Merkin, for his part, has had a whirlwind of a year since joining Cliff Freeman from Crispin Porter + Bogusky in December. Since then, projects he worked on at CP+B have dominated the major award shows, with one spot, Ikea "Lamp," winning both the Grand Clio and the Cannes Grand Prix. Merkin himself won 13 Pencils at this year's One Show for work for MINI, Ikea, Bell Helmets and the American Legacy Foundation. "It was a really good year," he concedes.
Merkin is the sixth associate creative director to leave Cliff Freeman since last May amid a brain drain that has seen defections by other top executives, including former ECD Eric Silver. Currently, there are three ACDs at the agency: Dawn McCarthy and Laura Fegley, who came aboard from Merkley Newman Harty in February, and copywriter Dan Morales, who was promoted last month.
Merkin, however, discourages drawing any inferences from his departure. "This really has so little to do with Cliff Freeman," he says. "It's about taking a job that was so good I couldn't pass it up." Merkin starts work at Fallon on July 28.