San Francisco, a beleaguered market for industry creatives, is getting a vote of confidence from across the country. Mullen is opening a Bay Area talent hub to work on marketers at the agency’s Boston headquarters as well as chip in on local Mountain View client Google, which is also handled out of Mullen’s Boston and N.Y. offices.
The initiative is being launched by Mullen chief creative officer Mark Wenneker and Alex Leikikh, the former top Fallon account exec who was promoted to president of the Boston flagship last September. Wenneker is no stranger to the West Coast. He joined Mullen in 2008 as an ecd from Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, S.F., where he had spent 13 years before moving east.
“This has been something that I’ve dreamt about over the last year and a half,” Wenneker wrote to employees in an internal memo. “The San Francisco area is legendary for producing great creative talent and is obviously a hotbed of innovation in the technology space.”
The S.F. office will operate as an extension of Mullen Boston under the oversight of Wenneker and Leikikh. Some Boston account execs will make the move to the West Coast while Mullen looks for creative talent. Local hiring will involve a small number initially but is expected to increase as the agency grows its business. Mullen is close to signing its first creative hire and expects to close on downtown space next week.
The S.F. ad market has been rocked by layoffs this year after GS&P parted ways with Hewlett-Packard and lost Sprint. Earlier this month, Publicis & Hal Riney also laid off staff after it lost a major client, U.S. Cellular, to Mullen.
With Mullen, Wenneker, in his note to staff, said it was the success of the agency’s Boston office that made the S.F. startup possible. In addition to U.S. Cellular, this year Mullen has won global creative duties on Grey Goose; media for National Geographic Channels; and creative, media and digital for Benjamin Moore paints. Last year, Mullen added accounts like the Barnes & Noble brand and its e-reader Nook as well as work for Google’s mobile technology and services unit.