BBH Hires Gelner

William Gelner, one of the writers behind Cliff Freeman and Partners’ “Hard Day” campaign for Mike’s Hard Lemonade, has joined Bartle Bogle Hegarty as group creative director.

Gelner, 35, who also worked on Fox Sports Net at Cliff Freeman, where he was an associate creative director, will focus on three accounts at BBH: Lipton, Johnnie Walker and Bertolli olive oil. In addition, he’ll help manage the creative department, which is run by executive creative director Kevin McKeon.

McKeon, who considered 5-6 candidates for the new position—including former Fallon acd Matt Vescovo—was impressed by Gelner’s “big ideas,” particularly in terms of how to manage a staff. What’s more, he found Gelner to be “mature” and predicted that he would be “great with clients and [as a mentor to] the teams.”

As for his work, McKeon praised “Lumberjack” and “Construction” for Mike’s and three spots for Conseco (“Subway,” “Fountain” and “Sen ior Shakedown”), which Gelner wrote when he was a copywriter at Fallon, here. “Fountain” won a Silver Lion at Cannes in 1999; Gelner also won a Bronze Lion in 2000 for “Cemetery,” a print ad in the same campaign, which is tagged, “Step up.”

Gelner said he was attracted by the opportunity to do more than write ads. “I want to be more involved in helping others, in management,” he said. “It’s a challenge.”

McKeon has added a half-dozen creatives since January, expanding the department to 15. (The one other group cd is Thomas Hayo, who focuses on Levi’s.) Billings at the New York shop now approach $250 million.