Publicis lures Fernandez from TBWA as CCO of re-engineered US creative

Publicis in the US has hired Renato Fernandez from Omnicom’s TBWA\Chiat\Day as its first CCO across all its creative agencies. He will report to Susie Nam, CEO of Publicis Creative US who joined earlier from Droga5 (both below.)

Fernandez says: “What Publicis is building got me incredibly excited. What they did with Marcel, then Le Truc, then PXP — they’re always ahead of the curve. What really sweetened the deal was Susie. When you have a leader who is not the creative leader but still believes in creativity more than anything … she is such a driving force.”

Nam says: “We have these amazing, storied brands that have been a big part of the fabric of our industry for so long. We have newer ones, we have older ones, and they cover the footprint across America. What Renato’s role is meant to do is help feed, nourish and sharpen all of the thinking and make them even better than they already are.”

Publicis agencies in the US include Leo Burnett, Saatchi & Saatchi, Fallon, Team One, BBH, The Community, Turner Duckworth and MSL with Le Truc, which includes creatives from all of them, sitting on top.

All the holding compaines are trying to re-engineer their creative agencies to varying degrees, not least because the old legacy Madison Avenue agencies are losing billings and hence income. The world’s biggest advertisers are also mostly running holding company pitches, WPP won Coca-Cola on this basis with its OpenX agency, which currently seems to be spearheaded by Ogilvy offshoot David.

Publicis dramatically enlarged its original brief helping Pfizer with “creative production” to all creative, starting with a Super Bowl ad from Le Truc. This prompted losing agency groups WPP and Interpublic to downgrade their overall financial forecasts, indicating a major loss of revenue.

Quite what impact one creative head honcho can have is open to debate but focussing on such mega-clients is probably the most productive route. Publicis leads the field in most things these days and Le Truc looks like a winning idea. But it also keeps its legacy brands alive for the most part, taking a pragmatic view of so-called rationalisation despite all the talk about its ‘Power of One.’ WPP has taken a different course, merging VMLY&R and Wunderman Thompson (both earlier mergers) into one VML.

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