Steve Rotterdam

Founding Partner, Chief Executive

A graduate of Cornell University, Steve began his career with stints in magazine publishing and toy and game development, two fields for which his studies to be a veterinarian proved of no use whatsoever.

Today, Steve is a highly accomplished, well-regarded brand strategist with 30 years of experience in creative leadership and expertise in concept development, strategic planning and program implementation. As Senior Vice-President of Sales and Marketing for DC Comics, Steve was struck by the degree to which most national brands “get it wrong” when attempting to relate to and connect with incredibly passionate, highly influential entertainment and pop culture enthusiasts. This perspective served as the spark that ignited the formation of Bonfire Agency.

At DC, Steve led the development and execution of marketing strategies for one of the crown jewels of popular culture. Shortly after joining the executive ranks of this division of Warner Bros. Entertainment in the fall of 2007, Steve set in motion the company’s first digital communications strategy, helped leverage the might of distribution partner Random House to secure DC’s position as #1 publisher of graphic novels, crafted the industry-lauded and often imitated “After Watchmen, What’s Next?” campaign, and completely overhauled DC’s advertising sales and custom solutions departments to compete more effectively and drive increased revenues through what continues to be one of the most challenging periods in the history of modern media.

For the eight years prior to joining DC, Steve was Partner and Chief Creative Officer of Eastwest Marketing Group, where his affinity for popular culture, youth and entertainment fueled the agency’s actionable insights into consumer trends and relevant brand alliances. Steve was also instrumental in Eastwest’s evolution from design shop to full service integrated advertising and promotional marketing firm, leading to greater recognition of the agency within the broader marketing community, as exemplified by the winning of five Entertainment Marketing Awards and a PRO Award in the space of three years. It was at Eastwest that Steve first teamed with Bonfire partner Ed Catto, an accomplished brand marketer with similar vested interests in comics and comic culture. Their lunchtime conversations and debates were known to often frighten their colleagues. Prior to joining Eastwest, Steve spent two years as VP, Group Creative Director at The Guild Group, establishing that agency’s West Coast office and entertainment marketing practice.

In 1992, Steve founded GB!/The Chelsea Group, a promotional marketing division of Griffin Bacal/DDB Worldwide with an expertise in youth and families. During his 5-year tenure as Senior Vice-President and Creative Director, he put his talents as creative conceptualist, copywriter and producer to work for Nestlé, Stride Rite, Celestial Seasonings, Twentieth Century-Fox Home Entertainment, Disney Publishing, Hasbro, Showtime, Sharp, Topps and Warner Bros., among others. His greatest accomplishment there, he feels, was the creation of Family Game Night, an initiative of Milton Bradley and Parker Bros. (now Hasbro Games) that continues to this day, bringing families closer together on a regular basis to enjoy a game, but more importantly, to enjoy each other. The concept also served as the basis of the live action game show airing on The Hub cable network.

Earlier in his career, he served as VP, Creative Director of Saatchi & Saatchi’s Howard Marlboro Group, developing creative promotions for brands including Miller Brewing, Hardee’s, Kellogg’s, Beefeater and Cutty Sark. He also spent five years in various creative capacities at CBS, starting as a copywriter with the network’s toy division and ending as Manager of Editorial Services for their CBS Software publishing venture. In between, he managed to promote a few albums and artists for CBS Records.

After graduating from Cornell, Steve began his career in marketing and promotion at Games Magazine, serving as assistant to the Promotion Director and as the magazine’s specialist in college marketing. Steve is a lifelong New Yorker and lives in Manhattan with his wife, Diana, a clinical psychologist, their daughters, Natasha and Aleksandra, their cat, Rajah, and well over 2,000 movies. His toy and comic book collection resides in a storage facility in New Jersey.