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Picture 2.pngAs he prepared Tuesday to move into the top creative job at Euro RSCG/Chicago starting Dec. 1, Jason Peterson, 42, was full of high hopes that he will play an instrumental role in helping make Euro one of Chicago's top ad shops. Peterson, of course, wouldn't be the first creative to arrive in Chicago with such an optimistic attitude, only to be quickly forced to confront a less rosy reality.

I've always had a soft spot for Chicago advertising," said Peterson in an interview Tuesday. His first full-time job in advertising was at a small, now defunct Chicago agency. The majority of his career has been in New York. But Peterson said he used to stand in front of the Leo Burnett building and imagine it was Disneyland. If Peterson has been following Burnett in recent years, however, it might be more difficult for him to conjure such a fantasy.

But one thing is certain: Peterson has a big job ahead of him if he is to succeed at making Euro RSCG/Chicago a major player. First he will have to contend with the absence of any significant, high-profile above-the-line accounts. Euro is said to be in hot pursuit of the Sonic fast food chain account, but if the shop doesn't land that piece of business, Peterson will have to look elsewhere for an account that he could parlay into a calling card to attract additional new business to Euro. And new business is what the agency desperately needs to begin to rebound.

Plus, Peterson will have to contend with the fact Euro RSCG's below-the-line business has been the tail wagging the dog for some time now. Absent that, the agency probably would have closed its doors long ago. Peterson expressed excitement about working with Euro leader Ron Bess ("the most genuine man I've met in the business") and with Joy Schwartz and Jamie King, who have been doing most of the hands-on running of Euro RSCG/Chicago and trolling for new business.

But King was a good friend of Steffan Postaer. With Postaer removed from any position of real power, the landscape at Euro RSCG is considerably changed from what it was when King arrived. And sources now say King may not be sticking around much longer to see what Peterson can accomplish.

At Translation/New York, his most recent outpost, Peterson was focused on work aimed at adolescent and young adult demos. He said he wants to run a creative department and work on a "wider palette" now, and he intends to make that happen at Euro RSCG. Peterson plans to move his family to Chicago, so he looks to be serious. As it always does though, only time will tell what Peterson can achieve.

More on Jason Peterson, the newly-anointed chief creative officer at Euro RSCG/Chicago. An agency spokesman said Peterson intends to focus quickly on new business development -- an effort that has not yielded the kind of results agency management no doubt hoped to get in recent years with Steffan Postaer and Blake Ebel at the creative helm. "There's lots of new business floating around out there," said the Euro spokesman. Indeed there is, but getting it on the roster has proved daunting, not only for Euro, but plenty of other shops in Chicago.

Peterson attended the Portfolio Center in Atlanta and got his first job as an art director in advertising at the defunct Arian Lowe in Chicago, before moving on to New York, where he worked at Berlin Cameron and at Fallon before heading to Translation, where he is both executive creative director and a partner in the shop.

In his new role as Euro RSCG/Chicago chairman, Postaer, who was moved out of the chief creative officer job at Euro RSCG to make way for Peterson, will work on special projects for the agency and involve himself in pitches where appropriate, a spokesman said.

Postaer apparently also will be paid to continue working on his personal blog and his writing projects, which in recent years have included two novels -- one self-published and another about a gay interior decorator that has been released on the web in installments over the past several months.

Picture 2.pngSteffan Postaer is indeed out as chief creative officer at Euro RSCG/Chicago. But not out of the agency at least for now. Postaer's being kicked upstairs and will have the title of chairman, though it's unclear what duties he now will have at the agency. The new chief creative officer is Jason Peterson, effective Dec. 1. Peterson most recently served as executive creative director at Translation/New York. Peterson will report to Euro RSCG Chicago Group CEO Ron Bess.

"Jason has done some great work for some of the country's biggest brands," said Bess. "But what really attracted us to him was that he represents the future of creativity. He understands the new dynamic that digital and social media have brought to our clients, and I believe he can motivate our creative teams to come up with future-focused, big ideas in this space," added Bess.

As executive creative director at New York-based Translation, Peterson worked on business for McDonald's, Target, State Farm and Wrigley. Prior to Translation, he was a creative director and founding partner at Berlin Cameron and Partners/New York.

"Recently, there's been a lot of talk about chief creative officers with a lack of traditional and digital knowledge, when in reality there aren't many forward thinking agencies," said Peterson. "Euro RSCG has the best handle on new media and still knows the idea is essential. That's why they were the clear choice for me. Great creatives have caught up and what everyone should be looking for are people with big ideas," said Peterson.

Steffan Postaer is indeed out as chief creative officer at Euro RSCG/Chicago. But not out of the agency at least for now. He's being kicked upstairs and will have the title of chairman, though it's unclear what duties he will have at the agency. The new chief creative officer is Jason Peterson, effective Dec. 1. Peterson most recently served as executive creative director at Translation/New York. Peterson will report to Euro RSCG Chicago Group CEO Ron Bess.

As executive creative director at New York-based Translation, Peterson worked on business for McDonald's, Target, State Farm and Wrigley. Prior to Translation, he was a creative director and founding partner at Berlin Cameron and Partners/New York.

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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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