Kaplan Thaler Hires Caplan

Mitch Caplan, recently named managing director of business development and integration at The Kaplan Thaler Group, admits to being a “New Jersey nerd.” But that doesn’t stop him from taking on macho challenges for his clients.

In his last job— as an account director at Omnicom Group’s Merkley + Partners—the 44-year-old executive was given the BMW Motorcycles account. After witnessing client execs showing up for meetings in motorcycle gear, the more conservatively clad Caplan (who had never been on such a vehicle), signed up for a motorcycle-safety course. Within weeks, he found himself riding around comfortably.

“If you’re going to run a piece of business, you have to experience what that business is about,” said Caplan.

In the new post at Publicis Groupe’s Kaplan Thaler, Caplan will attempt to increase integrated efforts within the agency as well as between Kaplan Thaler and other Publicis shops. He will also absorb new-business responsibilities last held by former director of business development Greg Davis, who left in early July. At Kaplan Thaler, Caplan, who reports to general manager Robin Koval, manages a staff of about seven people.

New business and integrated efforts are central to Caplan’s background. From 1997-2001, the Rockland, Md., native—now a resident of Ridgewood, N.J.—was managing director of i-shop Think New Ideas in Boston and New York, where he helped land assignments from IBM, Procter & Gamble and DuPont. He subsequently served as president of The Martin Agency’s interactive division in New York.

Caplan said he expects to be no less immersed in the cultures of his new agency’s clients than he was with BMW at Merkley. “I’m also teaching my kids how to quack,” he said, referring to Kaplan Thaler’s famed Aflac duck character.