BBDO Senior Art Director to Become First Creative Lead at ZocDoc

By Patrick Coffee 

We’ve heard quite a bit about agency creatives leaving the ad world for internal positions at “startups” like Uber and Airbnb as well as tech giants Facebook, Amazon, Google and, in the case of Tor Myhren, even Apple. It’s a familiar story.

But what about the world’s other 78 “unicorns?”

James Kuczynski, who spent six years as an art director at BBDO New York, officially left the agency last week to become the first creative director at area healthcare company ZocDoc, which we coincidentally used to arrange our last appointment with a medical professional. (It’s kind of like a Kayak for doctors if you’re unfamiliar.)

The company joined the unicorn club in August, and it’s currently one of the three biggest billion-dollar “startups” in the New York area. ZocDoc also got a new CEO in November as co-founder Cyrus Massoumi stepped into the chairman role and promoted his fellow principal Oliver Kharraz to chief executive.

In the corresponding letter, Kharraz wrote (emphasis ours): “In our next chapter, we will scale our business and accelerate our growth through new products, robust marketing efforts, and deeper enterprise partnerships with health systems.”

James KuczynskiThe marketing expansion explains Kuczynski’s hire. He tells us that he will be heading the ZocDoc creative team along with Microsoft veteran and director of design Stephan Hoefnagels and VP of marketing Richard Fine, who held agency positions at Saatchi & Saatchi and Redscout in addition to New York-based medical startup Help (which worked with Droga5 and won a Cannes Grand Prix in 2012) before joining ZocDoc one year ago.

“In terms of creative,” says Kuczynski, “we’ll be working to create all of ZocDoc’s marketing ranging from social platforms to work created with partner agencies.” He notes that ZocDoc–which was a key client for GS&P’s now-defunct New York office–continues to work with members of the Goodby team on “a few pieces of creative project-based work.” (The agency created ZocDoc’s first video ads earlier this year.)

Regarding his new employer’s future plans, Kuczynski says, “Healthcare is a really unappealing space right now; everything feels so dry. My goal is to bring a fresh face…to make [ZocDoc] stand out among the boring, almost banking-like sentiment that comes with healthcare.”

On that front, he tells us that he and his team will begin developing “a new look and tone” for the business when he starts there next week.

So why did he leave the agency world?

“I can’t say any more fantastic things about BBDO,” Kuczynski tells us, noting that he had been looking for a client-side job in order to develop a more complete “knowledge of how things work on both sides.” He says the appeal of the gig lies, at least in part, in “Knowing you have a little bit more say in the brand’s tone of voice, its strategy, the space where it plays, etc.” He calls this move “one of those opportunities that don’t come around too often.”

Eventually, ZocDoc will again call upon external creative teams to help solidify its place in the market. For now, mark it down as yet another company that includes former agency executives working with current agency executives to develop those elusive business solutions.