Weeks bids U.K. farewell to take D'Arcy challenge

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Robin weeks figures his biggest challenge as the new chief creative officer of D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles' Troy, Mich., office is adjusting to the way U.S. agencies work.

That's because Mr. Weeks, 42, has spent virtually his entire 15-year ad career in Europe. From what he knows about American agencies, his impression is that they are overstaffed. "There's an awful lot of people not doing an awful lot of work," he said.

The U.K. native, who also becomes exec VP on March 15, did spend one month in Chicago -- during his four years at Leo Burnett Co., London. He said he was struck by how "American creative directors sit there and review work."

HANDS-ON

It's no surprise then, that although his role at D'Arcy is managerial, he has every intention of getting involved in writing ads for the agency's major client, General Motors Corp.'s Cadillac brand.

Part of his immediate responsibility will be to develop a global brand image. "Cadillac needs to be a cachet brand and it's not now," he said. Although he said D'Arcy's current Cadillac reel has improved from 18 months ago, Mr. Weeks is drawn to the challenge of taking it to the next level. "Who wants to come in when an agency is at the top of their game? That's a poison chalice."

To woo him, Patrick Sherwood, president of D'Arcy's Troy office, gave him a peek at future Cadillac models. Mr. Weeks was impressed. "These are fantastic products Cadillac has up its sleeve."

Mr. Sherwood said Mr. Weeks has a proven track record on luxury brands and will bring with him a global perspective "This is a significant step for D'Arcy Detroit as we continue to upgrade, rejuvenate and energize our agency with investments in creative talent."

Mr. Weeks will report to Mr. Sherwood and cites the executive as a key reason for his move. The two met in London and spent hours together as Mr. Sherwood convinced him to take the job. "Unlike other agency executives, Patrick [Sherwood] was very honest with what he thought was good work and what needed improvement."

Armed with a master's degree in English from St. Andrews University in Scotland, Mr. Weeks' entree into the industry was as a free-lance copywriter for Saatchi & Saatchi, London.

AUTO EXPERIENCE

Cadillac won't be Mr. Weeks' first car account, however. In the last six months, during his 13-month stint at J. Walter Thompson Co.'s Warsaw office, he worked on Daewoo as creative director. Before that, he worked on Mercedes-Benz for two years while at Burnett as group head-creative director, leading its effort to launch the Fiat Seicento in Europe. He also worked on BMW at WCRS, London.

When asked of his biggest accomplishment to date, however, he cited the Sega campaign he did while at WCRS.

When the agency won the business, Sega Enterprises had roughly a 30% share of the videogame market in the U.K. and Nintendo Co. had the rest. His team set to work, studying the teen target extensively. Within one year -- and with half the ad budget of Nintendo -- Sega managed to flip-flop shares with its rival, winding up with 70%.

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