"We met [Y&R Global CEO] Hamish McLennan in Cannes last year and we just got to talking to him, and he just followed up," says Vitrone. "We had quite a few meetings with him. It was clear when he hired Tony, and from our conversations, he is 100 percent committed to great creative work. He's the Global CEO and he's taken a personal interest in this. You can tell when someone's sincere and we got that impression from him that this is a top priority to him. We're excited. At a point you've just got to go where you feel comfortable and where the best opportunity at the time lies." Adds Reichenthal, "Hamish has given us full support and that means a lot to us coming from the head of the agency. That's all we really asked for, to have that kind of support. And we'll try to do our part."
Reichenthal and Vitrone, since arriving at TBWA, have cut a wide creative swath, thanks to their leadership on a spate of category-reinventing ads for Starburst, Snickers and Combos, starring unforgettable characters like Little Lad, Man Mom, and the Skittles Midas.
"This business is all about hiring great people and doing great work," says McLennan. "If you look at Scott and Ian along with Tony, they're all brilliant at what they do. We want creative people who are big thinkers and versatile, and Scott and Ian have got a history of thinking outside the square and they're just terrific people. In terms of where we want to take the agency, it always comes down to people and hiring very very well. We feel very good about them and their abilities.What we're doing is saying where are the biggest briefs and the biggest challenges, and applying our best people. So these guys will be doing a lot of significant work across the network."
And expect more developments in the near future. "I think you'll see more hires across the globe," McLennan says. "We've taken a view about where we want to take the business and we want to be known for doing brilliant work for all the mediums. This is just the beginning."
The announcement of the Reichenthal/Vitrone departure also follows Friday's news that another Chiat/N.Y. award-winning duo, Isaac Silverglate and Jeff Anderson, the young creatives behind the Combos "Man Mom" campaign would be leaving for Droga5. As for what will become of the legacy left by all the candy men, "I I hope it continues, I really do," says Vitrone. "I'm actually kind of excited to see the next interpretation of Skittles or Starburst," adds Reichenthal. "I think it'll be pretty interesting."