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San Francisco delivers another new baby as ad agency Argonaut is launched

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’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: 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.”

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