Mr. Carr, managing partner-director of brand planning, was recently promoted to general manager of the new San Francisco-based West Coast operation, Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners West. At the moment, Mr. Carr is conducting interviews with prospective staff, settling on office space and looking for a place to live.
"I think there's a creative revolution going on in San Francisco. . . . They've really broken through on a national scale," Mr. Carr said.
A MAGNET FOR CLIENTS
The city has become a magnet to attract clients from the western half of the country, and entrepreneurial opportunities in the area are expanding, he added.
Mr. Carr said he is as excited about his arrival in San Francisco as he was when he landed in New York to work for Chiat/Day in 1984, following seven years as account planner with three different London agencies. He eventually became planning director in Chiat's New York office before leaving in 1991 to join Kirshenbaum.
Kirshenbaum hopes to open the San Francisco office this week to service its newest account, Mother's Cookies, located in Oakland, Calif. The account involves launching a regional campaign in 14 western states-an effort that will include advertising, direct marketing and public relations.
The Mother's brand is well- known on the West Coast and ranks second to Nabisco in the 14 states west of the Mississippi where it retails, Mr. Carr said. The product has great brand equity and a strong element of loyalty from consumers who grew up on the cookies, so KB&P West is "just dusting it off," he said.
The brand hasn't had a strong ad campaign, let alone any TV, in a long time, instead using mainly promotions and couponing, Mr. Carr said.
"It's an exciting time, but it's much easier when you have a great client to start with," said Mr. Carr. Mother's Cookies' new president, Pat O'Dea, is "a real brand guy" who recognizes the equity of the brand as "the Snapple of cookies."
SIMILARITIES TO N.Y.
Kirshenbaum's office will open with a half-dozen staffers, a mix of locals and transplants from outside San Francisco, Mr. Carr said. The office itself, in the South Park neighborhood, will be reminiscent of the New York office-loft space in a renovated industrial building.
That's not the only similarity. Mr. Carr said KB&P West will have the same emphasis on account planning and "healthy disrespect for the power of traditional advertising" as does its parent.
The San Francisco staff will handle creative and account planning, but other functions-including media, PR, interactive and design work-will be done in New York for now, he said. KB&P West will also use the new-business resources of the main office when it begins seeking new accounts.
The operation will stay separate from Montgomery North, the Kirshenbaum spinoff that last month won the $18 million account for Charles Schwab & Co.'s electronic trading product.