Droga Brings In Familiar Faces

In his third week on the job, new worldwide creative director David Droga has made his first move to raise Publicis’ creative profile, recruiting two group heads from his former agency, Saatchi & Saatchi in London. In June, Howard Willmott and Duncan Marshall, the team responsible for the award-winning National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children work, will join Publicis in New York as executive creative directors.

“This is a massive jigsaw to build. This is the first piece,” said Droga.

“David doesn’t like to fail,” said Willmott, 41. “He’s very driven, but at the same time very relaxed and very personable. He inspires us by his own example.”

Willmott, a copywriter, and Marshall, 34, an art director, will report to New York’s chief creative officer, Peter Nicholson, and oversee the 110-person creative department. Nicholson will focus on new business with the other ecd, David Corr, and on creating a unified creative front for the shop. Last year Publicis absorbed business and staff from dismantled Publicis Groupe sibling D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles.

Willmott and Marshall’s reel includes the hard-hitting NSPCC work (a Cannes gold Lion winner last year) and the racy Club 18-30 ads. Though some of their work could be considered risqué for the U.S., Marshall said, “The skills we have are transferrable skills. The way we approach briefs won’t change.”

The two began their ad career in 1991 at Laing Henry Advertising. Their clients have included Virgin, the British Army and Monster.com.