Third Coast Not Coastal Enough

In his column today, Lewis Lazare, examines the short six-month tenure of Michael Folino as DDB/Chicago’s Chief Creative Officer. According to Lazare, Folino is moving to Wieden + Kennedy, where he will be a copywriter.
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Folino’s early departure also is sure to cast a dark shadow over Anderson and Scarpelli, who opted to go with an agency outsider in hiring Folino, a risky move at a creative department not used to being run by outsiders.
But Folino was a dicey choice for another reason: He spent his entire career prior to DDB working at shops on the West Coast, which have vastly different cultures than those of Chicago ad agencies. And recent history has shown creative-staff imports do not fare well at Chicago agencies, which, for better or worse, have much more conservative cultures and clients than what is typically found out West.

The ad biz in Chicago is ruled by suits. Everyone knows that. What I find hard to grasp is why. The arts flourish in Chicago. It is the city for independent theatre, the music scene is jumpin’ and the architecture is through the roof. So why is Chicago’s ad biz lagging, when it ought to be thriving?

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 now head of brand strategy and creative direction at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.