LUBARS TAKES TOP CREATIVE ROLE AT MINNEAPOLIS' FALLON: EX-BBDO EXEC'S BRAND STRATEGY, DESIGN SKILLS WIN PLUM POST AT HOT AD SHOP

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The biggest challenge lying ahead for David Lubars may not be his new job, but keeping his ocean view.

"I'm getting a house you can see the ocean from," he insists as he leaves the California operation of BBDO Worldwide and heads for Fallon McElligott -- in Minnesota.

All kidding aside, Mr. Lubars can look forward to one of the plum jobs in advertising as creative director of the hot shop. Handpicked by Fallon President Bill Westbrook, Mr. Lubars will lead the agency's creative efforts at a time when the shop, with $500 million in billings, is moving into a new era of international expansion, starting with the opening of a London office.

Mr. Lubars leaves his post as president-CEO and chief creative officer of BBDO West, which encompasses the agency's Los Angeles and San Francisco operations. Mr. Westbrook said he drafted Mr. Lubars, 39, because of his abilities as a brand strategist and his skills in melding design with communications. Also, the new creative chief will free Mr. Westbrook to focus on rebuilding the agency's New York office, and to sail his new boat.

Among the accounts under Mr. Lubars' domain will be BMW of North America, Holiday Inns, Miller Brewing Co., United Airlines and a new branding assignment from Nordstrom.

ROBB ALSO MOVING

Heading to the Midwest with Mr. Lubars will be BBDO West Senior VP-Creative Director Chris Robb, who becomes senior art director. At BBDO West, Tom Hollerbach, 39, rises to president-CEO from exec VP-general manager, and John Hage has been promoted to senior VP-creative director from associate creative director.

Mr. Lubars had some wins and losses at BBDO, the most notable loss being Apple Computer.

Apple's decision to review -- and then return last year to TBWA Chiat/Day, Venice, Calif., with its $60 million account -- was little surprise given turmoil at the PC marketer and years of friction and distrust between BBDO and a changing cast of Apple executives.

"From the day I got here, the account was in jeopardy," said Mr. Lubars, who arrived at BBDO in 1993 from Leonard Monahan Lubars.

Given the legacy of strong computer ad work done for Apple at BBDO Worldwide, Los Angeles, many observers have assumed the agency would land another major tech account. Mr. Lubars' move to Minneapolis could improve Fallon's chances to make a big tech play.

Wins such as Best Western International and Pepsi-Cola Co.'s Acquafina helped move BBDO beyond being an Apple service office. BBDO West claims $325 million in billings, $125 million of that in MGM/UA and MGM/UA Home Entertainment media.

During his tenure at BBDO, Mr. Lubars said, he tried to offer creatives the opportunity to fulfill their professional dreams and push their limits. Recently, however, Mr. Lubars said, he began to ask, "How do I do that for myself?"

Now, he will push those limits for an entrepreneurial agency that's starting to fulfill its global ambitions.

"You really work for the creative teams," Mr. Lubars said. "They don't work for you. The whole idea is you try to make it so there are no limits."

Contributing: Bradley Johnson.

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