Team One Elevates Maxham to Help Balance Its Portfolio

Less than a year after John Maxham accepted a demotion to join Team One, he has been named to oversee all creative except the shop’s cornerstone Lexus account.

The promotion of Maxham, 31, to creative director comes as El Segundo, Calif.-based Team One looks to build a reputation beyond its work for Lexus.

“Lexus is one of our biggest assets,” said Julie Michael, the agency’s director of marketing and business development. “But we are at a critical crossroads, and we have the ability to double or even triple our business in the coming years.”

Maxham will manage creative for Air New Zealand, Nextel’s Boost Mobile division, Infonet Services Corp., Teen Line and new client, the first win resulting from a pitch jointly led by Michael and Maxham.

Non-Lexus accounts make up less than a quarter of the shop’s business. Lexus media spending through November 2002 was more than $330 million, according to CMR. The agency claims annual billings of more than $400 million.

After leaving Lowe in New York, where he was an associate creative director, for a senior copywriter job at Team One, Maxham quickly gained notice with his work for Boost Mobile, which showed an elderly crowd enjoying some “tweaked-out technical shiznit” with their phones.

Maxham will oversee about eight creatives. He will report to executive creative director James Dalthorp, who oversees Lexus creative and assumed the agency’s creative helm earlier this year when Tom Cordner left to take the executive creative director job at J. Walter Thompson in Detroit.

Shop CEO Brian Sheehan said he expects that providing Michael with a creative partner for new-business pitches will lead to greater success.

“Max is the right person for the job,” said Michael. “He’s both thoughtful and thought provoking, and clients respond so well to him.”

Sheehan stressed that the shop’s car account does not hinder its ability to service smaller accounts.

“We’ve proven, with accounts like Boost, that we can create award-winning work for a variety of clients,” Sheehan said. He added that Maxham has “done terrific work on Boost, and he deserves to be recognized.”

Among Maxham’s goals is to land a beverage account. At Lowe, he worked on Coca Cola’s Mad River products, as well as on Heineken and UPS. His Heineken contributions included work on a spot called “Birth of the Lighter Phenomenon,” which won a silver Lion at Cannes in 2001, and “The Last Straw,” in which a guy on a date puts up with neglect until the woman discovers she is out of beer and reaches for his Heineken.

Maxham said Lowe’s U.S. chairman and chief creative officer, Gary Goldsmith, was his mentor. “I studied his philosophy—everything from his great sense of product values to aesthetics to an advertising philosophy that is expressed elegantly and intelligently.”

An architecture and design fan, Maxham said he has a “design fetish” that includes collecting Danish pottery, and teak and stainless-steel artifacts. His wife, Julie, is an art buyer for TBWA\Chiat\Day in Playa del Rey, Calif.

An East Coast native, Maxham said a yearning to be “creatively revitalized” led him to move to Los Angeles and take the Team One job.

“I wanted a change of scenery, a change of pace,” he said. “I’d basically been hearing that the reputation of Team One on the West Coast was very strong, and I’d heard from the beginning that Team One was looking at some new opportunities with some smaller clients. I looked at it as an opportunity to get into some nascent brands.”