A leadership of veterans There can’t be many art directors, copywriters and account managers around who would balk at the chance to work in in the San Franciscan sun; and, as from this week, that sundrenched progenitor of startup online advertising agencies has yet another new arrival – Argonaut, which launched on March 4th.
Co-founded by Goodby, Silverstein & Partners alumni Rick Condos and Hunter Hindman along with Agency.com’s erstwhile president of West Coast operations, Jordan Warren, the new agency has received financial backing – despite not having any clients signed yet – from Project Worldwide.
Condos and Hindman are now Argonaut’s Chief Creative Officers, while Warren is the agency’s new President. They’re all seasoned veterans: Agency.com may no longer be with us (Omnicom rebranded it as Signal to Noise in 2010 but drew the shutters down on it the following year), but Warren has impressive credentials, having co-founded another San Francisco-based agency, Eleven, back in 1999. Condos and Hindman, former executive creative directors at Goodby, have worked on top brands like Chevrolet and Cisco, and earlier created classic ads like “Happiness Factory” for Coca-Cola when they worked together for Wieden + Kennedy in Amsterdam.
Argonaut’s six-strong team also includes Head of Strategy Max Heilbron, Business Chief Conal O’Doherty and Lead Technologist Robbie Whiting.
Goodby expats have founded a raft of recent Bay Area ad startups, like barrettSF, the brainchild of former Goodby executive creative director and partner Jamie Barrett, along with his colleague Patrick Kelly. Other shops in the area with Goodby roots include Eleven, Venables Bell & Partners, Shine, Stern & Partners and Butler.
A spirit of adventure
Describing their new venture, Hindman said, “We’re taking a lot of inspiration from the San Francisco kind of start-up mentality. We want to be agile, act quick and be artful.”
His colleague, Jordan Warren, says that the San Francisco ad market has been “coming back in the right way,” adding:
“It’s not about chasing fads and buying the hype. It’s about people getting their hands dirty and building sustainable things, delivering value.”
Rick Condos, when asked about the choice of name, said that it signaled the spirit of adventure the shop was aiming to live by, adding:
“[T]here’s a certain amount of quest for the unknown here and courage and striking out for unknown futures is exciting.”