The trend for big ad holding companies to hire client-specific creatives continues with Guillermo Vega, former CCO of Saatchi & Saatchi in London and before that senior at 72andSunny and Wieden+kennedy, as Ogilvy’s global creative lead on Coca-Cola, now ensconced at Ogilvy owner WPP’s bespoke OpenX Coke agency. Vega will join that too.
A couple of weeks back Publicis-owned Saatchi New York hired Ciro Sarmiento from Weber Shandwick to lead creative on P&G’s Tide account – a life devoted to detergent doesn’t seem the most compelling creative prospect.
Vega says; “Ogilvy’s ambition is unparalleled and the migration of talent to the agency is impossible to resist. The opportunity to help shape the future of The Coca-Cola Company and its beloved brands in a period of accelerated transformation is the kind of challenge that will define the future of our industry for years to come. Creativity and innovation are what drive me forward, and OpenX from WPP is the kind of challenge that gets me excited. I can’t be happier to be part of Ogilvy’s global network and to be returning to New York.”
Ogilvy CCO Liz Taylor says: “When it came to finding someone for this role Guillermo’s talent, expertise and background were a perfect match for the ambition of OpenX. Not only is he a champion of ideas that travel, but he is a builder who has repeatedly grown agencies from the ground up. We are excited for all the boundary-breaking, culture-shifting work that we’ll do together for The Coca-Cola Company and its iconic portfolio of brands.”
The appointment of Vega, who seemed to leave Saatchi because of a desire to return top the US, raises a number of issues.
Is Ogilvy actually doing the heavy lifting for OpenX, although presumably the likes of Wunderman Thompson will be involved on what we used to call the direct marketing side. If senior creatives are now emigrating to single account roles what does this say about the ad holding company agency brands? Does the need for one creative figurehead on a huge account testify to a shortage of talent across agency creative departments?
Dentsu has already lumped all its creative agencies into Dentsu Creative. Publicis has a big new company-wide creative entity in New York called Le Truc. It wouldn’t be a surprise if we have one WPP Creative in a few years’ time, with far fewer people than currently.
Maybe clients are insisting that there’s more continuity on big accounts, which, in turn, places huge responsibility on the creatives involved. If they can’t hack a problem who else is left to have a go?
Interesting times, as the Chinese say (with a certain trepidation.)