As seasoned art directors and account managers know well, year’s end is often a time when up-and-coming shops decide to draft in new talent to help them realize their growth ambitions. And New York’s Johannes Leonardo, a boutique agency co-founded in 2007 by veteran creatives Jan Jacobs and Leo Premutico, is gearing up for the challenges ahead with three major new appointments.
A talent infusion
The agency, which won the Small Agency of the Year Silver Award from AdAge in 2011 and the AdAge “Campaign of the Year” award for its “Project: Brief” campaign for Google last year, has fast established itself as an agency with unconventionally original creative output. That suggests its creative flair is married to its business acumen rather successfully – account managers are every bit as important as art directors in up-and-coming agencies like this.
Michael Duda, 42, will leave his current role as managing partner at the marketing consultancy and investment fund Consigliere Brand Capital to become Johannes Leonardo’s first Chief Executive (he’ll also join Jacobs and Premutico as a partner). Duda has an impressive background in Adland, having been partner and chief corporate strategy at New York’s prestigious Deutsch agency (part of the Interpublic Group of Companies); he’s also done the rounds in high-profile agencies like Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners.
Mr. Premutico describes Duda as “a great guy with a genuine passion for where the industry is headed,” a vital capacity, he believes, in an advertising landscape where “digital agencies try to add skills in traditional advertising, and traditional agencies try to add digital skills.”
Joining Mr. Duda at the agency to become its new executive creative directors (and flying in from their current professional home at Clemenger BBDO Melbourne) are the multi-award-winning creative duo, Julian Schreiber and Tom Martin. The two have garnered more than 200 awards during their careers, including their exemplary work on the National Australia Bank’s “Break Up” campaign, which won the Cannes Grand Prix in 2011, three Grand Prix Spikes and, as if that weren’t enough, the very first Grand Prix for effectiveness. The campaign is credited with transforming the bank’s image virtually overnight.
Experienced art directors will agree: this agency is going places. It’s moving to a bigger, bespoke office in SoHo before the close of 2013 and the future looks bright.