus spent his formative years in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, going to the same high school as Ashton Kutcher. After a stint as an air traffic controller at a local airport, McManus decided to head east. He graduated from Pratt Institute where he earned a BFA in painting. After struggling as an artist in New York, he became interested in advertising. McManus then fashioned a resume as a mock ad about himself. That landed him his first advertising job. It also got him his first One Show pencil.
His work for Absolut Vodka won Cannes, Clio, ANDY and Art Director club awards. In the 'Absolut Book. The Absolut Vodka Advertising Story' McManus is shown smiling while holding a large $100,000 Kelly Award check. Kevin Bacon used McManus's office at Young & Rubicam as inspiration for his role as an art director for the movie 'Picture Perfect'. The producers used McManus' s award show hardware as props for the film. As Creative Director of Samsung, McManus got into a fistfight with 'The Thing' on the movie set of 'The Fantastic Four'. As Group CD, McManus tortured ad legend David Droga, supervising his agency's Prudential work. In spite of McManus's meddling, Droga5 went on to win the 2013 Cannes Titanium Lion.
McManus has been an Adjunct Professor at Parsons in New York City for over 15 years. He presently has been running the 'Integrated Advertising Lab' for the last three.
He has won Cannes, Clio, Andy, Webby, One Show, Horizon Interactive, WebAwards. Most notably he has won the $100,000 Kelly Award twice.
McManus has worked on AstraZeneca, Absolut Vodka, Accenture, AT&T, AT&T Financial, Citibank, LG, Met Life, Merc, National Car Rental, Prudential, Samsung, Sony and Xerox.