Drive On: Jensen Exits Arnold




VW Copywriter Unites With Gary Koepke to Open New Shop
BOSTON–Lance Jensen just doesn’t believe he has another car ad in him.
The 35-year-old creative director at Arnold Communications helped write the “Drivers wanted” campaign for Volkswagen of America for the last five years.
Now he plans to start a new agency in Boston with Gary Koepke, a design-oriented creative director who has run his own business and worked at Wieden & Kennedy.
Jensen, a copywriter who worked exclusively on VW, wrote many of the ads that helped revive the once-struggling nameplate. In the process, Jensen forged his reputation for creating offbeat concepts for internationally acclaimed spots, such as “Sunday afternoon” and “Synchroncity.”
“He was one-third of the trioka on VW,” said Arnold CEO Ron Lawner, who added he will miss Jensen as a friend.
Arnold executives were eager to quell any notion that Jensen’s departure is symptomatic of a larger ill stemming from parent company Snyder Communications’ decision to sell New England’s top advertising agency [Adweek, Jan. 3.]
“All of that stuff is out of my control,” Jensen said of Snyder. “I have faith in myself. I’d rather concentrate on creating something. I believe we can make a great place.” Jensen is the latest executive to leave Arnold in the last year.
Kristin Volk, who ran the agency’s consumer insights group, resigned to join forces with former Arnold creative director Kathy Kiely in establishing Deutsch Boston. Kiely said she welcomed the opportunity to compete against a newcomer, including her former Arnold colleague.
“I think what we’re witnessing is the birth of a new generation of agencies,” Kiely said. “This is a fall out from conglomeration.”
Koepke, whose last full-time job was creative director of Wieden & Kennedy’s New York office, said he and Jensen have been friends since meeting more than a decade ago at Altman & Manley, a highly regarded creative boutique in Boston. The duo positioned the opening of their new shop, called Modernista!, as “the first ad agency of the new millennium.” Though they have no clients or employees, the pair has leased 5,000 square feet of office space at 109 Kingston Street.
Jansen and Koepke say they are only interested in building a new type of agency, one that will be a magnate for young talent and clients in need of a novel approach.