Veteran creative Jeff Kling has been named as Chief Creative Officer at Publicis Groupe's Fallon, filling the post vacated by Darren Spiller in March.
Mr. Kling's last big industry announcement happened in August of 2010, when he resigned from his post as executive creative director at Wieden + Kennedy Amsterdam. At that time, he said he was leaving to pursue independent creative opportunities. Since then, he's been freelancing at various agencies, and "was not looking for a next gig at all," he said. "This was really not in my trajectory, as I had in mind to shape things really differently." But after Fallon approached him, "the whole organization really impressed me--super quality people who had their lights on," he said. "What I found really refreshing is that I could feel that everybody was really hungry. It seemed like everybody was up for something--to matter, to have a big impact, to have that feeling of winning."
Still, going back to working under a holding company will be a change for Mr. Kling, who has spent a large part of his career at various offices of independent Wieden & Kennedy.
He is known for creating work that not only resonates industry-wide but also within popular culture. Most recently, he worked at Wieden and Kennedy Amsterdam, where he was involved in notable efforts for clients such as Nike -- including the celebrated "Write the Future" global push -- Coca-Cola, and Honda.
His early days as a copywriter were at the agency's Portland office, where he was a co-creator of the the award-winning "Miller High Life" campaign. Directed by Errol Morris, the spots' sharp writing and distinctive art direction combined to make the everyman a hero, and his everyday moves, heroic. Between those stints, he also served as ECD at Euro RSCG, New York, where he was instrumental in bringing to life another famous beer stud, Dos Equis' Most Interesting Man in the World.
Fallon Minneapolis also has its own share of iconic moves, including groundbreaking campaigns like BMW Films, MTV's Jukka Brothers and other notable turns for Citibank and Travelers. But in recent years it seems the shop has fallen into a creative lull, something Kling says played no part in his decision to join. "I didn't get so gummed up in the history of the agency," he said. "The tenor of conversation was never, 'We have a problem we need to fix.' It just felt like there were a lot of genuine people who want to do their best, not only their best, but the best that possible to do. That kind of hunger is energizing."
Going forward, Mr. Kling hopes to help bring a more "human" aspect to the work. "I've had the opportunity to meet a lot of people from different agencies, in different capacities and disciplines. I'm always impressed by how many really good people there are in advertising, really talented people. If the quality of the industry was pinned to the quality of people working in advertising, it would be amazing. But to the average onlooker, if human beings spoke to other people the way ads spoke to people, they would be punched in the face. I'm not really sure what goes wrong. I feel like generally the industry needs to bring more of that innate awesomeness to its work and speak from a unique human perspective."