Saatchi & Saatchi Creative Director Announces His Departure With a BuzzFeed Listicle

By Patrick Coffee 

Johnnie Ingram will officially leave Saatchi & Saatchi New York this week after more than three years as an ACD and creative director on the General Mills/Cheerios business (among others).

The onetime Canadian is moving to Los Angeles next week to make his career in the movies … just kidding, he’s going freelance.

Perhaps more significant than his departure is the way he chose to reveal his plans to his colleagues: with a straight-up BuzzFeed listicle. “Top 10 Reasons to Be a Creative Director at Saatchi & Saatchi” is basically like your standard BF story*…except that this one is filled with GIFs related to the Cheerios work.

It includes such classics as Kathie Lee and Hoda crying over a commercial and the spots starring Nelly, Grumpy Cat and the Cheerios bee guy.

grumpy cat

Ingram, who worked in the creative departments of TAXI, Leo Burnett Toronto and Juniper Park before heading to Saatchi in 2012, tells us that he chose to leave “in search of something different” and that he wants “a break from the big agency model.”

His departure apparently had nothing to do with any dissatisfaction at Saatchi, and in the BuzzFeed story he thanks the New York team for “all the great opportunities and memories.” Ingram says, “I don’t like to be too comfortable in my career, and think in order to grow you need to shake things up a bit. I love the idea to be a part of something small and helping it grow.”

He’ll be freelance for the time being, though he tells us he will also look for a full-time gig at the right agency in the L.A. area…which just seemed like a nice place to live for a while.

For the record, CCO Jay Benjamin said goodbye to Ingram today in an all-staff memo:

Hi everyone,

Hopefully most of you all have had a chance to see Johnnie’s BuzzFeed goodbye. A goodbye and thank you that could only come from Johnnie Ingram.

But here’s the thing Johnnie. As much as you want to say thank you to Saatchi & Saatchi for all the opportunities you’ve had here, I think WE owe YOU the thanks.

You breathed new life into the Cheerios brand, got it into popular culture, and set us on a path to really exciting times on the brand.

You crafted one of the most loved SuperBowl commercials of all time.

You made people laugh. You made people cry.

You spread your energy, passion and craftsmanship into Progresso, Fiber One, Yoplait, Tecate and anything else you could get your hands on.

You took on a battle with the FDA, and brought us all along for the ride.

Whenever things got tough, you always kept it positive.

You pushed to make the work better.

You made all of our beards look amateur.

And you made me realize I need to go to the gym a lot more.

Johnnie, thank you for everything. You truly made your mark on Saatchi & Saatchi New York.

But mostly, thanks for the friendship.

We’ll catch you on the Left Coast.

Much love,
Jay and all your friends at SSNY

*BuzzFeed has been doing a good bit of legitimate journalism lately. But you know what we meant.