Calle Sjoenell Hired for Chief Creative Post at Ogilvy, New York

Bartle Bogle Hegarty Exec to Move to WPP Shop Next Month

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Calle Sjoenell, deputy chief creative officer at Bartle Bogle Hegarty, New York, is heading to crosstown rival Ogilvy, New York, where he will take on the post of chief creative officer.

Calle Sjoenell
Calle Sjoenell

It's a key role that Ogilvy has been looking to fill for just under a year. Mr. Sjoenell succeeds Lars Bastholm, who left Ogilvy last spring. Mr. Sjoenell will report to Ogilvy North America Chief Creative Officer Steve Simpson. He'll partner with Alfonso Marian, who joined last year as the chief creative officer of OgilvyOne from Shackleton in Madrid. The duo will lead the New York agency's creative output.

Ogilvy is a far bigger stage than BBH, and Mr. Sjoenell will be working with a much larger department than he is used to. His clients will include IBM and American Express.

"I've worked with big clients all my life," Mr. Sjoenell said. "I actually worked with Ikea in Sweden. But it all comes down to the fact that there's a group of people -- client and agency, and you need to do great work. It doesn't change if you're big or small. How you manage to do that is all there is . At bigger agencies, there are big advantages, and there are things that happen you have to make better. That's the fun of it."

Mr. Sjoenell said that the courting period was relatively short -- about a month -- and that he hadn't been been entertaining plans to move. "I worked with John [Patroulis, BBH CCO], and he's fantastic. I worked with Google. I figured I had the best job in advertising, but when something like this comes along, you have to take it."

By "this," Mr. Sjoenell said, he means the opportunity to work with Mr. Simpson. "I felt like I really connected with him. He's a creative legend extraordinaire. I felt like we wanted the same thing." He also jumped at the chance to handle Ogilvy's attractive client roster, which includes IBM, American Express and Ikea.

"I can't hide that working with Ikea would be amazing," Mr. Sjoenell said. "It's a matter of national pride."

Mr. Sjoenell has a broad range of experience in both the digital and traditional sectors. His creative career began in his native Sweden, where he co-founded an interactive boutique, Moonwalk, which originally made websites and CD-ROM. The boutique eventually evolved into ad agency Starring, where he was creative director.

He and his brother Pelle landed in the U.S. in 2006 as group creative directors at Fallon in Minneapolis, following a path similar to other well-known Swedish creatives Paul Malmstrom (Mother New York) and Linus Karlsson (McCann). At Fallon , the Sjoenells oversaw notable work, including Sci-Fi Channel's Infinite Oz campaign. They then joined BBH, New York, as creative directors, doing projects for Axe and eventually going on to steer celebrated work for Google.

(Here's a piece Creativity did on the brothers a few years ago. They have since risen through the ranks and have been part of a team overseeing U.S. creative for BBH.)

The industry may wonder what will become of his longtime partnership with his brother. Mr. Sjoenell said that , aside from daily phone calls between close siblings and certain Google projects, they have largely been working separately for the past two years, with Pelle leading creative out of BBH Los Angeles and Calle managing Google in New York.

Google -- the No. 3 advertiser in the 2011 Creativity Awards Report, largely because of Mr. Sjoenell's stewardship -- is "in the hands of John Patroulis and [BBH associate creative director] Jesse Juriga, and I can't think of two more capable people," he said.

When asked about his immediate plans in his new post, Mr. Sjoenell said, "At first, I'm going to listen a lot. Listening is a very important skill in advertising. ... They have lots of ways they work that I need to learn and understand. ... With a job overseeing many brands, you really need to take in how they do it, and if there are things that can be done better, of course I'll try to do that ."

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