After the Sept. 11 attacks in his hometown of New York, just days after his 38th birthday, Mike Musachio decided he needed a break from advertising to see the world. So he and his future bride, Laura Elkins, headed for Europe, China, Vietnam, New Zealand and beyond, returning to the U.S. in 2004.
Today, Musachio, 42, is the recently promoted president/chief creative officer of TracyLocke's Wilton, Conn., and New York offices. Looking back, he says his world travels helped him better understand how to communicate about global brands.
"Some cultures are much more advanced than us in how they communicate, and others are much less advanced," he said. "I realized that you really need more diversity among your staff. It's no longer just an American-centered system of communication."
Ron Askew, president of the Omnicom shop with twin headquarters in Dallas and Wilton, promoted Musachio from evp/chief creative officer on Feb. 8, a week after Tim Zuckert, chief operating officer in Wilton, left to join Proving Ground, an integrated media company. Zuckert and Musachio had been co-leaders of the Wilton office.
Following his travels, Musachio joined TracyLocke in January '04 after he and Elkins returned to New York. By then, they were husband and wife, having married in October 2003. Elkins is now marketing director of MAC Cosmetics in New York.
Before his break, Musachio worked as ecd at WPP's Wunderman in New York. But he says the agency that had the biggest impact on him was Leo Burnett in Chicago, where he worked for clients such as McDonald's for eight years. "We did integrated work before other agencies, but it wasn't called integrated work," he said.
That experience will help at TracyLocke, where traditional ad and promotional work get equal treatment, he said. "There are traditional ad agencies that build brands, but they don't do a lot to build volume," he said. "And there are promotional agencies that don't do a lot to build brands. We do both."