Saatchi Losing Its Top Creative On Toyota
LOS ANGELES–Saatchi & Saatchi is losing the top creative executive on its $450 million Toyota account.
Joe McDonagh, 42, executive creative director at Saatchi & Saatchi Los Angeles, is leaving at the end of the month to take a similar position across town at Ogilvy & Mather. No replacement has been named.
“I look forward to the opportunity to work nationally and internationally on [O&M’s] blue-chip accounts,” said McDonagh, who has worked at Saatchi for six years, the past three of those at its Torrance, Calif., office.
Saatchi Los Angeles chief executive officer Scott Gilbert said last week that a search is already under way and a replacement may be found internally. “We’re losing a major resource,” he said of McDonagh, who was to help lead the agency’s pitch for the $10-12 million SunAmerica account. The shop is quitting that review to concentrate on developing new Toyota advertising, including the May launch of the Tundra, a new full-size truck.
The agency is also breaking national TV, print and outdoor ads this week touting Toyota Camry’s status for the second year in a row as the country’s top-selling car. Toyota sold nearly 430,000 Camrys in 1998, according to the Torrance, Calif.-based company.
At O&M, McDonagh assumes the lead creative role previously held by Bill Stenton, who left the shop last month to pursue a music career. He will partner with agency executive managing director Jerry McGee, who called McDonagh a “first-rate” creative director. “This is a real coup for the agency,” he added.
The hiring of McDonagh is the latest effort by Rick Boyko, chief creative director of O&M North America, to improve the creative product throughout the agency’s nine-office network. Boyko said he sought a creative director for the Los Angeles post who was well-respected within the ad community. “I wanted someone who could attract talented people and hopefully help us bring in new and interesting business,” he said. “Joe is that guy.”
While McDonagh’s key task will be to oversee creative work on O&M’s Los Angeles accounts, including Mattel, PacifiCare, Mongoose Bicycles and Kraft’s kids cereals, he will also be called upon to work on accounts in other O&M offices, said Boyko.
Separately, O&M is expected to win the estimated $16 million Mail Boxes Etc. account, said sources. The other contenders are incumbent Kenneth C. Smith Advertising, La Jolla, Calif., DDB Needham Chicago and J. Walter Thompson, San Francisco. The client said a winner will be announced later this month; the agencies declined to comment.
Get Adweek's Brand Marketing Daily Newsletter in your Inbox
Today's highs and lows of creativity