Seeking a chance to work with smaller, "edgier" clients, Lawrence, Mayo & Ponder principal and co-creative director Bruce Mayo is striking out on his own.
"It's time to move on after 10 years [at the shop]," said Mayo, 49. "I want to go back to what I really like to do, which is having more interaction with clients, not running a big ad agency."
A factor in his decision to leave the 35-person Newport Beach, Calif., shop is his uneasiness with the social marketing direction the agency is going in, Mayo said.
LM&P recently won the $20 million California Department of Health Services cancer prevention and nutrition account [Adweek, May 7]. Agency president and co-creative director Lynda Lawrence said business is evenly split between social marketing and private-side clients.
Mayo's new undertaking, simply called Mayo, will serve consumer-focused clients in such industries as surfwear, music and fast food.
"Bruce likes working on the really edgy stuff," said Lawrence, adding that a number of LM&P clients have committees to approve work. "When you want to do body parts and bodily emissions, those are the things you get to do for a surf company that has a budget of 14 cents."
Mayo is expected to remain until the buyout of his shares is complete, which could occur as early as this week. His departure ends a 23-year creative partnership with Lawrence.
Mayo is taking at least one LM&P client with him—Renkus-Heinz Speakers. That decision was mutual, since the account came in through a friend of Mayo's, Lawrence said.
He will initially operate on his own. "At this point, everyone is staying" at LM&P, he said. He is also currently scouting out office space in Costa Mesa and Santa Ana, Calif.
LM&P, which claimed billings of $34 million in 2000, has hired freelancer Maria Nepite as associate creative director and is seeking a senior art director and designer.
The LM&P name will remain through Oct. 31, Lawrence said. The future name is undecided.