Publicis CD Heads To Utah

John Bellina’s career has taken him to some of the biggest advertising cities in the U.S.: Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and … Salt Lake City?

“Why shouldn’t Salt Lake be ready to compete with anyone?” asked Bellina, who was named president and executive creative director of Publicis West’s 26-person office in Utah.

Publicis West chairman and chief executive officer Randy Browning and executive creative director Bob Moore had been asking the same question. Then they met Bellina—who was most recently creative director on the Hewlett-Packard North America account at Publicis & Hal Riney in San Francisco—and tapped him to give the branch some creative heft.

“I’m really excited,” said Bellina, who reports directly to Moore and Browning, who are based in Seattle. “We’ve got the momentum, we’ve got Bob’s and Randy’s expertise. And winter can’t be worse [in Salt Lake] than in New York, right?”

Raised in South Bend, Indiana, Bellina, 40, graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara, with a degree in political science. His first ad-industry jobs, beginning in the early ’90s, included copywriting gigs at Southern California agencies Lord, Dentsu and Partners, D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles and Deutsch.

Bellina relocated to Manhattan in June 2002 as founding executive creative director for Omnicom’s TBWA\Chiat\Day’s Tequila. During his two-year tenure, Tequila’s New York staff grew from six to 66, and worked on multiplatform campaigns for clients including Nextel, Absolut Vodka, Pfizer and Embassy Suites.

In his new role, Bellina will oversee creative on accounts such as United Healthcare, Alpha Graphics and the Utah Sports Commission. But more than that, Bellina is looking to change the way the office does business. First on his list is to “really tie the office into Publicis West, bring the integrated concept to Salt Lake City.”