Ridgeway Joins Saatchi as CD

Bret Ridgeway, something of an advertising globetrotter, is bracing for some major challenges as the newest creative director at Saatchi & Saatchi Los Angeles.

“Toyota hasn’t had a brand image for a while,” Ridgeway said of the shop’s most prominent client. “There’s been no consistent image, no underlying theme.

“It’s not every day you get the opportunity to create something brand new,” he added.

Ridgeway, 32, joined the shop last week, and will be one of a team of eight creative directors working to fine-tune Toyota’s brand image. It’s clear he has not been brought in to preserve the status quo. Sources at the Torrance, Calif., agency confirm the brand revitalization may soon target the tagline, “Everyday,” which replaced the long-running “I love what you do for me” in late 1997.

“Bret was brought aboard to work in the truck/SUV group,” chief creative officer Steve Rabosky said. “But he’s going to be an integral part of the things that go on here.”

Rabosky said Ridgeway, who was trained as an art director, has a track record of strong creative talent and senior-level leadership. Indeed, his long résumé includes positions at Deutsch in New York, GSD&M in Austin, Texas, and Wieden + Kennedy’s Portland, Ore., and Amsterdam offices.

At Wieden, Ridgeway handled a number of Nike duties, including the client’s soccer marketing work in Europe and the award-winning “I Got It” commercial in which baseball star Ken Griffey Jr. dashes across the country to catch a fly ball. Other brands he has worked on include ESPN, Ikea and Southwestern Bell.

Ridgeway most recently served as an associate creative director at Lowe Lintas & Partners, San Francisco, where he directed a brand relaunch for Eddie Bauer.

In addition to Rabosky, Ridgeway’s fellow creative directors are Miles Turpin, Steve Landrum, Matt Bogen, Neal Foard, Doug Van Andel and Dean Van Eimeren.

Saatchi Los Angeles focuses primarily on the estimated $530 million Toyota corporate account, but also handles Toyota dealer associations, Yonex Golf & Tennis and Square Electronics Arts.