Wayne Best Named ECD at Taxi/N.Y.

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Wayne Best
Wayne Best
Having worked at Wieden + Kennedy, Cliff Freeman & Partners, Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners and now-shuttered Fallon/N.Y. during his 14-year tenure in advertising, Wayne Best opens a new chapter in his career with his appointment as ECD at Taxi/N.Y. He took the time while traveling to answer a few questions for AdCritic about the start-up agency, mobile phone clients and the non-traditional agency mindset.

AdCritic: Why did you go to Taxi?

Wayne Best: The reason I came to Taxi is that I feel like I can't think of another agency that's more poised to grow quickly. It's the best of both worlds when it's fresh and it's a start-up and everybody feels an ownership and the culture is entrepreneurial. But on the other hand you have Jane [Hope] and Paul [Lavoie], and the office in Toronto with 140 people. You've got a lot of knowledge, so it's like a start-up with more experience. I have to say that walking in there I feel sometimes like I'm cheating, because it's just ready to go.

AC: How has it been in your first week?

WB: They seem like a really solid, good, energetic group of people. I think that a lot of what will happen will be in the new business arena. I think we're going to start landing accounts that will change the agency dramatically.

AC: This is your first gig as an ECD. Does that make a difference?

WB: Basically, it's not that dissimilar from my situation at Fallon, but Ari [Merkin, then ECD] had a bit more seniority. You work closely together regardless. In any small agency you'll work closely with everyone. So it's not like that high-tower-looking-down-on-the-troops big agency situation. I'm looking forward to working closely with [creative director] Dan Morales again.

AC: Do you see similarities in working for Amp'd Mobile and Virgin Mobile [where Best led the original "Chrismahanukwanzakah" campaign]?

AMP'D Mobile 'Bus'
AMP'D Mobile 'Bus'
WB: It's funny because they're both targeting youth, but the demographic on Amp'd is a little older than Virgin, which skews about five years younger. They're very different clients culture-wise. Virgin is all about inexpensive consumer advocacy, and Amp'd is about technology. It's almost like a little entertainment center that you can make phone calls on. Obviously they both spend a lot of time on MTV. The new work is about the power to entertain yourself. There's a guy on a bus telling people what to do. I think it's going to be good.

AC: What is your take on the movement of the industry toward the non-traditional?

WB: It's great, because Paul has already done it in Canada, and I did it at Fallon and Dan did it at Cliff, so we're all on the same page. It's an advantage because you don't have to educate clients. We don't have any habits to break. The whole convention from the beginning at Taxi has been to doubt the conventional, and that applies to the work and the way that you do the work. I found from working at Cliff and at Wieden, when you have a certain culture, clients will seek it out. They're there because of what you do. With Amp'd it's a match made in heaven.

AC: Obligatory Taxi pun: Do you ride in them a lot in New York?

WB: That has the potential to be a really cheesy answer. I guess the answer would be yes. The philosophy behind the agency name, and I might get this slightly wrong, is that there should be no more point people on your business than you can fit in a cab. It's about having people committed to the agency's business. It's a good policy.
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