Young & Rubicam New York’s new chief creative officer, Jim Elliott, wasn’t looking for a new job when Y&R approached him several weeks ago. He had a killer gig as a group creative director at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco, working on Yahoo, Netflix, and Sonic and reporting to Jeff Goodby.
But the chance to run a department in a market he had never worked in before seemed too good to pass up. Elliott, 44, who fills a vacancy left by the February exits of co-executive creative directors Scott Virtue and Ian Reichenthal, will start in June and report to worldwide CCO Tony Granger and New York president Jane Barratt. In an interview with Adweek, Elliot discusses his five years at Goodby and his priorities at Y&R.
What did you learn from Jeff Goodby? He’s very collaborative and very accessible to anyone. He has an open door. The way he deals with people is really great, collaborative, and inviting. He’s the kind of guy that you want to work with closely and do great work for.
How much time did you spend on new business? A pitch every few months. There are a lot of people at Goodby, a lot of people to spread the wealth among.
What do you like about new business? The chase. I love . . . arriving at a big idea with a group, cracking the nut, and then presenting it and watching it [come to fruition].
What are your top priorities in your first 100 days? Right off the bat, get to know the clients, get to know their businesses in depth. Then really get to know the department. Find out what everyone is about, where their heads are at and what everyone wants to do. Then, really, my big thing is . . . to really try to create an atmosphere of openness, collaboration, and fun.
What will be the biggest challenge? New business is always a challenge. It’s always a fun challenge, but (one) that I’m most excited about. Just making it happen.
What other New York agencies do you admire? I’ve always loved the work that Droga5 has done. I think they’re amazingly innovative. BBH, of course, and I think Anomaly is very interesting.
How digitally savvy are you? Well, digitally savvy is a relative question because everything is changing so rapidly, as you know. I wouldn’t even begin to try to say that I know the very latest because tomorrow there will be a whole new thing out there that I’ve got to wrap my head around.