All good things must come to an end, and so it is with the tenure of one Steve Babcock, soon-to-be-former chief creative officer at peanut meme lords VaynerMedia.
We confirmed yesterday that Babcock, whose hire we first broke way back in those more innocent days of early 2016, will be departing at the end of this month.
According to a spokesperson, he is leaving “to pursue some personal interests.” The agency will be seeking a replacement, and in the meantime, Babcock’s responsibilities will be handled by its group creative directors.
Now watch as Steve and Gary Vaynerchuk, agency founder and master of the known marketing universe, share a slightly sentimental goodbye in an internal video released to employees yesterday. You’ll have to accept our apologies for the low quality, but it is a SUPER exclusive rip brought to you by our spies on the inside, so we take what we can get.
“I have made the very difficult decision to leave my post at VaynerMedia to pursue a passion project and to recalibrate the needs of my family,” said Babcock in a statement. “I’m leaving behind one of the most talented groups of creative thinkers and makers I’ve ever had the privilege of working for. I’m incredibly proud of what they’ve achieved over the past three and a half years. And the best part is, they’re just getting started.”
Vaynerchuk added, “I thank Steve for the real impact he’s had on VaynerMedia. He’s put his name in the history books of the agency.”
So Gary is undeniably a polarizing figure, which is inevitable because he chooses to promote himself everywhere. But his agency’s positioning has shifted a good bit since Babcock came on as its creative leader. As noted in the video, Planters marked the company’s first Super Bowl ad last year. The company moved into a new office over in Hudson Yards on the West side and expanded to Chattanooga and APAC. It won a bunch of new Budweiser work.
It’s not exactly clear at this time why the CCO is leaving. We’ve received different impressions of his tenure from current and former employees, which would be true of any department leader. And while he hasn’t been nearly as visible as his boss, he has gone so far as to do things like participate in Q&As on Fishbowl. (There was a live one too, but we can’t link to that.)
Babcock confirmed in the video that his is a city mouse/country mouse sort of story, telling employees that he’d never even been to New York before Gary hired him. Instead, he worked at smaller agencies in hometown Salt Lake City and Boulder, landing an ECD gig at CPB that led to the VaynerMedia job.
So what will his personal interests be? Will they involve reuniting Hudson River School? We don’t know, but maybe now is the time to revisit mid-’90s pop punk.
And now we wonder where to find that #content featuring Steve with a full head of hair.