McCann Announces New Creative Hires

As we told you two days ago, McCann has indeed poached Senior Creative Director Grant Smith, best known for his work on AT&T, from BBDO.

The press release gives us a few additional details: it appears that Smith will indeed be working under newly-minted North American CCO Eric Silver–and he’s not the only creative McCann hired.

In addition to Smith, Caprice Yu will also join the agency as ECD.

Yu had been freelancing for McCann for the past several months after leaving her ECD position at Sid Lee New York. She served as art director at 180 Amsterdam and BBH New York before leaving for an interactive ACD role at CP+B in 2010 along with Tim Geoghegan (currently creative director at New York’s TM Creative). After just over a year with Crispin, she returned to BBH, which promoted her to CD in 2012 before she left for Sid Lee.

The McCann release also included a new headshot for Smith:

grant smith 2

The money quote from Silver:

“We are truly excited to welcome Grant and Caprice. They both have an amazing history of answering creative briefs in thoughtful and provocative ways.”

The two new ECDs will presumably work across multiple accounts and report to Silver, who in turn reports to McCann Worldgroup Creative Chairman Rob Reilly.

Eric Silver Joins McCann as North American CCO

Eric-Silver-PictureThis morning McCann confirmed what it couldn’t discuss last week: Eric Silver of Silver+Partners is closing his agency to become its regional CCO for North America.

The story started building back in early November, when we heard that CarMax would be shopping around for a new agency. Later that month, Silver+Partners had to lay off an undisclosed number of its staffers after losing what was its biggest client (the account is now with McKinney).

The press release from McCann confirms what a source first told us more than a week ago: Silver+Partners will soon close its doors after just over two years.

Silver’s resume looks like a who’s who of major American agencies: after starting his career at TBWA/Chiat/Day, he spent time at W+K Portland and BBDO before joining DDB New York. Way back in 2010, Silver left his CCO position at DDB New York to be replaced by Matt Eastwood (currently CCO at JWT). Silver, who told AdAge at the time that he “wasn’t having that much fun at my last job,” soon acquired a majority share in New York’s Amalgamated and renamed it nearly two years later.

In the release, he writes:

“I honestly loved every minute of the past four years at Amalgamated and then Silver + Partners, with 2014 being the agency’s best year by far. And we had a blast…With that said, I couldn’t be more excited to join McCann.”

This hire is the latest move made by McCann Worldgroup Creative Chairman Rob Reilly, who joined the agency early last year after leaving CP+B.

No word on when Silver+Partners will officially close or what will happen to its employees. Silver has promised to offer more details later today; updates when we get them.

We Hear: CarMax Shopping for a New Agency

This week we received a few tips claiming that CarMax — used car retailer, Fortune 500 company, buyer of Super Bowl ad spots — might be shopping around for a new agency.

The agency (formerly Amalgamated, in which DDB vet Eric Silver bought a controlling stake) has counted CarMax as a client for several years, most recently earning extensive media attention for the “Slow Clap” spot that aired during this year’s Super Bowl.

Yes, there was a puppy version. The campaign marked an extremely successful return to Super Bowl ads for CarMax, which sat out the big game for two years. It also prompted calls by consumer groups for the FTC to sue the company for false advertising, but there have been no updates on those claims since June.

Our sources claim that Silver+Partners will not be working on this year’s CarMax Super Bowl spot and that the company may be looking for a new creative AOR; we’ve received no comment from the agency after repeated requests.

(On a side note, CarMax was the first brand to abandon the L.A. Clippers in the wake of Donald Sterling’s infamous time in the media spotlight this spring.)

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CCO Matt Eastwood Leaves DDB for JWT

The move is now official: agency vet Matt Eastwood has left his position as CCO at DDB New York to become worldwide chief creative officer at JWT (or, as they’d prefer, the J. Walter Thompson Company).

The Australian-turned-New Yorker worked with DDB in his home country and served as CCO at Y&R before he replaced a departing Eric Silver in the agency’s Manhattan office almost exactly four years ago.

Eastwood brings an extensive portfolio to the new role; he scored the #5 spot on the Ad Age “most awarded” list for 2013, and his name has appeared atop the credits for recent campaigns featuring everything from bearded, lottery-playing hipsters to seniors who never remember to wear their condoms.

Beginning next month, Eastwood will report directly to JWT global president Gustavo Martinez. He will be the first to fill the global CCO role since the 2009 departure of Craig Davis, who left to rejoin the continent of Australia.

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And Now, a Quick Burlington Coat Factory Review Update

We truly had no idea the creative account was in review for retail chain Burlington Coat Factory, where we’ve bought our share of oversized jackets and what not back in the day for half the price. But apparently, it is so, and from what we’re hearing from sources in the know, Silver+Partners–aka, the Eric Silver-run, New York-based shop formerly known as Amalgamated–is in the mix. S+P would not comment on the matter and we’ve yet to hear back from BCF, which has worked most recently with Cramer-Krasselt.

Building on what we initially reported a month ago, C-K hasn’t worked with the brand for the past three months and only did project work involving concepting creative but did not produce actual creative, which was handled in-house by the client. This, like before, leaves us a bit confused considering that in 2008, it was reported that Burlington Coat Factory awarded the agency its creative duties following a review. Whatever the case, C-K was invited to participated in BCF’s current review, but declined. While spies are saying Silver+Partners is taking on the biz, we’re hearing that it’s yet to be awarded. We’ll keep you posted.

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