Triggered by a growing client roster—chiefly the $100 million Kmart account—TBWA\Chiat\ Day has made 10 new hires and reorganized its creative department.
Newcomers include the team of art director Josh Kilmer-Purcell and copywriter Tom Christmann, who previously worked on accounts such as FreeAgent.com and Target at Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners, and Phillip Toledano, an art director who worked on BMW Motorcycles, among others, at Merkley Newman Harty. Another new team—copywriter Daniel Chu and art director Yoko Tanaka—came from Deutsch, where they worked on Ikea, among other accounts.
The department is now about 30 strong. And as rival agencies cut staffers, the $450 million shop is continuing to recruit talent and hopes to add a few more creative teams within the next two months, said co-executive creative director Patrick O'Neill.
At the same time, O'Neill and co-executive creative director Dallas Itzen have reconfigured the creative department, assigning teams to specific accounts. Previously, the creatives worked on various businesses.
With new blood and reassigned duties, O'Neill and Itzen, who took the creative reins in September, aim to deliver on the promise they made to Kmart in the fall—namely, to reinvent the brand's image.
"It's an unlikely combination frankly—Chiat\Day and Kmart—so everybody is expecting change [in the advertising]," O'Neill said. Added Itzen: "We have to deliver that. That's why Kmart chose us."
Recognizing the scope of the assignment, which includes sub-brands such as BlueLight.com, Itzen and O'Neill have put four creative teams on the account. "We're calling it the Kmart squad," O'Neill said.
The agency's first work, a TV and print campaign for BlueLight, is expected to launch in April, sources said. A package of main-brand TV spots will follow in May.
Other new hires are freelance copywriters Arun Nemali, Lynn Branecky and Andy Hall and freelance art director Paul Meany, who have worked at Lowe Lintas & Partners, Kirshenbaum and Ogilvy & Mather, among others. Also joining is copywriter Pete Lewtas, who has worked at London shops BMP DDB and the former Gold Greenlees Trott.