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Mark Wnek: The Elephant In The Room At Lowe New York

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Mark Wnek. Oh boy… A recent explosion over Wnek and the agency he runs, Lowe New York, comes by way of vicious comments on the Adscam blog. Parker wrote what appeared to be a simple shout out to Lowe who recently won the Price Waterhouse Cooper account. You may be surprised that Lowe won the negligible account, but you can’t possibly be shocked that a shit storm about Wnek is taking place. Everyone has a story about Wnek – good and bad. The man has been kicking around the business for eons. We bet you have a story, too.

So, Lowe. You never hear anything about Lowe New York anymore. The shop was once a bright, albeit always troubled, spot on Madison Avenue. Since Wnek has come along, the shop has fallen into a strange obscurity of sorts. Good creatives atrophy away in that new office of theirs, while Wnek pens post after post for the ad journos. So, what’s the deal? You be the judge from our patch work time line below:

April 2005Mark Wnek became the New York chairman and chief creative officer at Lowe in 2005 prompting articles with the title, “Is Mark Wnek The New King Of New York?”

Sept 2005 – He instituted a leadership team that included creative director, John Hobbs and Peter Rosch from DDB. Also along for the ride was Fernanda Romano, an interactive wunderkind from Sao Paulo Brasil.

August 2006 – “Two-thirds of the second tier of creative leadership at Lowe in New York – executive creative directors Peter Rosch and John Hobbs – leave the shop after less than a year.”

January 2006Sal Taibi is named the agency’s president.

February 2006 – CEO Susan Cantor leaves Lowe.

April 2006 – They lose out on the Beck’s review to Ground Zero.

Time line continues after the jump.
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March 2006 – Lowe promotes Thomas Guerin to director of account management.

May 2006 – Electrolux shifted its creative and media duties Lowe, New York to DDB, New York. Electrolux Home Care Products was also planning to move duties for its vacuum cleaners, which were also at Lowe. Meanwhile, Lowe Worldwide remained the global AOR. Crap. Cut out the New York office? Crap. Crap. Crap.

June 2006Nancy Hill joins Lowe as President. Client Mass Mutual puts its account up for review.

August 2006 – Lowe executive creative director Dean Hacohen leaves to join Cramer-Krasselt. He was close to Wnek’s predecessor, chief creative officer Gary Goldsmith.

September 2006 – Lowe beats out W+K to win XM Satellite Radio, which is now at McCann.

May 2007 – Romano shifts to Lowe Latina amid much speculation.

September 2007 – Saab moves their account to McCann.

December 2007 – Lowe wins the Aquos brand of televisions.

July 2007 – The Splenda account moves onto BBDO. J&J also moves some other work out of the Alchemy business at Lowe.

August 2007Nancy Hill, CEO of Lowe New York, departs for greener pastures after allegedly battling it out with Wnek. She leaves without another job to go to. As we all know, Hill is now heading up the 4A’s. She’s doing a darn good job at it, too.

May 2008Serge Del Grosso, who was Lowe’s managing director of media strategy, leaves to join MPG.

February 2008 – Lowe picks up creative and media duties for the Aruba Tourism Authority.

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Whew. Keep in mind the shop also lost Gordon’s Seafood and Darden’s Smokey Bones somewhere in there, as well. We may have missed some minor wins, but it’s a pretty good shake down overall. Meanwhile, Lowe global is sailing along just fine and dandy.

What’s the deal? Everyone points the finger at Wnek. Can you blame the downfall of an entire shop on one person? Yes. Is it all Wnek’s fault? Maybe. Riddle us this – if he’s all that bad (tipsters we’re looking at you) how does he keep his job? Seriously. Need to know.

The comment section awaits.

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