Peter Angelos has worked at top-tier creative shops over the years. Both he and his new bosses agree that D'Arcy, which he has joined as executive creative director for North America, isn't one of them.
The goal is to change that with the addition of creatives like Angelos and Gary Topolewski, who earlier signed on to run creative at D'Arcy Detroit.
"We need to get dramatically better in the key area of our own product," acknowledged D'Arcy North America president Patrick Sherwood. "We need people who are interested in building something."
Angelos comes to D'Arcy from FCB San Francisco, where he said he declined an offer to come to New York to help defend the AT&T Wireless business. He also had stints at Y&R and TBWA\Chiat\Day in San Francisco, but spent most of his career at FCB and is perhaps best known for his Levi's work.
Although Angelos will be D'Arcy's top North American creative, regional creative chiefs will not report to him and he will not directly oversee work agencywide. Instead, Angelos will remain in San Francisco and go where needed to help with the work. His first assignment, a Pontiac campaign, will take him to Troy, Mich.
"We are not creating direct reporting relationships between creative directors and Peter," Sherwood said. "My experience is when you have these wandering creative people, they wind up without a role. It just builds in bureaucracy."
D'Arcy's reputation for creative stodginess stems in part from its client list, weighted by the likes of General Motors and Procter & Gamble. Angelos cited GM, and specifically Cadillac, which D'Arcy handles, as a prime area for change.
"I have the luxury of not having sat through years of (Cadillac) meetings," Angelos said. "It got too intellectual, it needs to be a lot more visceral."
Sherwood said D'Arcy's search goes on for a worldwide creative director, vacant for more than a year since John Nieman left the agency. Angelos would report to that position once it is filled.