Droga Dodges Boredom And Irrelevance

I, like many of you probably did, read last week about David Droga’s departure from Publicis, where the 37-year old ad whiz held the Worldwide Creative Director post. The story didn’t interest me all that much, until today when I happened to read Dean Gemmel’s take on it.

This is a guy with the kind of job most creatives once dreamed about — power, independence, gobs of cash, perhaps an assistant hired largely to deflect underlings and apply suntan lotion while sitting poolside at Cannes — and he’s decided that it’s, er, not so great.
More telling is the fact that he’s leaving to start a “non-advertising business.” As in thoroughly unrelated to the current advertising agency business model. You know things are amiss when a guy who can pretty much write his own ticket takes a walk.
Droga said, “I’m having a great career, but I’ve spent it working under other people’s models.”
In other words, “I’m smart enough to see there’s not an especially exciting future as the global creative director of a company restricted by a business model that has reached the point of diminishing returns. In fact, I’m too smart to waste my time hanging out here and trying to make it work.”

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. Carl LaFong says:

    According to an article in the most recent Adweek, Mr. Droga was at Publicis for three and a half years. In all that time, can anyone think of even one memorable campaign that bore his stamp? I don’t mean to question his no-doubt considerable talent. But I can’t help but wonder if his leaving is in part related to his inability to overcome the stifling bureaucracy and creative inertia that tend to afflict larger agencies. How many of these advertising “superstars” are brought into these shops accompanied by massive loads of hype about how they are going to turn things around – and upside down – only to leave with their tails tucked between their legs?

  2. Great point about creative superstars failing to turn around the ocean freighter that is a multinational ad agency. I would agree that’s been the case throughout the history of these kind of hires. I do believe, however, that Droga had managed the feat and made a significant impact, improving the work of Publicis around the world. When it comes to truly memorable campaigns, I believe it’s nearly impossible to create them in the now forever fractured media environment. Like it or not, it’s become about achieving small, incremental victories for today’s creatives.

  3. I agree with Dean,
    Not only has Droga taken Publicis out of the creative wilderness, he has the guts to walk away from a certain comfort zone. Not many of us would have that sort of confidence.
    Oh and by the way, just off the top of my head I recall the Heineken work and TBS campaign which is pretty damn good.