Grey gets its Guy

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Grey, San Francisco hired Guy Seese, former creative director and associate partner at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, as its new executive creative director. The agency says that Seese, known for his work at Goodby with such clients Saturn, Motorola and Sprint was brought in to partner with managing director of Grey West Betsy Sperry "to set the creative vision for the agency, recruit top talent and guide new business creative efforts."

We spoke with Seese about the move, what attracted him to Grey and what he hopes to accomplish there.

Guy Seese
Guy Seese
How did this move come about?
I've been freelancing at Grey for about two months now. I came in to help out on a couple projects with the idea that it was a bit of a test drive. So I kicked the tires for a while and at the end of the day I was impressed with the management team and the people they have. I think the creative they've been doing is solid work. It's not glamorous but it's solid and often that's the hardest stuff to do, so they just need some opportunities to do some bigger stuff.
I've been freelancing for a while, in New York, some work with the Barbarian Group out here in San Francisco, and I kind of liked the idea of being the Lone Ranger. But what I missed was the opportunity to build a team, and the camaraderie that went with it. Jeff Goodby is a good friend, and he told me that I needed to start my own agency, and I got started on that through these side projects, but ultimately it's a really difficult thing to do. It's very difficult to find the right people you can trust with the right business acumen for the job. So when I was talking to Betsy she said that they had that entire infrastructure there and the agency is waiting for someone like me to take it to the next level. That was really exciting because the people I had met there are top notch.

What's been your past impression of Grey?
Well, it's always been a bit of a mystery for me. It wasn't really all that much on my creative radar. My opinion has since been, they do good work but is it really stuff I would do? I think they have that potential, they just need the leadership. And you've seen it happen, where the right person goes into one of the larger businesses and turns things around. Seeing what Ty (Montague) has done with JWT, and that's on a way bigger scale than here, is a good example. So it's about being given the freedom to do that, which Betsy has not only assured me of, but pretty much laid it out as my mandate. So it's a really exciting time to be here with the interactive people we have and the creatives here.

How will you put your stamp on the creative department?
First, I think that Grey West and Grey San Francisco have a very powerful integrated department. As a leader, Betsy is very personable and deliberate. When she something, she goes and gets it and I appreciate her style of tenacity with a smile. They have a really serious ability to understand and build websites, both front end and back end. We have the ability to do the kind of work many shops have to farm out. I think with my background in integrated work and their expertise in creating sites, there could be some magic there.
They're really collecting some great talent and giving us the reins to make the work sing. They've got all the pieces here to do great work, they just need to do it louder, so hopefully I can come in and provide some volume.
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