We finally heard from Tim Pontarelli, and we can now re-confirm that, yes, after more than 20 years in the employ of Leo Burnett/Chicago (with much of that time spent on the agency's Hallmark business), Pontarelli has indeed parted ways with the shop. But he apparently did not leave the agency as one of the victims of the recent bloodbath/restructuring that claimed more than two dozen employees.
Rather Pontarelli coincidentally exited at the same time because he did not wish to accept a new, non-Hallmark-focused job that chief creative officer Susan Credle had offered him. "It was time to go," said Pontarelli, who is looking forward to some time off to consider his options, which might include working for another agency or getting into the production end of the business, including directing. In fact, he is headed out to the west coast now to hang for a while with his mentor Joe Pytka, one of the most legendary of all TV commercial directors and the man who helmed Pontarelli's masterpiece, the Hallmark spot titled "Hooper."
Meanwhile, we're told that the Hallmark account has now been put under the control of Burnett creative Jeanie Caggiano. She also heads up the Allstate account, where "Mayhem" has been much in evidence in recent months -- referring to the high profile campaign that personified mayhem and aimed to amuse some viewers and strike fear in the souls of others.
But Caggiano and others probably were not pleased to hear the news coming from Allstate the past couple of days: Allstate policyholders in large numbers are not renewing their policies. That could signal a need for a change in marketing tactics. Will "Mayhem" prevail? We'll see.