Tucker Changes Name After Creative Exodus

NEW YORK Following the defection of top creative directors Dean Stefanides and Larry Hampel, Tucker Hampfel Stefanides will revert back to its previous shingle, The Tucker Partnership, said shop CEO William Tucker.

That name may change again in the coming months, said Tucker, marking the third name change for the shop in two years. Tucker added Hampfel and Stefanides’ names to the door in February 2003, when the two joined. Rather than add another name, Tucker hopes the agency will find “some other way to describe ourselves.”

“I myself am attracted to the hipper names,” with a functional twist, “like Red Cell,” he said.

Hampel and Stefanides announced their decision to start a New York outpost of Chicago-based independent Cramer-Krasselt two weeks ago, Tucker said.

The office, which opens this week under the name Cramer-Krasselt/Hampel Stefanides, will complement the $525 million network’s offices in Chicago, Milwaukee, Phoenix and Orlando, according to C-K president Peter Krivkovich.

C-K’s client list includes Corona beer, Hyatt Hotels and Master Lock. Krivkovic said he is hoping the New York outpost will help land more East Coast clients.

“We passed up a lot of new business pitches that were New York centric,” Krivkovic said. “I did not want to open an office based on one client.”

It is not yet clear if the team will attempt to hire away any of the shop’s staff, he said.

“The first thing you do is circle the wagons and make sure the clients are ahead of the news,” Tucker said. “To some clients, it was a yawn, and to other people it was like Chicken Little.”

The shop is in the middle of several pitches, including a challenge for its $20 million Quaker State motor oil account, sources said. The shop, which claims $190 million in billings, is defending against WPP Group’s J. Walter Thompson in Detroit, Omnicom Group’s TBWA\Chiat\Day in Playa del Rey, Calif., and independent Doner in Southfield, Mich.

The agency will rely on two creative directors and one associate creative director to fill the void until a replacement is installed. Tucker said he is currently negotiating with a potential top creative, who could be in place next month.

“I’ve always said we were top-heavy,” Tucker said of the agency, which now has six partners, one senior partner and one managing partner. “We’ve taken that top-heaviness and put that against this to make sure we’re covered.”