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NEW YORK Jeff Huggins, the freelance creative director leading Tylenol's "Feel better" rebranding campaign, has joined Deutsch here as evp, executive creative director.

Huggins, who spent the last year freelancing for the agency on the Johnson & Johnson brand from his home in San Francisco, has relocated to New York to help chief creative officer Peter Nicholson manage the 75-employee creative department.

Huggins, a copywriter by trade, had served as evp, chief creative at McCann Erickson, San Francisco, before freelancing. At McCann, he was also worldwide creative director on the agency's Microsoft business, overseeing efforts such as "Realizing potential" and "Start something." Prior to McCann, Huggins was ecd at JWT in San Francisco, where he led creative on Sun Microsystems, among others. He joined the shop in 2001.

"We've worked together on and off for the last 13 years. He's someone who is familiar with my work style -- and because he has such great experience, I knew he understood how to run and manage an agency," said Nicholson of adding Huggins to the Deutsch management team.

Both Deutsch and McCann are units of Interpublic Group.

The pair have frequently collaborated since the mid-1990s, when they met at Anderson + Lembke in San Francisco. The team next worked on Isuzu at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, before going their separate ways. While Huggins went to JWT, Nicholson joined Chicago's Publicis in Mid-America as chief creative officer in 2002, a role that morphed into CCO at Publicis in New York when the Mid-America operation was folded into the agency's headquarters. He joined JWT in New York as ecd in 2005 and was named creative chief at Deutsch early last year.

Nicholson said he and Huggins share similar creative sensibilities. "We are solving business problems for clients, not just making ads," he said, pointing to Huggins' experience creating hard-working campaigns for challenging businesses such as Microsoft and Tylenol. They also share the same management philosophy. "He's hands-on when needed and lets people run their own businesses. He lets creatives be creative," Nicholson said.

The addition of Huggins allows Nicholson to relinquish some day-to-day management chores and concentrate more on new business and growing the agency, he said.

Huggins, who joined Deutsch last week, said he was "always afraid of the big bureaucratic paralyzed agency" the New York market is known for. "[But] Deutsch is a very different animal. It's still a scrappy, street-smart agency. There is no resting on laurels or on work that was done in the 1950s."