180 Taps Gelner as L.A. ECD

NEW YORK William Gelner, group creative director at Bartle Bogle Hegarty here, has left the agency to become executive creative director of the new Los Angeles office of Omnicom Group’s 180, he said.

Gelner, whose final day at BBH was last Friday, was best known for his work on Axe body spray and All detergent. He worked at the agency for five years.

Before joining BBH, he was at Cliff Freeman and Partners, New York, where he worked on Fox Sports and Mike’s Hard Lemonade. Prior to that, he was at Fallon, New York, where he worked on Miller Lite. His first day at 180 will be May 14.

“The kind of work he’s been doing for BBH for Axe is really fresh,” said Richard Bullock, ecd, managing partner at 180. “He seems to be someone going in a new direction, not playing the old 30-second game.” 180 is based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

At BBH, Gelner worked on The Gamekillers and The Order of the Serpentine, two pieces of branded entertainment for Axe.

Gelner joins the Los Angeles office of 180 that currently has about 15 staffers and is expected to double in the next few weeks. He will work on Sony’s U.S. consumer business, which 180 splits with BBDO, and Adidas. He will oversee 10 creative personnel and report to the management team of 180.

New work is expected later this year for Sony. 180 just did a global campaign for Adidas featuring well-known sports stars discussing how they overcame adversity in their lives.

Other recent additions to 180 in Los Angeles are Peter Cline, head of broadcast, managing partner, who transferred from the Amsterdam office, and Mike Allen, managing partner, president. Allen arrives from TBWA\Chiat\Day in San Francisco, where he was president.

Gelner becomes the third ecd at 180, alongside Bullock and Andy Fackrell, ecd, managing partner.

Gelner, 40, is a graduate of University of Texas at Austin and got his first job in advertising as a copywriter at McCann Erickson, New York.

“180 has always been about big and engaging ideas. I think very similarly,” said Gelner. “I like coming up with big ideas that are media agnostic that can travel globally.”