Since arriving at O&M on a free-lance basis in the fall of 1996, Mr. Wall has helped develop more than 50 IBM commercials, traveling to Dublin, Glasgow, Kiev, Cyprus and points in between in search of IBM solutions for a small planet.
"Now that I'm full time" on staff, Mr. Wall joked, "I'm hoping to cut back" on hours.
AD TEAM REUNITED
The 42-year-old copywriter's arrival formally reunites a close-knit trio that has produced some respected technology advertising. Mr. Wall will work with Steve Hayden, the agency's president of IBM worldwide brand services and creative director on the $700 million account, and Susan Westre, senior partner and executive creative director in O&M's Paris office.
"I like being back in the family again," Mr. Wall said.
Mr. Hayden is ecstatic to have the Wall/Westre team inside O&M.
SHALLOW TALENT POOL
"Finding people who do good advertising and understand technology is next to impossible," he said. "You can count the people who do that on your fingers and your toes -- on a worldwide basis."
Although Mr. Wall will continue to work on projects with Ms. Westre, an art director who leads IBM's European advertising creative, O&M is recruiting an art director to work with Mr. Wall in New York.
Mr. Wall and Ms. Westre have worked together most of the years since they met in 1984 at a Los Angeles agency. Mr. Hayden hired the two in 1987 to work on Apple Computer at BBDO Worldwide, Los Angeles. The team went on to create more than 100 Apple commercials and extensive print advertising, including such campaigns as "What's on Your Powerbook?"
MOVE TO WIEDEN
In 1994, O&M lured Mr. Hayden from the chairmanship of BBDO's Los Angeles office to run its IBM business; Ms. Westre followed Mr. Hayden. But Mr. Wall went off to Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore., and Amsterdam, to work on Microsoft Corp.
After helping develop that marketer's Windows 95 launch campaign, he left in 1996 and set up a creative boutique near family in Reno, Nev. Mr. Hayden soon enticed Mr. Wall to work with Ms. Westre on a quick-turnaround campaign for IBM's Lotus Development Corp.
The six-foot, 10-inch Mr. Wall, who graduated from Northwestern University on a basketball scholarship, agreed to join O&M after much wooing by Mr. Hayden and Rick Boyko, co-president of O&M's New York office.
Messrs. Hayden and Boyko are counting on their new recruit to mentor others at O&M and help the agency attract more talent.
Mr. Wall will have day-to-day creative responsibility for IBM's brand advertising, encompassing its high-profile corporate campaigns.
"There's a big job," Mr. Wall said. "You basically have to take all the good things IBM is doing and let the world know about it so IBM becomes part of the future."