Furlong Becomes Latest Microsoft CD at McCann

McCann-Erickson, which built its Microsoft creative team mainly on talent from automotive, beer and packaged-goods accounts, returned to the tech sector for its new senior creative.

Michael Furlong, 43, last week was named senior vice president and creative director on Microsoft at McCann. In addition to his creative work, Furlong will pitch new business. Microsoft, which spends roughly $350 million annually on advertising, is McCann San Francisco’s marquee account.

Furlong, 43, has freelanced for McCann periodically since last July, shortly after his former shop, Lowe Lintas & Partners, closed in San Francisco due to poor market conditions. At Lowe, he worked on accounts including Sun Microsystems and Virgin Mobile. He has also freelanced at the former Tonic 360 and JWT & Tonic in the past year.

“From the get-go he was a blast to work with and was very prolific,” said Kevin Moehlen kamp, executive vice president and chief creative officer at McCann. “He was a huge part of Microsoft’s big enterprise initiative, and it was obvious that he understood the category. There are some people who get it and some people who never get it. He gets it. He came in right away and could do the job.”

Furlong said the decision to join McCann was easy to make after he spent time working with Microsoft’s creative team. “I had a honeymoon working on [Microsoft’s] one-degree campaign,” he said. “Knowing the people and players allows you to get a sense of an agency. The chemistry has to be right, and it was. You don’t get to 40 and decide, ‘I’ll just take another job.’ ”

Furlong will team with Paul Hicks, an associate creative director on Microsoft.

Prior to his stint at Lowe, Furlong was a group creative director at DDB in New York from 1996 to 1999. He worked on Amtrak, Mobil, Amana and the Irish Tourist Board. He was an associate creative director at Ogilvy & Mather in New York for four years before that, working on American Express, IBM, Duracell, Jaguar and Kodak.

McCann’s San Francisco office, with roughly $450 million in bil lings, also works with Supercuts, Applied Materials and Southcorp Wines North America, among other clients.