MARC USA Taps New ECD in Chicago

By Kiran Aditham 

If you don’t know the name Joe Burke, well now you know as the man who was a founding partner at Element 79 is now SVP/executive creative director of MARC USA’s Chicago office. The 20-year ad vet spent nine of those at Element 79 and ran the agency’s Gatorade business, taking the lead on spots for the brand such as “Michael Jordan vs. Mia Hamm.”

Prior to taking on the reins at Element 79, Burke spent 18 months as a creative director at DDB Chicago, where he worked on accounts such as Capital One. Anyhow, here was an internal memo sent to MARC staff this morning regarding Burke, who will take his post effective immediately.



We’ve embraced a lot of change at MARC USA and specifically in the Chicago office in the last eight months.  These moves were designed to spark new momentum – to gain clients that would give us more opportunities to showcase our talent and to demonstrate our ability to deliver truly integrated, innovative programs that change the game for our brands.

As we’ve seen this week, these moves didn’t work out the way we’d planned.  That doesn’t change the fact that we remain committed to building the Chicago office as a key component of MARC USA’s offering. And I’m eager to share with you the next step in that process.

As you know, Jean McLaren will be back at the helm of the Chicago office in addition to retaining her new responsibilities as CMO for the entire agency.  Jean’s focus on new business in the past eight months in partnership with CariBucci in Chicago and Karen Leitze and Sharon Aulicino in Pittsburgh has produced one of the best new business records we’ve enjoyed in years.  Jean brought in our new package goods client to the agency through her contacts and over these past eight months nurtured that relationship, navigating the agency through the strategic pitch that led to the agency being awarded AOR.  Sharon led the team that brought in the significant Capital Blue Cross account.  Cari and Karen not only collaborated on the Carle Hospital Foundation and Health Alliance accounts but have worked diligently to meet the strategic needs of some noteworthy, highly valued prospects.  Our new business effort is working.  And now we’re going to arm it with a critically important and exciting creative hire.

Effective today, Joe Burke is joining MARC USA as the SVP, Executive Creative Director for the Chicago
office.   Joe is probably best known for his work on the Gatorade brand, with its “is it in you” campaign. Along with his creative partner, Joe created some of the brand’s most memorable advertising; from “Be Like Mike II”, “The Origin of Gatorade”, to “Michael Jordan vs. Mia Hamm.”In addition to Gatorade, Joe has garnered numerous creative awards developingwork for a wide range of brands including Coors Light, Capitol One Bank, Frito Lay, Quaker Oats, American Family Insurance, Motorola, Evinrude – going all the way back to perpetuating the “Pork.  The Other White Meat” campaign.Joe is the only creative leader I know who can say he’s won an Effie for nearly all of his major clients.  That’s a track record.

Joe is the ideal fit for MARC USA for several reasons.  First, he was one of the founding members of Element 79 so he understands what it takes to build an agency.  His outstanding work as well as tireless new business efforts helped grow that shop at a record pace.

Second, he appreciates the need for true consumer insight.  Working with our teams, he has already dug into the Visualizer™ research for our newest client to deliver the first round of creative to rave reviews.

Third, he’s a collaborator.  He respects all members of the integrated team and knows how to recognize and develop everyone’s most innovative ideas regardless of discipline. He’s a genuinely good guy.  But ironically, he’s also fiercely competitive.  He’s excited about our goals and totally committed to making them happen.

I look forward to introducing you to him in our Hallway Meeting next Wednesday.  And I genuinely look forward to the momentum we have to move our brand forward.”