Kevin Kelly is the president of BigBuzz Communications. He likes to interview advertising guys about their work, and although the conversations usually turn fluffy after about 30 seconds, at times there are quotables to take home. Here, Chiat CCO Rob Schwartz laments (in the best way possible) his 11 years so far at Chiat, noting that it’s basically all about Chairman and Global Director of TBWA\Worldwide Lee Clow.
“Lee is our beacon,” says Schwartz in the two-part interview. “There’s a lot about the agency that, you know, everything in the agency is Lee. But when you look around the agency and experience the agency and work with the agency you go ‘Oh my god there are so many good people here.'”
Well, there were many more people there until recently. Over the summer Chiat experienced an exodus of sorts, losing a number of creative types. In one case, a departing source told us, “the agency is a cult of personality,” referring to Clow’s earned stranglehold on the shop. Recently, Clow handed over the lauded Media Arts Lab, which is responsible for Apple’s work, to ECD Duncan Milner.
With rumors afoot that Clow is slated to retire (which we don’t believe), that cult may shift.
Some other savory quotes from this 10 minute interview, taken out of context:
— “Culture isn’t a word we throw around lightly.”
— “Through creativity, we can solve any problem.”
Tell that to Gatorade. We hear there’s concern the client is leaving. One source reports that relationship will be over in three months, though the agency hasn’t responded to a request for information. Pepsico did not respond by the time this story was published.
More: “Lee Clow’s ‘Not Going Anywhere’”