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Zig/Chicago to shut its doors -- updated report

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Redundant. That's the choice word Crispin Porter + Bogusky chairman Chuck Porter used to describe the soon-to-shutter Chicago office of Zig in a Q & A today with trade magazine Advertising Age.

Porter used the occasion to announce that Zig, which is headquartered in Toronto, would be folded into Crispin and that Zig's Chicago office would be shut down because, in Porter's parlance, it is now "redundant."

In a subsequent interview today with the Sun-Times, Porter quickly tried to mitigate the import of his remark to Ad Age. "I want to apologize if my comment was misinterpreted," said Porter, adding (perhaps a bit too belatedly) "I really like Chicago."

Still, that word "redundant" -- with all its hideous implications -- should be a clarion call to arms to all who still toil in the Chicago ad industry. It's hugely indicative of an attitude about the ad business in this town obviously held by Porter and no telling how many more in the ad world beyond the Windy City. The suggestion made by Porter in the Ad Age interview is that CP+B has enough offices in the United States and doesn't need to bother any longer with making anything of Zig's already near-dead Chicago outpost.

In his talk with us, Porter also admitted to being mystified about why Chicago isn't faring any better than it is as an advertising center. He said one reason may have to do with the ad business now being so fragmented and with ad people setting up shop wherever they want to, including Boulder, Colo., where CP+B has an office that is part of why Chicago is redundant.

In any event, we are left here in Chicago with the sad demise of yet another ad agency. But it had been clear for some time that Zig/Chicago was on life support and that no one was making much of an effort to save it. Especially after former chief creative officer Stephen Leps up and left several months ago for greener pastures at Leo Burnett/Chicago, where he will not have to shoulder the burden of keeping a small agency afloat.

Porter said Zig's handful of Chicago employees will be offered jobs at other CP+B outposts, but who knows how many will take him up on that offer. Or what fate might await them wherever they land. Steve Carli, the remaining principal partner at the ad shop, probably will quickly head back to Toronto, where he and former Zig partner Kevin Lynch previously worked. With Zig soon to become history, so too will the last vestiges of what was once known as Hadrian's Wall -- one of Chicago's great boutique ad shops. At least while it lasted.

Now all the Chicago ad world is left with from Zig and Hadrian's Wall is that odious descriptive: Redundant.

4 Comments

1) He's right. 2) Zig Chicago people get offers to work at CP+B, most creatives in this town will kill for that chance, sounds like a win to me.

Couldn't agree more with Sound Good To Me — I'd do it in a heartbeat.

Lewis, having worked at good shops in NYC and the West Coast, your interpretation of Chuck's comment about Chicago (whether that's how Chuck actually meant it) is spot on. The perception today is that Chicago is where creatives come to die. I had friends warn me before I came here. Should've listened. I hate the lethargy here. And can't leave fast enough.

Chicago is wonderful creative town for almost everything but advertising. Architecture. Restaurants. The theater. Comedy. But when it comes to advertising most people here just want to work at big mediocre agencies-Leo, DDB, Draft, rather than start something on their own. Even the mid-size agencies--Euro, CK, etc refuse to take chances, and hire folks like Postaer etc who are poster boys for big agency mediocrity. It's a sad state of affairs.

Hey man nice post.Thank you.

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Lewis Lazare has written the Media Mix column for the Chicago Sun-Times for the past seven and a half years.

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This page contains a single entry by Lewis Lazare published on July 8, 2010 12:16 PM.

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