Joe Shands Left Chiat to Start His Own Agency: Vendor

By Matt Van Hoven 

In our reporting of the creative exodus that’s befallen TBWA\Chiat\Day we mentioned one creative director Joe Shands, was among the quitting crowd. A tip pointed us to an obscure interview posted to YouTube (embedded below) where a fellow claiming to be Shands says he quit working at the shop to start his own agency in Austin, Texas. Vendor is the name, says this Shands character, and it will be staffed with other people.

They include:

James Martin, Planner


Jeff Nixon, VP-Creative Director at GSD&M

Clark Evans, ACD at GSD&M in Austin, previous stint at Chiat.

Shands has made the rounds at some of the country’s more well known shops, including Wieden + Kennedy and Goodby. He mentions the shops a few times in the interview, noting that like Jeff Goodby (he imagines) one of his favorite parts about being a creative director is watching people below him win awards, and being part of developing that winner’s skills. Aw, nice.

Based on the interview we don’t expect anything groundbreaking from this new shop. They want to, according to Shands, focus on the client’s success. They’re pushing for a smaller organization, a more intimate environment where they’re more partner than server, which makes the name Vendor somewhat ironic.

“It’s not about the great agency and being this famous entity,” says Shands. “It’s about truly changing the way we view marketing, advertising and the way we talk to people.”

Well, maybe they are trying to do something different. Presumably that means ‘when compared to Chiat and/or GSD&M,’ else he might not have left. Shands and crew consider themselves producers &#151 which, again, isn’t really a change in practice so much as it is a change in perspective. We all produce something, eh?

“I hope it doesn’t sound like a gimmick,” says Shands. Unfortunately for him, this business is notorious for chewing through start-ups that try to be different even if that only means being more personally vested in a client’s success. That might be the only big idea that still means something.

Shands was not immediately available for comment.

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