A Long-Distance Hire for GSD&M

Forms 6-Month ‘Creative Partnership’ With a Boston Copywriter
DALLAS–GSD&M has inked Boston ad veteran Ernie Schenck as a freelance creative resource, launching a nontethered “creative partnership” between the Austin, Texas, agency and the award-winning New England copywriter.
Schenck, formerly executive vice president and group creative director at Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, Boston, has agreed to work exclusively with the $750 million Omnicom-owned GSD&M for six months on projects. He will provide his copywriting skills to any number of the shop’s clients, including Southwest Airlines and the Texas Lottery.
His compensation package was undisclosed; a GSD&M representative allowing only that it “is as unique as the relationship is itself.”
Both sides said the arrangement is an “experiment,” downplaying any notion the alliance will lead to a permanent position. Schenck, in fact, is adamant that his days as an agency full-timer are over.
“You know, the schmoozing, the hand-holding, the golf outings, the dinners, the back-rubbing . . . that’s just not me,” said Schenck. “I like to be holed up in a room with my craft. That’s how I like to work.”
GSD&M president Roy Spence and Schenck were brought together through Tiverton, R.I., consultant Tom Monahan, who Schenck said “raved” about the shop’s loose creative structure–no executive creative director slots and few management responsibilities for seven on-staff CDs. The agency’s reputation as a creative magnet grew in recent months with the arrival of talent from Wieden & Kennedy and Fallon McElligott.
“We’re trying conceptually to have groups of high-powered creatives and relieve them from as much management responsibilities as we can,” said Spence. “Ernie and I began talking awhile back . . .
He’s a brilliant writer and a provocative thinker.”
Monahan, who worked with Schenck earlier in his career, described GSD&M as “an agency with a real culture . . . It doesn’t just give lip service [to culture].” It is “an environment where there is less fear and loathing and less politics,” Monahan said.
Schenck has won a host of One Show, Clio and Cannes awards in his 27-year career. Last year, a 90-second spot he wrote for John Hancock Insurance was honored at Cannes and was an Emmy semifinalist.