DDB Searches for Creative Help

John Staffen, the top creative on DDB Worldwide’s McDonald’s account, has had his administrative role reduced, forcing the agency to search anew for a senior creative executive for its largest account. Staffen was tapped for the group creative director’s post less than a year ago.
Most of Staffen’s administrative duties for McDonald’s have been taken on by Bob Scarpelli, vice chairman and chief creative officer.
“The whole thing is designed to give me more time to be a creative on McDonald’s,” Staffen said.
At the time of Staffen’s hire, DDB said McDonald’s demanded a daily creative presence in Chicago and at the chain’s nearby Oak Brook, Ill., headquarters. But Staffen, who oversaw a dozen or more creative teams, has recently spent the majority of his time elsewhere, assisting, for example, on DDB’s Oracle pitch in Los Angeles.
Sources said Staffen was a better hands-on creative than a manager, drawing complaints that he spent more time selling his own work than developing that of others.
Staffen never hit it off with Roy Bergold, vice president, creative at McDonald’s, and the rift contributed to his changed role, said another source.
“It’s not the best use of John to have him spread over the account … and probably not the best way to service the account,” DDB chief executive Keith Reinhard said, acknowledging the shift.
Scarpelli has been talking about filling a top role and cutting his workload, in addition to hunting for an upper level “creative manager” on McD’s, sources said. He did not return calls.
Staffen assumed top creative duties on McDonald’s last August after a year-long search. He replaced Jim Ferguson, who has since left for Young & Rubicam.
DDB’s creative team on McDonald’s has been hit by other recent defections: Bob Merlotti, who is credited with the line, “Did somebody say McDonald’s?” moved to J. Walter Thompson and Staffen’s copywriting partner, David Lowe, left in the last month for Ammirati Puris Lintas.
McDonald’s executives did not return calls at press time. ¡