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The nimble new ad shop with big agency clout: O’Keefe Reinhard & Paul opens its doors

You don’t need to be a vet­er­an art direc­tor to appre­ci­ate that if a brand new ad shop gets back­ing from the Inter­pub­lic Group, the chances are it’s got some­thing spe­cial to offer. In a land of agency Goliaths, fledg­ling shop O’Keefe, Rein­hard & Paul has ambi­tions to become a real David as it opens its doors in Chicago’s West Loop.

Big expe­ri­ence

The mere men­tion of the name Rein­hard will ignite the inter­est of the informed art direc­tor: co-founder Matt Rein­hard is the son of the leg­endary Kei­th Rein­hard, erst­while Chair­man of DBB World­wide. He’s re-unit­ing with his for­mer Draft­FCB bud­dies Nick Paul (who was once chief growth offi­cer for Inter­pub­lic) and vet­er­an U.S. cre­ative chief Tom O’Keefe.

Rein­hard the Younger, who once worked for hold­ing com­pa­ny Omni­com as exec­u­tive cre­ative direc­tor (a young art director’s dream role), knows a thing or two about attract­ing high pro­file clients. He learnt at his father’s knee of course, and Rein­hard the Elder was a for­mi­da­ble men­tor, hav­ing enticed MacDonald’s back to DBB against all odds after it had tak­en its Gold­en Arch­es to rival agency Leo Burnett.

A fast-grow­ing client could well be on the new agency’s ros­ter in the near future: Taco Bell, the Mex­i­can fast-food unit of Yum Brands. That’s down to the firm’s ties with Tom O’Keefe, who worked with the com­pa­ny close­ly dur­ing his twen­ty-year stint at DraftFCB.

Nim­ble feet

Taco Bell exem­pli­fies a grow­ing trend among clients who are eas­ing away from the lead cre­ative agency mod­el in favor of diver­si­fy­ing to numer­ous agen­cies for dif­fer­ent projects. Although Draft­FCB remains its lead agency, Taco Bell has recent­ly enlist­ed the ser­vices of Deutsch, anoth­er Inter­pub­lic agency, to work on oth­er aspects of the brand. There’s good rea­son to sup­pose that it’ll tap Rein­hard, O’Keefe and Paul any time soon.

Nick Paul puts the new firm’s approach succinctly:

“Over the past 10 years, we’ve seen the shift where clients are more in charge than ever, and look­ing for ideas from all over not just one agency part­ner. At the same time, they’re not look­ing for bou­tique-size ideas; they still want the busi­ness dri­ving results they’ve always demand­ed. We believe we can be at the front of this move­ment and bring our big agency, big-brand expe­ri­ence to a more nim­ble, mod­ern play­ing field.”

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