Go South Old Man

Adweek: After more than 20 years working in New York at some of the nation’s biggest agencies, Bob Potesky abandoned the capital of advertising for the capital of Mississippi.
A former creative director at WPP Group’s Young & Rubicam, Potesky last month accepted the position of executive creative director at The Ramey Agency, a 55-person shop in Jackson, Miss., that claims about $30 million in billings. That may seem like an unusual move in the upwardly mobile advertising world, but executives said factors ranging from 2001’s terrorist attacks to a tough economy in New York to the tightening screws of the holding companies on big agency life have made smaller shops in the South a more viable option than in the past. To lure talent from the North, Southern agencies use creative freedom and lifestyle perks to counter the salary disparities and unattractive stereotypes of life south of the Mason-Dixon line.
Talent Zoo in Atlanta, which operates a job board and recruits talent for shops nationwide, said the Southeast, led by Atlanta and Miami, is one of the most desired regions for job seekers. In fact, there are more ad people wanting to move south than there are jobs available for them, said Ragan Jones, associate vp of recruiting for the firm.
According to Talent Zoo, the median salary for a creative director in New York is $230,000; in Atlanta, it’s $184,000 for the same job. But, executives who have made the move say the cost of living makes that a moot point.



About David Burn

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. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.