How much grimmer can it get? This week's staff purge at DDB/Chicago -- some two dozen creatives our sources are reporting -- is but the latest sign that the DDB we once knew is rapidly becoming a thing of the past.
The exit of so many people from DDB's rudderless creative department suggests, at the very least, that this agency -- if it survives -- is going to be something far different than the creatively-driven ad agency it was known to be for decades. Our sources report that creatives still at DDB and those exiting the shop have characterized the place as a sinking ship. No surprise there, except for how long that's sadly been the case. Imagine how much a few strong leaders with a vision could have done to change the course of things.
Our sources say it's still likely there will be a major shakeout in DDB's Anheuser-Busch account, which could be split between DDB's New York and San Francisco shops if they hang on to the business. Minus most or all of that flagship beer account and a huge chunk of its creative department, DDB/Chicago could be prepping for a merger with
Tribal DDB's Chicago outpost to create some sort of new media shop -- the type of operation that (whether true or not) some clients supposedly want to do business with nowadays. Well-respected David Hernandez, who a year ago became managing director and executive creative director at Tribal DDB/Chicago, could be well-positioned to take the helm of whatever kind of creative department remains after the units are merged.
All of this upheaval comes just days before the second anniversary of the suicide of Paul Tilley, the DDB chief creative officer who jumped to his death from a room at the Fairmont Hotel.