Lee Clow’s Heir Apparent Leaves to Open His Own Agency
NEW YORK–Rob Siltanen, viewed by some as the creative heir apparent to Lee Clow at TBWA/Chiat/Day, has resigned to open his own shop.
Siltanen, who oversaw creative work on the agency’s estimated $500 million Nissan North America business, is opening Siltanen, Los Angeles. He resigned his posts as managing partner and creative director at the agency’s flagship Playa del Rey, Calif., office after a meeting with Clow last Tuesday.
Siltanen had become frustrated that he was not named creative director of the Los Angeles office when Clow was elevated to the global posts of chairman and chief creative officer, said sources. He was one of six creative directors reporting to Clow. The structure will remain the same. “I’m the creative director of this office,” said Clow.
Siltanen, 36, said he’s leaving because “it’s time for something new.” He describes his shop as a “creative strike force” able to work on existing brands in need of a “creative boost” and startup e-businesses. “Some clients need full service; we’ll provide that. Others like a Coca-Cola may need just one great commercial that will be one of the 10 best in America.”
Siltanen is looking for space along the beaches of Los Angeles to house his startup. The shop’s first client is ICraft, a company that plans to sell arts and crafts supplies over the Web. The client’s name will change as Siltanen creates a brand and identity campaign.
To provide full service, Siltanen is “keeping his options open” as far as alliances with other agencies and marketing firms. He is also open to working as a freelancer for agencies, although he would prefer to work directly for clients.
Since becoming creative director on the Nissan business at 25, Siltanen has won awards ranging from Clios to Emmys. His creative resume includes the Nissan Altima campaign in 1991 and the Nissan “Toys” commercial in 1996. He wrote the “Here’s to the Crazy Ones” spot that launched the “Think different” campaign for Apple Computer.
During the next few weeks, Siltanen will put the finishing touches on TBWA/C/D’s first campaign for the International Olympic Committee.
“This is a great opportunity for Rob to focus on what he loves best: the work,” said Clow. “He’s great at it and I wish him all the luck in the world.” Siltanen’s duties on Nissan will be assumed by creative directors Rob Schwartz and Joe Hemp and by CD’s Chris Graves and Eric Greenbaum on Infiniti. K
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