Fifteen years ago, landing a junior copywriter job with Louis London in St. Louis meant a move to the big city for Steve Hunt, a native of Moberly, Mo. (population 11,945).
"I had no idea what St. Louis was about," said Hunt, 37.
Hunt's new post as worldwide creative director at Interpublic Group's Momentum is a far cry from his days as a small-town guy starting out in the business. Hunt now oversees 400 creatives spread throughout 50 offices in 35 countries. He reports to Chris Weil, worldwide CEO of the New York-based shop, which specializes in event marketing, retail, promotions and sponsorships.
"Steve is one of the few guys in the world who can play in all the different media Momentum plays in," said Weil. (Momentum was purchased by IPG in 1996, and between 1997 and 2000, it acquired 33 companies, including Louis London in 1998.)
"You're buying different levels of creative product," added Weil. "How do we continually improve the quality of our creative? That's Steve's challenge."
Hunt, who had spent his entire career at Louis London before joining Momentum in 1998, has worked on traditional ad campaigns for Anheuser-Busch's Michelob Light, and events and sponsorships for General Motors and Coca-Cola at Momentum. Most recently, he was Momentum's creative director for North America.
Among events and promotions the agency has handled are the Buick Classic featuring Tiger Woods, American Express' Blue for Save the Music sponsorship and Coke's current Football Town USA promotion, in which a Coke-mobile holds interactive fan events at tailgate parties.
Hunt said that since IPG took over, "our agency was built from scratch.
"It got us the opportunity to see how people do things beyond the St. Louis market," he said.