Greg Hahn Appointed Chief Creative Officer at BBDO New York

Exec Tasked to Bring Non-Traditional Approaches to Clients

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N.Y. CCO Greg Hahn (left) and BBDO North America CCO David Lubars
N.Y. CCO Greg Hahn (left) and BBDO North America CCO David Lubars

BBDO New York has named Greg Hahn chief creative officer, filling a seat that has remained vacant since the departure of Bill Bruce in 2010. Mr. Hahn had been executive creative director.

At the Omnicom Group agency, Mr. Hahn has made his mark with non-traditional approaches. According to David Lubars, the longtime creative chief of BBDO North America, this appointment marks the agency's commitment to bringing innovative creative thinking to its entire client roster.

With his long unkempt hair, disheveled clothing and laid-back vibe, Mr. Hahn very much looks the part of an outside-the-box thinker. After stints at Rubin Postaer and Fallon, he joined BBDO as an executive creative director in 2005 and since then has steered many of its celebrated integrated and multiplatform campaigns for clients like Fedex, HBO and AT&T. He helped to create the celebrated HBO "Voyeur" project, which projected a "Rear Window"-like tale across the facade of a New York City building, and AT&T's "Daybreak" and "New Possible" efforts, which carved out big broadcast spots in real-time style.

More recently, the agency also produced Vine campaign for Lowes, giving consumers quick home improvement tips -- one of the first widely-seen uses of the video app by a brand. Although Mr. Hahn was not executive creative director on that project, it's an example of the type of thinking he's hoping to nurture across BBDO N.Y.'s client base.

Mr. Hahn goes back a long way with Mr. Lubars: They have worked together for fifteen years, since their days at Fallon, Minneapolis. There, they helped introduce the landmark BMW Films campaign as well as other notable work like EDS's "Cat Herders" and campaigns for clients such as Citibank, Timberland and Sports Illustrated.

Mr. Hahn said the hope going forward is to establish a more formal process for bringing nontraditional work to clients. "It's been more of a scrappy approach, and clients now are asking for this kind of work," he said. "They're as on board as we are, so we really need to have a system in place that focuses on this. It's different than regular day-to-day advertising. It's really about exploiting any media possible and making sure we don't miss opportunities. I don't ever want our clients to feel the need to go somewhere else for this kind of stuff. We should be providing it. This is about making it a priority, versus just doing it."

The rapid advancements in technology make such oversight necessary, Mr. Lubars said. "In the old days, you knew the mediums, so you could have a set process, but the technology changes so much, you don't know what it's going to be."

The Vine for Lowe's came was in April, Mr. Lubars said. "It's old already."

Outside of working with each creative team to ensure every brief makes the most of all media opportunities, one of Mr. Hahn's projects will be to create a newsroom through which the agency can steer clients' social media activities. Such an entity has become commonplace for clients and other agencies. BBDO already has a newsroom system in place for AT&T but has not yet formalized the practice for its entire client lineup.

Mr. Hahn says one of his priorities in leading the department will be ensuring a level of mutual respect. "When someone brings you an idea you have to listen to it, not just try to put your stamp on it," he said. He added that while he'll be stepping up, he will still remain close to clients.

"I still like the work and to be very close to it," he said. "David's still North America CCO so I have him to lean on for some things. That's the curse of creative careers -- you get promoted out of what you got into it for. This allows me to keep my hands in what I like to do as well."

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CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article erroneously said Greg Hahn oversaw the Vine campaign for Lowes.

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