Vitro to Open Austin Office With Creative Led by GSD&M Vets

By Patrick Coffee 

Vitro is moving to Texas.

The San Diego-based, MDC Partners-owned shop will open a new office in Austin effective immediately–and it poached two creative leaders from neighboring GSD&M to lead the operation. The move was announced internally last week.

Jake Camozzi and Victor Camozzi officially left GSD&M, where they served as creative director and VP/GCD, respectively, earlier this month; moving forward, the will share the ECD role at Vitro Austin.

The release notes that the brothers are not entirely new to the Vitro organization: “Jake Camozzi, he of the epic beard, returns for his second stint at VITRO, where he previously worked as a copywriter.”

Founder and creative chairman John Vitro elaborates: “Jake and Vic are people we know well. When it comes to working with pride, craft and creativity, we share many of the same values; and a belief that there’s opportunity in bringing those values to a whole new universe of clients as we expand our geographic footprint.”

Agency CEO Tom Sullivan calls the move “a key step in our strategic plan for continued growth,” adding, “We’ll shortly be announcing a couple of new account wins and further good news. Stay tuned.”

The big reason behind the announcement concerns two new clients that Vitro can’t disclose at the moment, though we know the accounts will be run out of Austin with the Camozzi brothers playing lead. We also hear that one of these wins may have something to do with caffeine.

Prior to joining Vitro, Jake Camozzi spent six years as a copywriter and CD at GSD&M, helping to lead the Walgreens and Chipotle accounts and working with such clients as Barbasol, Southwest and Goodyear. We hear that he is also a passionate cook and barbecue fanatic.

Victor Camozzi spent more than 17 years with GSD&M, creating the Walgreens “At the Corner of Happy & Healthy” campaign and working on various digital/game-based efforts for Chipotle. Throughout his more than two-decade career he has contributed to campaigns for such varied clients as BMW, 7-Eleven, AARP, the Air Force, AT&T (whose relaunch he helped lead) and even The Clinton Global Initiative. He doubles as both a country singer and the author of a forthcoming “children’s book of poetic potty-humor” titled The Other Fairies.

The Camozzis’ departure will obviously be a blow GSD&M, which restructured its creative department into three separate units and combined its PR and new business operations last week. Despite a round of departures in the single digits (including Jake and Victor), GSD&M has won several pieces of new business on the media side and is currently hiring to fill more than 30 open positions.

This news follows a round of January downsizing at Vitro’s San Diego headquarters, and we’ve received several tips from people close to the organization calling the announcement somewhat awkward coming, as it did, after a 20% reduction in total staff.

That decision stemmed from the loss of the Wild Turkey and Kaplan University accounts and a smaller role on the global Asics business … but such is agency life.

A February 1st post on The Austin Egotist announced the Camozzis’ departure with the headline “Two Fewer Beards at GSD&M,” but we are slightly disappointed to report that none of the press materials we received mentioned Victor’s incredible pigtails.

We also have no official word on what this means for the San Diego office or whether any other agency leaders will be joining the Camozzis in Austin.

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