Well, we didn’t see this coming but sources familiar with the matter confirm that after just a summer at the helm of the creative department at DDB California, Jason Elm and the agency have “mutually agreed” to part ways. Elm joined DDB Cali (consisting of L.A. and San Francisco) as chief creative officer in early June, taking over for Lisa Bennett, who stepped down from her post but was eventually appointed as EVP/creative for DDB North America.
Prior to DDB, as you may know, Elm spent 15 years at Deutsch LA, where he last served EVP/group creative director on Diamond Foods and PlayStation. We’ve been told be sources that DDB is planning to fill the position.
In case you haven’t heard the news today, 15-year Deutsch LA vet Jason Elm, who last served as EVP/group creative director on Diamond Foods and Playstation (he was joined by 180LA alum Gavin Lester on the latter account late last year) has assumed the chief creative officer post at DDB California. Elm assumes a position that’s been left vacant at the Omnicom-owned agency’s Cali operations (L.A., San Francisco) since January when Lisa Bennettstepped down from her CCO role. Bennett has since been appointed as EVP/creative for DDB North America.
As for Elm, during his lengthy stay at Deutsch LA, where he started as a copywriter, the senior creative subsequently played a major role in PlayStation efforts, creating the Twitter feed for @TheKevinButler and leading creative on the award-winning “Michael” work for the console. His new boss, DDB California (formerly DDB West) CEO Mike Harris, speaks his name and sings his praises in a statement, saying, “Jason was recently, and rightly so, named to Business Insider’s ‘people most-sought after by rival agencies’ list. He is a creative genius and a superstar in the industry and I have no doubt that his creative vision will elevate the level of our work, across departments.”
We’ve received confirmation from an agency source that Lisa Bennett, who has spent the last 10 years at DDB and has most recently served as chief creative offier of what is now DDB West (the SF and LA offices, essentially), will be leaving her post by the end of Q1 of this year. From what we’ve been told, Bennett “…will continue to serve as chairman of the DDB North American Creative Council. In addition, she will work as EVP, North America, reporting directly to Mark O’Brien, president of DDB North America, where she will assist with new business and creative across North America and globally, as needed.”
Our DDB source adds that the Omnicom-owned agency network is planning to find a new CCO for DDB West, which has worked with clients including ConAgra, Johnson & Johnson, Wells Fargo as well as several Clorox brands. As for Bennett, the exec joined DDB’s San Francisco office as managing partner/CCO in 2003 from Leo Burnett, where she spent 15 years of her career.
Once again, tipsters were on to something as we’ve finally received official word that DDB has made some changes in its LA office this week. No, it wasn’t the “gutting” of the office that was being alleged on the Spy line. Instead, the agency has parted ways with Nick Bishop and Erik Moe, who have served as president/CEO and co-chief creative officer, respectively, of DDB LA.
Bishop (pictured) joined the agency in 2007 from G2. During his career, the exec spent 15 years at various global McCann offices and had a stint on the client side at VP of consumer connections for Coca-Cola. Moe, meanwhile, had been at the creative helm at DDB L.A. for three years and previously served as a CD at agencies including TBWA\Chiat\Day LA and Goodby. Here’s a statement from a DDB U.S. spokesperson confirming the pair’s departure:
“Based on the strategic direction we have set for DDB West, we have mutually agreed with Nick Bishop, LA office President, and Erik Moe, LA office Co-Chief Creative Officer, to part ways. We are greatly appreciative of their contributions to DDB over the past few years, and wish them the best in their next endeavors. The LA and San Francisco offices operate jointly as DDB West, and as such, will report into DDB West President Mary Moudry and Chief Creative Officer Lisa Bennett. No further personnel changes are planned.”
Currently, DDB West counts clients including ConAgra, Johnson & Johnson, Wells Fargo and The Clorox Company (Clorox, Brita, Pine-Sol, Tilex, Hidden Valley dressings and KC Masterpiece among other brands). Sources familiar with the matter add that current staff count at DDB LA is approximately 30-40.
From DDB’s San Francisco office come three new TV spots for The Partnership @ Drugfree.org’s long-running “Above the Influence” campaign.
Before we dive into these, I’d like to draw your attention to the recent, horrifying anti-meth PSAs we saw from Darren Aronofsky. On a surface level, the PSAs couldn’t look more different, with Aronofsky employing heavy fear tactics and DDB SF attempting to communicate with teenagers using messaging that hinges on positive reinforcement. However, what the two series of PSAs have in common is the fact that each depicts an unrealistic portrayal of drug use. In Aronofsky’s PSAs, a single taste of meth leads to a suicide attempt, and in the above spot, a lack of drinking and smoking weed leads to a teen leaping to school on rooftops a la Spider-Man. Sure, it’s a “visual metaphor,” but as a teen, I viewed this sort of advertising as condescending. After all, it doesn’t take a pharmaceutical degree to know that it’s actually the kids smoking weed that are, in a sense, “flying.”
Here’s the thing, teenagers who read AgencySpy (I know you’re out there): Trying a drug once is not going to kill you, nor will it make you immediately addicted to said drug. However, do too much of a drug, ANY drug, and it will have a substantial negative impact on your life. From a teen’s perspective, though, most things in the world are black and white. To them, drugs have to be either good or bad, so the logical marketing strategy is to portray them as evil vices that will lead to a teen’s untimely demise. We’ve come a long way from “This is Your Brain on Drugs,” but is there a honest, realistic way to depict drug use so teens can make an informed decision their own? So, dear commenters, do we do so through positive reinforcement, fear, or a combination of the two?
Two more spots from DDB SF (including one that employs the “fear factor”) and credits for the one above after the jump.
While we’re on the awards tip, might as well get this out of the way. Apparently, the One Club is feeling quite whimsical at the moment, which explains the theme of their 2012 One Show Call for Entries campaign. Yes, as you see above, everything’s “ONEderful” in the world of the One Show, which will take place the week of May 7, 2012 in NYC. It looks like the halcion kicked in judging by the ONEderful campaign poster above, which was created by D.C.-based Design Army. The deadline for all One Club award shows, as you can see, is January 31 (anyone want to bet we’ll see a deadline extension soon?). You can enter here.
As for your jury list, familiar names like Eric Silver, Steve Simpson, Jeff Benjamin and Will McGinness are all included. Peep it in full after the jump.