Opportunity Knocks

Ad Age takes an accusatory tone in an article about top level creatives leaving one shop for another.

McGarryBowen has been stealing Walt Disney Co.’s theme-parks creative work away from Leo Burnett, and now it’s swiping some of Burnett’s Disney creatives as well.
The independent New York-based agency has hired Ned Crowley and Jonathan Moore as executive creative directors. The two held similar positions at Chicago-based Burnett, where they worked on a wide swath of accounts including Disney and Hallmark Cards.
“There are few people in this business who know how to tell a story with heart and a smile,” Gordon Bowen, chief creative officer of McGarryBowen, said in a statement. “They will be a huge asset for this agency, and I can’t wait for our clients to see the results.”

Do agency personnel actually belong to the agency that employs them? I think not.

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About David Burn

Native Nebraskan seeking the perfect pale ale in the Pacific Northwest. Disc golfer. Fan of Kurt Vonnegut, community radio and wolves in the wild. Copywriter and brand strategist at Bonehook. Co-founder and editor of AdPulp.

  • theo kie

    The big question will be what kind of non-compete agreements Crowly and Moore signed.
    Burnett’s high-level creatives have, in the past, signed one-year, non-compete agreements that say they not only won’t work for any agency pieces of business, but also any in-town agencies. People at EURO RSCG say Postaer had to postpone his start at Euro RSCG by several months.
    If McGarryBowen attempts to say they can hire Crowly and Moore because they’re a New York shop, it may delay their establishing any serious roots in Chicago (i.e. an office in which the two can work) until 2008. I’m sure the lawyers are already filling out the invoices to come.

  • veedub

    Do agency personnel actually belong to the agency that employes them?
    i’m guessing disney thinks not.
    and what are burnett going to do. sue disney? sue mcgarrybowen? they blew it. it’s over. move on.

  • http://www.bullshitobserver.com Todd

    well, it’s not a story without drama.
    Shoot, creatives need to move just in order to bask in the warm glow of employer admiration again. Even if it only lasts five minutes. After that five minutes is up, you’re shit again until your first big win – in which case you get another two minutes.

  • theo kie

    I agree with you, Todd. I think it’s rediculous that agencies have employees sign non-compete agreements.
    What can Burnett do? They can wrap the creatives in cour and put the hiring agency in a situation where it’s key players are distracted by legal proceedings. From what I’ve heard, there are often hefty stock options that can also be held back, costing the former employees tens of thousands of dollars.
    I was asked to sign one of these after being at an agency for several years. An attorney friend told the agreement wasn’t legally binding – unless I signed it – and suggested I say “no”. But a good friend in the agency HR department told me upper management kept list of people who didn’t sign, and those people would be earmarked for layoffs. It’s a nasty practice.