Thursday, May 01, 2008

5418: Creative Hires… Or Liars?

The story below appeared at A brief MultiCultClassics comment immediately follows…

Creative Hires at Merkley

By Andrew McMains

NEW YORK Merkley + Partners here has added an associate creative director from TBWA Raad and a cd from Lowe to work on the agency’s marquee Mercedes-Benz account.

Tom Quaglino, a cd at Interpublic Group’s Lowe here for eight years, has become a creative group head and art director at Omnicom Group’s Merkley, which now has six creative group heads. Quaglino and creative group head and copywriter Chris Landi are leading the shop’s regional dealer group efforts, though they work across all Mercedes business.

At Lowe, Quaglino worked on General Motors’ GMC brand, which last year shifted to Publicis Groupe’s Leo Burnett in Detroit. “He understands the car mind-set,” said Randy Saitta, co-executive creative director at Merkley. “He’s just a nice guy, too.”

Sakib Afridi, an acd at Omnicom Group’s TBWA Raad in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, since 2005 who has worked on Nissan and Mars, is now an acd and art director on Mercedes, partnering with acd and copywriter David McMillan, who joined the agency in February. McMillan, 40, previously was a cd at Omnicom’s BBDO here for two years, working on Bank of America.

Afridi, 32, becomes the 10th acd at Merkley, whose 40-person creative department is led by co-executive creative directors Saitta and Andy Hirsch. “He had a very interesting fresh book using a lot of disciplines,” Saitta said of Afridi.

Since January, the shop has added four creatives. The other was Matt McKay, a former cd at independent R&R Partners in Las Vegas who joined as an acd and art director in February. McKay, 38, is working on Arby’s and Ferrero Rocher’s Tic Tac.

Wow, Merkley + Partners is on a hiring tear. Let’s all remember that among the Madison Avenue shops that signed the diversity pact with New York City’s Commission on Human Rights, Merkley completely failed to meet its goals. It’s hard to tell from the Adweek report, but it looks like the agency had to go all the way to Dubai to find a potential minority. Also noteworthy is Mercedes-Benz being identified as the agency’s marquee account. Mercedes-Benz buys a bit of media in multicultural publications. So why does an advertiser that clearly woos minority audiences have no problem associating with an advertising agency struggling to keep its word on diversity? Sorry if this commentary comes off as having a mean streak that’s a mile wide.

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