To New Sedgwick Rd. ECD, ‘Thrill’ Is All In Day’s Work

The prospect of first-rate fly-fishing wasn’t the only attraction that lured David Jenkins to Sedgwick Rd. in Seattle, though the shop’s new svp and executive creative director—whose reel includes work for Nike and Bud Light—admits it’s one of the benefits of his new job. But not the primary one.

“It’s not as thrilling as being challenged to do really good work,” said the 50-year-old executive, who today joins the Interpublic Group shop in his new position. “It’s clear to me that that’s going on at Sedgwick Rd., and I want to be a part of that.”

The 90-staffer shop—which had an estimated $150 million in billings last year—has been without a designated creative director since cd Steve Johnston left in April to become cd at Publicis in Seattle. Since then, creative has been overseen by president Jim Walker, to whom Jenkins reports, along with associate cds Zach Hitner and Forrest Healy.

Until the beginning of this year, Jenkins had been a senior creative at The Richards Group in Dallas, where his contributions included work on the independent’s successful 2002 Hyundai pitch. Walker was introduced to Jenkins by a mutual friend. “What impressed me about David was he’s one of these guys who has been there, done that,” Walker said. “[He] has a history of success everywhere he’s been.”

After beginning his career as an associate art director in various offices of WPP Group’s Ogilvy & Mather, he did some of his most notable work in the late 1980s and early 1990s, first at independent Wieden + Kennedy in Portland, Ore., then with Omnicom Group’s DDB in Chicago.

As a cd at Wieden, Jenkins worked on Nike’s original “Just do it” campaign in 1987, which included the “Bo Knows” spots starring Bo Jackson and Bo Diddley. In 1990, when Nike released its first international product, 180 shoes, Jenkins encouraged renowned directors such as Jean-Luc Godard and David Cronenberg to interpret that numeral in musically driven spots. The line was sold out in a month.

“It’s one thing to do ads [and] another thing is to have ads succeed,” said Jenkins, who retains the twang of his native Paris, Texas.

In the early 1990s, Jenkins was co-ecd with Bob Scarpelli at DDB in Chicago. There, he worked with the team behind the “Make it a Bud Light” campaign for Anheuser-Busch that is credited with helping the brand vault past Miller Lite in the category.

Before Richards, Jenkins worked as an Oregon-based independent creative consultant. Among his assignments was working with Ogilvy on IBM’s first e-commerce campaign; he also did work for Cisco. “I never wanted to be a person who worked on just one thing,” he said.

That won’t be a problem at Sedgwick Rd., where he will oversee 11 creatives on all accounts, including Washington Mutual, Nintendo and Mervyn’s. The shop has a strong reputation for multiplatform campaigns, such as its whimsical recent effort for WaMu, which included a print piece for college newspapers that was fashioned like an editorial.

Although he expects to find a home near his new office, Jenkins also plans to retain his house on Oregon’s Deschutes River, about an hour’s flight from Seattle.

“I’d like to come visit [the property] when I can,” he said. “But I’m going to be busy up there.”