New ECD Embraces FCB’s Roots

Tom O’Keefe, who returned to his Windy City roots as the new executive creative director at Foote, Cone & Belding here last week, intends to turn around the shop’s recent rocky fortunes by embracing its packaged-goods reputation.

“What we’ve got to do is be the best at what we do,” said O’Keefe. “It’s packaged goods. It’s about being the strongest and best at that.”

The ecd position had been vacant since Bob Dreveny left shortly after the $350 million Quaker Oats business moved to Omnicom a year ago. The loss of Quaker was the start of a tough year that led to 150 layoffs and included a Coors Brewing Co. review this summer that resulted in FCB sharing the $200 million business with Deutsch and Arnold.

O’Keefe, 39, left the Chicago office in 1999 to join FCB San Francisco, where he was also ecd. There, he worked on’s Christmas 1999 “Sweat ermen” spots. More recently, he oversaw the “Think outside of the bun” work for Taco Bell.

While FCB’s creative reputation is less than stellar, both world wide cd Jona than Harries and O’Keefe point to the Coors Light “Rock on” work and Circuit City ads to argue that the shop is capable of standout work. “I think we have to do a better job of raising the profile of the work we do that is great,” O’Keefe said.