Ground Zero Fills Top AD Slot

After a 10-month vacancy in its creative department, Ground Zero has hired Fallon’s Arty Tan as creative director.

Tan, 39, fills a new position at the Marina del Rey, Calif., shop, which has been without a top art director since creative partner and founder Kirk Souder exited at the end of last summer. Tan starts July 1 and will split creative leadership on the shop’s accounts with creative partner Court Crandall, who becomes executive creative director.

“We wanted to make a big investment in the upper management of the company and go after big clients,” said Crandall. “We needed to have someone who worked on those pieces of business.”

For the last two years, Tan was an art director at Fallon West Wing in Santa Monica, Calif., which does not operate as a stand-alone Fallon office but rather shares clients such as BMW, Nikon and United Airlines with Minneapolis headquarters. The three-person outpost is expected to hire a replacement for Tan, who also worked at Fallon in Minneapolis from 1989 until 1993.

“[Tan] has a really strong reel, he is a big strategic thinker and someone who can stand in a meeting and command a presence,” Crandall said. “He also wants to be more than an art director. He will make Ground Zero a better place.”

Tan said it was tough to leave Fallon, but called the Ground Zero offer “a great opportunity. They do great work, and they think a lot about a client’s business plan. It’s not only about doing a clever commercial here or there; it’s not just about writing a memorable tagline. They want to be smart, build a brand and protect the life of the brand.”

Tan’s last day at Fallon was May 31. While there, he worked on the Nikon, Nordstrom and EDS accounts. His recent efforts included Nikon’s first TV commercial in eight years.

In the time between his two stints at Fallon, Tan worked at TBWA\Chiat\Day and Wieden + Kennedy.

It has not been decided which accounts Tan will work on at Ground Zero, Crandall said.