Co-Creative Director Balser Succeeds Bernert as Bevil's Partner
DALLAS--In the wake of fellow principal David Bernert's departure, Bam! official Mike Bevil had only to look up his old agency address to find a new partner at the Austin, Texas, creative boutique.
Jonathan Balser, a former creative official at T3 and GSD&M in Austin, was welcomed as a new partner and co-creative director by Bevil, his former boss at T3.
The ownership change took place over the last few months, as Bernert negotiated his exit and Balser--who left T3 in March--was torn between the Bam! offer and joining an interactive marketing company startup on the West Coast.
Bevil said he sought the copywriter's services ever since leaving Austin's T3 to form Bam! in 1996, but Balser stated he was not ready to leave until this spring.
"At T3, I had a chance to work on some good accounts like Golfsmith and Dick's Last Resort," said Balser. "And there was the opportunity for more work when Mike left."
Balser and T3 president Gay Warren Gaddis held discussions about Balser gaining a share of that agency, but Gaddis said talks were never serious.
Despite the timing, Bevil said he originally recruited Balser as a third partner, rather than as a replacement for Bernert. Bernert first made known his intentions of leaving in February before finally selling his share to Bevil in July.
Two weeks ago, Bernert told Adweek he wants to return to San Francisco, where he specialized in strategic planning at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in the early 1990s.
Before his tenure at T3, Balser held copywriting and creative posts at GSD&M in Austin and Hill, Holiday, Connors, Cosmopulos in Boston.
Balser's arrival is among a handful of senior management changes at the 22-person shop. Bam! also recently hired its first chief operating officer, Paul Franz, and was in negotiations last week with a candidate to become account supervisor over its core Micron Electronics account.
Bam! handles creative and strategic duties for the Nampa, Idaho, personal computer maker. Micron plans to spend as much as $50 million annually in advertising from Bam!, which will bow its first image series for the client next month. Micron's media is handled internally.