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Element79

Canice Neary Out at Element 79? (Update: Yes)

It looks like Canice Neary has left Element 79 almost just as quietly as he took over the creative reins last year at the Chicago-based agency. While Neary is still listed on the Element 79 management page, spies say his 11-year run at the agency ended as of last Friday. According to his LinkedIn, Neary appears to be quite the Mad Men fan as he’s now listed as a “free agent” and “special assistant to Peggy Olsen” at Cutler Gleason and Chaough.

Anyhow, Neary stepped up to the top creative role at Element 79 soon after Dennis Ryan left to take the CCO job at Olson. During his decade-plus stint at the agency, Neary led creative on accounts including Supercuts. Prior to Element, the creative had media and creative stints at the likes of DDB, Lowe & Partners and W+K. We’re trying to get official confirmation from the E79 camp about Neary’s departure. We’ll keep you posted. Update: It’s confirmed.

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Is Element 79 Suffering from Loss of Harris Biz?

We’ve reached out several times to Chicago’s Element 79 but have no word, though from what we hear, the agency is still suffering from the loss of Harris Bank last year. One tipster paints a rather dire portrait, alleging that “layoffs at element 79 due to harris. 6 people let go and probably more to come with other client losses looks like element is in dire straits. Brian Williams the CEO to blame for all the loses. Once [former partner/CCO Dennis Ryan] left the agency to go to Olson the place has never been able to bounce back. Canice Neary the head creative has not helped the agency at all and he  stays under the radar.  They only have 4-5 accounts left. An agency that have 270 people three years ago is now down to 35 people left.”

Element79 Staffers Sing its Praises in 10th Anniversary Clip

Though he just split to become the first-ever CCO at Olson, Dennis Ryan seemed to have enjoyed his time at his former employer, Element79, saying it “has the best culture of any place I’ve ever worked with” in this clip. Apparently, most of the staff agrees in this six-minute testimonial to the agency called “Faces,” which celebrates E79′s 10th anniversary.

Despite the fond memories shared, the visual presentation and the spacey new-age music playing in the background give the video a dramatic, PSA-like quality and mutes the celebration a tad. Well, with their creative chief now headed up to Minneapolis, maybe it’s just better off this way.

Raw and Uncut

“More on e79. The hugely-salaried Group Creative Directors responsible for Gatorade, Pepsico, and Quaker losses are all STAYING. All of ‘em. Telling employees they are ‘bulletproof’. No senior creative management is paying the price for devestating losses? Staff is stunned. Why won’t ecd dennis ryan fire any of his GCDs? Is it Bush-like refusal to see problems? Or is there a deal at e79 protecting certain people regardless of performance?”

Raw and Uncut

“More on e79. The hugely-salaried Group Creative Directors responsible for Gatorade, Pepsico, and Quaker losses are all STAYING. All of ‘em. Telling employees they are ‘bulletproof’. No senior creative management is paying the price for devestating [sic] losses? Staff is stunned. Why won’t ecd dennis ryan fire any of his GCDs? Is it Bush-like refusal to see problems? Or is there a deal at e79 protecting certain people regardless of performance?”

Element 9 Loses Quaker Foods & Snacks, Chris Miller May be Departing

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We have confirmed that Element 79 has lost their business with Quaker Foods and Snacks. PJ Finopoli, Quaker’s VP of communications informed us of the decision late last night.

In what was referred to as a “difficult decision”, Finopoli informed us that, “Quaker has gone in a new direction with its advertising…(it was decided) that the brands could benefit from new creative direction…now is the time to consider a switch.”

Our spy tells us Quaker accounted for 15 percent of the agency’s business. Quaker had been on the shop’s client list for a “long time”. Remember when we reported E79 had laid off some 30 (well, 35 in total) employees in June? As SuperSpy put it, “Once, They Were Kings“.

Furthermore, we’re told that Chris Miller, recently appointed chief digital officer, isn’t long for the E79 world. Whether by his choice or not, he may not be working there much longer. More on that to come.

More: Element79… Um, Again?

Element9… Um, Again?

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Seriously, aren’t you tired of hearing about Element79? The shop was once filled with Kings, the promise of the ad world only to recently fall far done the ranks to pleeb. We hear that John Fraser, President, New Ventures, is leaving Element for greener pastures unknown. Fraser could not be reached for comment and the agency didn’t respond to our phone call or email, so you know…

In a post on our long lost WordPress site (sniffle, sniffle), an entry called “Get The Crash Cart” by the long lost DownLow had 52 comments full of speculation and commentary about the shop. One poster said Fraser was going to say sayanora, but obviously, that didn’t happen. Who knows if dude is out this time? Tipsters say yes and really, how much longer is he going to hold on? In fact, the hard working team at Element must be shaken and stirred. It can’t be easy to keeo the nose to the grindstone while deal higher ups play a tough game of musical chairs.

Everyone was skeptical in 2002 when the agency spiraled from the breast of Omnicom with one client, Pepsi, which was estimated to be about $400M. Their name is a reference to gold on the Periodic Table of Elements and reflects the agency’s objective of achieving the highest level of work. For awhile they earnestly lived up to it. In 2003, they picked up Supercuts. By 2004 to 2005, the shop was nailing huge accounts like Yum Brands (valued at $40M) and Alticor.

And then, it started to slip away from them with Pepsi and Tropicana bailing on the shop. They lost Long John Silver’s. They did pick up Celebrity Cruises this past year, but that hardly makes up for the the big dollars of Pepsi. They couldn’t close the deal on Marshall’s, Orbitz, Jeep or New Balance, which ended up in the hands of BBDO. Much more has taken place including rounds and rounds of lay-offs and creatives bouncing from the agency.

Gosh. I’m not sure what the issue is over at Element. I’ve asked around and everyone seems quite dumbstruck. Little help please? Fill us in and we’ll post it so everyone can have a deeper understanding.
Email – superspyin at gmail dot com

More on Element9, 35 Layoffs Total

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Below is a report from Chicago Sun Times reporter Lewis Lazare, which states that a total of 35 people were laid off from Element 79, not 30 as we reported last week.

With 15 percent of their staff gone, expectations of a reflex move by the company are high. But how they’ll regain stature in the market that’s forcing layoffs across the board is unknown, probably even to CEO Brian Williams.

See the full story after the jump.

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Element9 Lays Off 30, 20 Quit

Well this is annoying. I just called Element 79 to get details about some interesting info I happened upon (well, that was whispered in my ear). But when I asked for PR, I got some dude who passed me off to HR. HR passed me off to PR, but wouldn’t give me their number.

So now I’m annoyed. Still, I’m not really that surprised, and you won’t be either, when you read what’s after the jump. Click continue to find out more.

Updates after the jump.

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Once They Were Kings: Element9

Yes, Element79 is in the shitter, but do you remember when they turned out great spots like this one featuring young Michael Jordan versus his older self? Damn. Good stuff.

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