Tilley, an 11-year agency veteran, took the creative reins of DDB, Chicago in September 2006, managing major clients such as Anheuser-Busch, McDonald's and OfficeMax. Since being named creative head, he oversaw the launch of Bud.tv, and guided A-B to it's 10th consecutive Super Bowl AdMeter derby win this year.
In a memo to staff on Saturday, agency President Rick Carpenter said: "Last night, Paul Tilley tragically died at age 40. The reality of this news is difficult to comprehend. It is such loss for DDB, but also for our industry, our community, and certainly for his family and all who loved him. ... Paul was a mentor to many, a friend to all. His ability to lead, inspire, and yes, entertain will be so greatly missed."
Tilley graduated from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism and got his career started at LaSalle Bank before moving to the agency side with jobs at Tassani Advertising, JWT, Chicago and finally DDB. He is survived by his wife and two children. Visitation will be tomorrow at the Donnellan Family Funeral Home in Skokie, IL, and memorial service is planned for Wednesday morning at the Alice Millar Chapel at Northwestern.
DDB has set up a memorial page on its website for Tilley that friends and colleagues are encouraged to visit.