D’Arcy’s New Creative Chief: Ads Need More Style

The new chief creative officer at D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles in Troy, Mich., said his goal is to update a creative product that remains stodgy, a process that he says will take two to three years.
“There’s a lot of money spent on production, but there’s not a lot of single-minded or clever ideas,” said Robin Weeks, who takes over as chief creative officer at D’Arcy in March. “The work just feels a bit old-fashioned.”
Weeks, who has spent all but one month of his career in Europe, is replacing Gary Horton, who resigned last fall. D’Arcy is national agency for General Motors’ Cadillac and Pontiac brands, which together represent nearly $550 million in annual billings.
Weeks, 42, most recently served as creative director for J. Walter Thompson’s Warsaw, Poland, office. At JWT, he oversaw the creative work for brands such as Smirnoff, Nestlƒ, Daewoo Automotive and a range of Unilever brands.
Weeks said he initially was not interested in the D’Arcy position, in part because he had
no desire to move to the Midwest. “But I met [D’Arcy president Patrick Sherwood] and thought he was someone I could really get on with,” he said. “He very much believed in the creative side of the business, rather than just being a suit. [He’s] someone who kind of had a young attitude and definitely wanted to change his agency.”
Weeks said he foresees a two- or three-year process to get to a higher level of creative at the shop. He said client support was a key attraction to him in deciding to join the agency. “GM really wants to up the standard of their creativity,” he said.
“[Cadillac] is competing with BMW and Mercedes and Lexus, and they’re just simply not creating
ads that are stylish enough to give their models the cachet you need in that kind of premium segment,” Weeks said.
Weeks also said he was attracted to the prospect of helping the agency win more business and expand the range of its work–a goal Sherwood continues to emphasize.
Sherwood, who also serves as president of D’Arcy’s Los Angeles office, said the agency left “no country unturned” in the search for a chief creative officer and Weeks was by far the superior candidate. Sherwood said Weeks will be a wonderful partner and a “change agent.”
“He’s a great writer and has a world-class art director’s eye, which is a wonderful combination,” Sherwood said. K