Burnett Signs Up Creative Team From Goodby

The Goodby, Silverstein & Partners team whose work includes a 1999 Super Bowl spot for Cracker Jack and eloquent print and TV featuring Lance Armstrong for Nike is joining Leo Burnett.

Josh Denberg and Paul Hirsch, both 35, will be evps and creative directors at the Chicago shop, where they will work on the agency’s full portfolio of brands, deputy chief creative Mark Tutssel said. They will report directly to Tutssel and chief creative Cheryl Berman.

Denberg and Hirsch both grew up in Chicago and have been talking with Burnett for about a year. The pair acknowledged that Burnett is not in Goodby’s league creatively, but said they were persuaded by Tutssel, Berman and president Bob Brennan’s plans to move it into the top tier.

“Over the years they’ve done smart work for clients; it’s just conservative,” Denberg said. “It would be nice to be a part of building something great in Chicago.”

Tutssel came to Chicago from Burnett’s London office last November with the task of helping Berman ramp up creative. His major hire to date was Stephanie Crippen, a veteran of Fallon and TBWA\Chiat\Day.

Tutssel scoffed at the suggestion that Burnett’s client list, long considered somewhat staid, should stand in the way of a sterling creative reel. “For any self-respecting creative, it’s a candy store. It really is a huge opportunity,” he said. “Here’s something very good that could be excellent.”

Denberg started at Ammirati & Puris and has been at Goodby for about eight years. Hirsch worked at Cole & Weber in Portland, Ore., and Berlin Wright Cam eron in New York before joining Good by about seven years ago. Both were associate creative directors.

Tutssel said he has more top recruits in the pipeline, all of whom he intends to give maximum freedom to do great work.

“I don’t want to bring in great talent and not deliver on that promise,” he said. “We’re looking at bringing bright, motivated people to the agency and letting them loose.”