It’s Amusing That Jimmy Smith Switched Holding Companies For His New Venture

Veteran TBWA/Chiat/Day Creative Director Jimmy Smith has decided to form a new venture called Amusement Park Entertainment. And while that’s news by itself, what’s more interesting is that he’s decided to have IPG as his backer, not Omnicom, the parent company of TBWA. He’s also spent time at BBDO (also owned by Omnicom) and independent Wieden + Kennedy.

Creativity has the backstory on how the venture got formed:

Amusement Park Entertainment and IPG are not disclosing ownership terms of the co-venture deal. Smith says the partnership came about through suggestions from friends. “I was talking to Jon Kamen, the Chairman of, and he said I should talk to Michael (Roth). So I did. And to my pleasant surprise, that cat got the concept in the blink of an eye. Then Jon told me to talk to Bob Greenberg, founder of R/GA, about IPG. Bob loves Michael and I could feel it from the way he talked about IPG.” One of Smith’s clients then spoke with Roth and told Smith “It was like talking to your granddad,” Smith says. “That was it. I was done! My granddad was off the skillet. Very protective and caring. He was wise as I don’t know what and he was a bad mofo. You didn’t mess with him in Mississippi. I figured if Jon and Bob vouched for Michael and IPG, and if my future client was digging him big time, I wasn’t going to be the dummy who didn’t see the light.” Moreover, “from the very first day I spoke to Michael, the deal we discussed hasn’t changed. He’s old school. A deal’s a deal. Everybody who knows me, knows that’s how I roll. From what Michael has shown me, that’s how he rolls.”

Lest you think all holding companies are the same, they’re not — at least when you’re an agency partner. Omnicom, WPP, IPG, Publicis, MDC, and the others all take a slightly different tack to the way they operate. The stakes are huge, and so are the expectations. Jimmy’s a talented guy so the ad world will be watching, that’s for sure.



About Dan Goldgeier

Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. Dan is also a columnist for and the author of View From The Cheap Seats and Killer Executions and Scrubbed Decks.