On a Merry-Go-Round in Atlanta

Comings and Goings Mount at Ogilvy, BBDO South, T.G. Madison
ATLANTA–The face of the advertising community here continued evolving last week in a fresh burst of activity, reflecting the shifting fortunes of several agencies.
The most action occurred at Ogilvy & Mather, which announced the addition of a new creative director in John Carter, from Foote, Cone & Belding in San Francisco, under executive creative director Steve Saari. The agency also added account supervisor Eric Plaskonos, formerly an account director at Grey Advertising in Los Angeles.
The new hires are countermeasures to the shop’s loss of partner and management supervisor Charles “Bubba” Cooper to BBDO South, as well as the recruitment of the creative team of art director Tim Kenum and copywriter Nick Vagott to crosstown rival T.G. Madison.
“I was trying to get David Ogilvy, but he passed away before we could get together on terms,” cracked T.G. Madison president Virgil Shutze. Shutze, who helped build the Atlanta creative shop Hutchinson & Shutze before it was acquired by BBDO South, added a needle: “What’s going on over there anyway? They seem to be losing a whole lot of people.”
Ogilvy’s Atlanta office has struggled during 1999, losing accounts like McCormick Spices, Carters Baby Clothes and World Championship Wrestling as well as executives and senior managers from its brand services, print production and broadcast groups. Last week the agency announced that Robin Foster-Johnson, account supervisor for Food Lion, is leaving to join the grocery chain in a senior executive position.
O&M managing director Ian Latham, who assumed the reins after the retirement of president Neill Cameron in January, said Ogilvy would announce a “major” account win next month. Latham added that Atlanta was “a buyer’s market for good talent. Where do you go for the best trained people? You go to good agencies.”
Local headhunter Guy Tucker said the movement was a sign of the area’s growing pains, with more likely to come.
“When Atlanta starts–and it hasn’t yet–but when it starts adding new business from outside the area, instead of just shifting the business around, which it looks like WestWayne and Bayless[/Cronin] are starting to do, then we’ll have to start bringing people in from outside,” Tucker said. “Right now it’s just musical chairs in Atlanta, for both accounts and [staff].”