Creative Tandem Joins Young & Rubicam

LOS ANGELES WPP’s Young & Rubicam has hired Brad Berg and Scott Larson as a creative team, said agency president and CEO Penny Baldwin.

Both men will hold the title of executive vice president and executive creative director and oversee all creative for Y&R in San Francisco and its marketing agency, Wunderman.

“This move offers us the best competition on the best playing field,” said Larson. “It was appealing to us to build something with our own shop,” added Berg, referring to XL, the local micro-agency the two co-founded, “but right now the positive momentum seems to be here.” Berg, 42, and Larson, 37, report to Baldwin.

The Berg-Larson partnership dates back to 1990, when they worked at Frankenberry Laughlin Constable, Milwaukee, on accounts such as Miller Brewing. A year later, they moved to the Interpublic Group’s Foote, Cone & Belding, Chicago, then migrated west to FCB’s San Francisco office in 1999. XL opened in 2002. They have been associated with campaigns for Gatorade (“Is it in You?”), Sega, Levi’s Dockers and Taco Bell.

At Y&R, the two expect to “divide and conquer,” as Berg put it. “We share similar views on advertising and marketing and a consistent point of view as to how to look for talent, judge and lead.”

“Brad and I have always handled very large accounts,” explained Larson. “But our business model at XL was not to carry any overhead until we had to, then pull all-stars from the talented freelance pool.” Berg added that Y&R possesses its own group of top players. “Penny has assembled a strong team here,” he said. “Advertising is still about the people who go up and down the elevators.”

“Y&R affords the best of both worlds,” said Baldwin, “Global resources, but a smaller agency of senior talent, an entrepreneurial, passionate staff.” She expects “a cautious return to marketing across the board” in San Francisco, adding that last year alone Y&R S.F. added 10 new accounts. Including Wunderman, the company employs 75 people, with estimated 2002 billings of $182 million.