New Exec Joins JohnsonSheen

JohnsonSheen Advertising in Portland, Ore., has hired Scott Cowan as director of strategic planning, rounding out a management team the shop started building 18 months ago.

Cowan, 37, most recently was at crosstown shop Wieden + Kennedy, where he served as advertising strategist, working primarily on the Nike account and new-business efforts. In his previous positions at both Arnold in Boston and EvansGroup in Seattle, Cowan has worked with clients such as Amazon.com, AltaVista, Nynex, Nestlé’s Hills Bros. and MJB Coffees, and Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream.

At JohnsonSheen, Cowan’s new responsibilities include leading creative-strategy development, implementing consumer research, interpreting consumer motivations, and analyzing societal and cultural trends for the agency’s existing clients, as well as for new-business prospects.

Pat Johnson, president of JohnsonSheen, said she was excited by the prospect of hiring Cowan, who brings to 27 the number of employees at the shop. “[Cowan] brings a different kind of thinking to the agency,” she said. “He’s not afraid to dig deep with clients. He’s always willing to peel the onion, even if it makes him cry.”

“We feel his experience leading branding campaigns will benefit our clients immensely,” she added.

Cowan said he was lured to the shop because it comprises “smart people” who are entrepreneurial in their thinking. He will work on all of JohnsonSheen’s accounts, including Portland General Electric, Gerber Legendary Blades, Oregon Dairy and Jantzen.

The 10-year-old agency has focused in recent months on pursuing “challenger brands”: those that are not No. 1 in their markets, but have that potential. Cowan will help spearhead these new-business opportunities in particular.