While some large New York agencies-including WPP Group's Young & Rubicam, Omnicom Group's BBDO Worldwide and Publicis Groupe's Saatchi & Saatchi-have in-house music producers, the role is still rare in the Windy City.
"To actually create a division in the [production] department makes [music] a step of a process as opposed to something that's always there and always assumed but not embraced a much as it should be," said Tom O'Keefe, executive creative director of FCB, Chicago.
Mr. Mahoney's job will incorporate typical duties of agency music producers from consulting with creatives and clients on music and sound design matters, acting as a liaison and interpreter between the agency and music sources, labels and artists, and managing rights and payment issues.
But Mr. Mahoney said he will also have input before creative development begins, rather than after the process already has begun. "It's not that I'm just going to be some touch-and-go resource," he said. "I want to be much more thorough at the front and stick through the process."
With the agency since 1988, Mr. Mahoney, 40, has held roles from audio engineer and radio producer, to producer and worked on accounts including Kraft Foods, Coors Brewing, Applebee's and Bally Total Fitness (see the Bally spot at Adage.com QwikFIND aao75g).
Named "Stump" after riding a go-kart into a tree when he was a kid, the Chicago native is a lifelong musician. He is recording an album to be released next year as a singer and guitarist for underground band Boom Hank.
Music directors are increasingly in demand, said Ira Antelis, who was named to that new post at Publicis Groupe's Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, last year. "It used to be people would create jingles," he said. "Now, it's you want to buy a song, license a song, hire a band. It's 85 more questions."