FCB Team Takes Gatorade Lead

Veteran FCB creative partners Danny Schuman and Joe Burke have been promoted to group creative director posts and will oversee the agency’s key Gatorade account.

“They’ve done a great job creating work, but I challenged them to organize the Gatorade [teams],” said Bob Dreveny, executive creative director at the Chicago shop. “That can get delicate; there are no puppies on Gatorade.”

About 12 to 16 creatives, most of them senior, work on various components of Quaker Oats Co.’s Gatorade brand. Schuman and Burke will report to Dreveny, who previously oversaw work on the brand directly. Schuman and Burke, who will be two of six group creative directors at the shop, will also continue to handle Quaker’s Life cereal.

As a team, copywriter Schuman and art director Burke’s portfolio includes Gatorade spots like the current “Action Figures” and the acclaimed “Be like Mike” and “Mike and Mia” spots.

Schuman has been working on Quaker and Gatorade for 10 years, coming to FCB five years ago when the agency acquired the brand’s previous shop, Bayer Bess Vanderwarker. Burke came to FCB from J. Walter Thompson at about the same time as the BBV acquisition. The two have partnered since.

Key teams on Gatorade remain Colin Costello and Geoff Edwards, and Debby DiPrizio and Carolyn Bergen, all creative directors. While Schuman and Burke will also continue to produce, they said their new roles will give them “a better idea of the entire pool.”

“We’ve been focussed on the spots we’ve done as a team,” Schuman said. “Now we’ll be involved with the rest of the work.”

Said Burke, “We’ll take a piece of it ourselves and won’t compete head to head with the other teams we sort of govern over.”

Quaker is expected to be acquired by PepsiCo this summer. That sale, combined with FCB parent True North Communications’ pending sale to the Interpublic Group of Companies, which handles the bulk of Coca-Cola’s advertising, has led to questions about FCB’s future with Quaker and, specifically, Gatorade.

Dreveny and other FCB executives don’t yet have answers to those questions, but are proceeding as if nothing will change.