Goodby Welcomes Back Cocciolo

Goodby, Silverstein & Partners is a much different agency than it was five years ago, which suits Harry Cocciolo just fine. He’s a much different person.

“When I left here, I was just an ACD on Budweiser. I’ve learned a lot since then,” said Cocciolo, who departed Goodby for crosstown San Francisco shop Leagas Delaney in 1997. “I don’t have any presumptions to tell people here how to do business. But there are a lot of ways I can help, and I’m anxious to give anyone I work with the opportunity to do what they are good at.”

Cocciolo, 38, who has not held an agency job since leaving Leagas last summer, becomes one of three top creative directors at Goodby, along with Steve Simpson and Jamie Barrett. He will head creative on the $100 million-plus Pacific Bell/SBC account and report directly to Jeff Goodby and Rich Silverstein. He said he has no specific goals for the moment except the desire to “do great work for almost anyone,” and work with Goodby’s new creative teams.

The luring of Cocciolo, who starts July 8, is the latest in a string of creative hires and promotions at the $850 million shop. Barrett, formerly of Fallon, was hired last year and now oversees creative on the $300 million Saturn account, won in February. Separately, Steve Luker, who had partnered with Simpson during his first tour at Goodby, returned last month from Publicis & Hal Riney. He and Simpson now work together on Hewlett-Packard.

“We’ve got the New York Yankees in place,” Silverstein said. “We are positioned for this market and are very lucky to have talented, smart and likable people. I can’t ask for more.”

During his first stint at Goodby, beginning in 1992, Cocciolo worked on accounts such as Budweiser, Polaroid, Sega, Major League Baseball and “Got milk?” At Leagas, he was best known for a number of high-profile Adidas campaigns.

He and three other top executives left Leagas last year when the shop decided to try to find a global buyer. He has freelanced occasionally during the last year, but could not resist Goodby’s overtures.

“I used to wonder if there was some special magic to Goodby. I figured it was just smart people working hard,” he said. “But now I do think there is a magic, and it goes beyond the creative people. There is a core belief in doing smart work that captures an audience.”

Cocciolo’s first agency job was at DGWB in Irvine, Calif.

Goodby also works with Isuzu, Michelob, E*Trade and eBay.