3 FCB Creatives Leave to Form Another Start-Up

Chicago, which in the past six months has seen two creatively-driven shops essentially disappear, now has its second start-up boutique in as many months.

Three creatives from FCB Chicago have left to start Rathbone Moncaleano Desir. “We’re a creative-led agency and everything bleeds out of that,” said Shon Rathbone, who at FCB was a senior vice president, group creative director and headed creative for the shop’s interactive unit.

Rathbone is joined by Eric Moncaleano, also an svp and group creative director at FCB, and Julio Desir, a vice president and creative director.

The shop’s opening comes one month after that of Hadrian’s Wall, formed by creatives Kevin Lynch and Tom Richie and planner Steve Carli. All worked at Arian Lowe & Travis until January, when that shop laid off almost its entire staff.

ALT and McConnaughy Stein Schmidt Brown were for many years seen as the leading creative small shops in Chicago. MSSB sold to Euro RSCG Tatham late last year.

Rathbone, who formerly worked at Carmichael Lynch in Minneapolis, acknowledged Chicago’s inhospitable reputation for creative start-ups but said it doesn’t deter him from thinking his new shop can make it.

“It’s a little overblown, but obviously there’s some truth to it,” Rathbone said. “Sooner or later, someone’s going to break it.

“With what we’re doing and with what Kevin’s doing down the street, things could start to percolate,” he said.

The soft economy also did not deter the trio. “I’m not sure it’s all that bad; I think it’s just levelling off from a boom,” Rathbone said. “I think a young, nimble agency can do pretty well in that climate.”

The shop, which also has some part-time employees, is forming alliances with media services and below-the-line companies. They are doing project work, but Rathbone declined to discuss clients.

“All this talk of integration—there are four or five individuals that are driving every brand,” he said. “And other people that you call when you need to.”