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Recently in Steffan Postaer Category

He's gone. Steffan Postaer, we're told, quietly exited the offices of Euro RSCG/Chicago late last week. No big farewell party. No email to the staff. Postaer just left.

But he did post a message -- with a bit of a "Sound of Music" theme -- on his blog, the Gods of Advertising. Referencing the song "So Long, Farewell" from the show, he said he would be working on various writing projects short term, and seeking a new chief creative officer post or other creative leadership position long term.

Postaer said his parting was amicable, but sad. And yes, he couldn't resist mentioning that we had, for quite a long while, referenced the shop as a "corpse." There was a time when we thought Euro RSCG might leave that corpse-like state behind for good. Lately, we've been a little less certain of that. But with new creative leadership, Euro RSCG is forging ahead toward whatever future await its.

As for Postaer, well, it will certainly be interesting to see what the future holds for him. Is there another Altoids out there waiting to happen? Maybe. Maybe not.

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.

Staff at Euro RSCG/Chicago were in quite the dither Tuesday as many were still digesting the news that the shop's chief creative officer Steffan Postaer has penned a new novel called "Sweet by Design."

It wasn't so much the fact that Postaer had written a novel that surprised some of his agency associates (he's published two others), it was more the subject matter of the tale that caught some of them off guard. "This is another curve ball to deal with," said one Euro staffer. "Sweet by Design," it turns out, is about an HIV-infected gay interior designer named Jeffrey Sweet, who is apparently trying to keep the truth of his identity from his conservative father.

The plot, among other things, involves a Gold Coast prostitute who blackmails Sweet. The novel's climax is the protagonist's confrontation with his father at the old man's 80th birthday party. In a synopsis of the story, Postaer writes: "Far from sick, he (Sweet) just acts that way, as a lifetime of lying catches up with him in this unexpected comedy about coming to grips when everything around you is falling apart." Unexpected, indeed.

Postaer first revealed the existence of this novel on his personal blog, even as he was announcing a contest to design a cover for the book, should it ever get published. Postaer also said on the blog he has had trouble finding a publisher and an agent that might help him get the novel published. The winning entry in the book jacket design contest will receive an iPad from Postaer.

When we attempted to reach Postaer Tuesday to talk further about his latest literary endeavor, he said via email that he was much too preoccupied with agency business to talk now, and suggested we arrange to chat at an unspecified later date. Mark it down, folks. That may be the first time in recorded history that Postaer has begged off of a possible opportunity for publicity. Could it be that all that dithering around him has caused him to suddenly adopt a lower profile regarding "Sweet by Design" and his efforts to publish the book?

King Head Shot.jpgEuro RSCG/Chicago CEO Ron Bess is putting not one, but two agency presidents in place at his agency. He is promoting Joy Schwartz, an executive director and an eight-year veteran at the shop, to the post of co-president, and Bess is bringing in Jamie King, formerly president and CEO of Publicis & Hal Riney in San Francisco, to work alongside Schwartz as co-president. Both will report to Bess.

If recent history is any indication, co-presidencies are a dicey proposition at any ad agency. Leo Burnett Worldwide CEO Tom Bernardin tried such a structure a couple of years ago, and it was a bomb. He brought in Juan Carlos Ortiz from Burnett's Latin American operations to manage alongside Rich Stoddart. Both even sat at desks in the same office. But Ortiz was gone within a year.

A Euro RSCG spokesman insisted King was being brought in to the Chicago agency on his own merits, but King's past ties to Euro RSCG Chief Creative Officer Steffan Postaer can't be discounted as a major factor in King getting the job. Together they ran the Burnett unit known as LB Works, which was eventually dismantled -- a move that did not sit well with Postaer. Both he and King quickly departed Burnett after LB Works was dissolved. Postaer wound up at Euro, and King headed west to Publicis & Hal Riney.

Under the new management arrangement at Euro RSCG, King will focus on new business development, while Schwartz deals with clients and agency operational matters. Schwartz has spent the majority of her years at Euro RSCG working with clients such as Sprint and Citi, which use the agency for direct marketing efforts.

No doubt having King around will make Postaer feel as if he has turned back the clock a bit to a time when he and King happily tended to their own little fiefdom at Leo Burnett.

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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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