Stone, August, Medrich & Co. in Troy, Mich., has named a new creative director as it focuses on improving the image of its creative department.
Stone has turned over the department reins to Jim Gentry, formerly senior vice president and creative director at McCann-Erickson, also in Troy. Gentry has been charged with recruiting "the best creative people in town," said agency chairman Ron Stone.
The agency has increased the creative department's budget "significantly" in order to accomplish that task, Stone said.
"In the 1970s and early '80s we were known in town as a creative boutique," Stone said. "We were very creatively oriented. But then we started growing in other areas, and we really got away from that. Now we're ready to take more chances again."
Stone, August, Medrich was formed last fall through the merger of Stone, August, Baker & Co. and BK&M Advertising in Ann Arbor, Mich. The merger became a catalyst for much of the changes now taking place at the agency, Stone said.
That positive energy is part of what Gentry says attracted him to the agency. "Everybody really wants to win," he said. "And that means improving the work for current business" as well as winning new business, he said.
Billings for 1998 are projected to be about $45 million, Stone said. The agency is planning an aggressive new business development campaign, including a new logo and brochure, a reel of work samples and a direct mail campaign.
Along with adding new clients, the agency also intends to expand its public relations and yellow pages divisions, he said.