Pelle Sjoenell, the Worldwide Chief Creative Officer of BBH, is the latest advertising leader to make the move to a tech company. After 12 years at BBH, he’s going to be chief creative officer at Activision Blizzard, a video game company whose titles include Call of Duty and Candy Crush Saga.
Sjoenell has a lot of expectations to meet: Activision’s CEO told Ad Age that he was “looking for my Jonny Ive.” But he’s used to filling big shoes — Pelle took over John Hegarty’s role at BBH and was only the second person ever to hold the global CCO title. At BBH, Swedish-born Sjoenell was the driver behind setting up the agency’s Los Angeles office in 2010; even back then he wanted to bring advertising and technology closer together.
The move is the latest in a list of high profile advertising creatives going into the tech sector. Nick Law, Publicis Groupe’s global CCO left for Apple in June, and a couple of years ago Grey’s global CCO, Tor Myhren, also joined Apple. Crispin Porter + Bogusky’s former CEO, Andrew Keller, went to run Facebook’s in-house Creative Shop, and Grey London’s joint CCO, Caroline Pay, is now CCO of meditation app, Headspace.
BBH has appointed Joakim Borgrstrom, the CCO of BBH Singapore, as Sjoenell’s successor. He’s been at BBH for five years, starting as a group creative director in London in 2014 before moving to Singapore in 2016. The Singapore office has since made a name for itself with work including “Human Catalogue” for Ikea and “Hypercourt” for Nike.
Neil Munn, global chief executive officer of BBH said: “Pelle has been with BBH for over a decade and has made a substantial contribution to our business in that time. He set up our thriving office in LA and has nurtured our accelerating presence across North America. Of course, you never want to lose a great leader, but we do so with excitement for what lies ahead in his next chapter, and a sense of pride in what he will go on to achieve.
I am delighted that we are able to promote Jab into the worldwide chief creative officer role. He is proven on the global stage and, after five years as a Black Sheep, is already a fine carrier of the BBH creative flag. Jab’s progressive view on creativity is sure to be an energising catalyst for the whole of our business.”
Pelle Sjoenell said: “To lead BBH creatively has been the honor of my life. To have worked alongside Neil Munn, my partner in crime, and had the mentorship of Sir John Hegarty, my hero, has been absolutely incredible and I am eternally grateful. I never thought I’d do anything else after 12 years, but Activision and the future of gaming hits right where my dreams and passions have always lied.”
Joakim Borgström (who, impressively, speaks Spanish, Swedish, English, French and Catalan) said: “I feel honoured and humbled to have been given the responsibility to carry the Black Sheep flag and walk it into the future. I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity. If this is a dream, please don’t wake me up.” He has previously worked at agencies including Wieden + Kennedy and Goodby Silverstein.