On the heels of its Cannes Lions win as Agency Network of the Year, WPP’s Ogilvy has named Dentsu vet Menno Kluin as the new chief creative officer of its New York flagship office.
Ogilvy hires Menno Kluin as New York chief creative officer
Kluin last served as U.S. chief creative officer at Dentsu Creative, overseeing output of creative agencies 360i, dentsuMB and Isobar, which were consolidated in a sweeping reorganization announced last week at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. He stepped up to that post after serving as chief creative officer at 360i and before that, held head of art/executive creative director roles at Deutsch New York and DDB New York. It was not immediately clear who will be replacing Kluin at Dentsu.
In his new role, Kluin will work hand-in-hand with Ogilvy New York President Carina de Blois and oversee the agency’s creative product across its client roster. The agency recently became the creative and strategic agency of record for Audi of America, after an eight-month review. Other major clients include Ikea, IBM, Nestle, Nationwide, Samsung and The Coca-Cola Company.
In Kluin the agency gains a talent who has demonstrated a broad skill set across the work and in leadership. The Dutch native is a proven creative known for his sharp ideas and exceptional craft, and a methodical leader who is passionate about nurturing the careers of his team members. Early on, as an art director at Saatchi & Saatchi, he gained attention for his award-winning print and design ideas for the likes of P&G and JCPenney.
He then went on to prove his expertise across tech, social and more at 360i, helping to put the agency on the map creatively and business-wise. There, he oversaw notable campaigns for Oreo, such as the “Proud Parent” partnership with PFLAG; HBO’s Cannes Lions Grand Prix-winning “Westworld: The Maze,” which dove into the then-uncharted platform of voice tech; and Kroger’s AI-powered “Chefbot” that helped users make use of ingredients already in their fridge.
“I love building a place where many great things can happen, not just necessarily my things,” Kluin said. “If an agency was just a reflection of me, I don't think it would be a healthy agency. I don’t see the point of doing the same thing over and over. Clients now ask for different things than they did 15 years ago, but [I want to] open up the style, lean into the change. With change comes learning and growing and creativity gets better.”
What Kluin thinks will be key in his new role is simple. “I really consider listening the most important skill,” he said. “You have to accept that everybody has different philosophies and approaches, you have to accept that all clients are radically different. You have very heavy data-centric clients, or very traditional clients. You have people that love brands, and people that love smaller social assets. [It's about] being able to listen and figure out what truth is—for an individual, for an organization—rather than a one-style approach for everything.”
Kluin, who begins at Ogilvy today, steps into the post previously held by co-CCOs Danilo Boer and Marcos Kotlhar. Last December, Boer moved to FCB to become global creative partner while Kotlhar joined Publicis’ Le Truc as its new chief creative officer in April.
Kluin is just the latest high-profile hire to join Ogilvy over the last year. Last October, former TBWA\Chiat\Day New York Chief Creative Officer Chris Beresford-Hill became president of North America advertising, following the agency’s hires of McCann vet Devika Bulchandani as North American CEO and global chairwoman of advertising and Liz Taylor as global chief creative officer. Each of the hires came on board after former McCann Worldgroup Creative Chairman Rob Reilly moved over to WPP to become global chief creative officer.
In the midst of this turnaround moment, Beresford-Hill said that “there’s an abundance of opportunity, maybe so much that you can get distracted. But Menno is the kind of leader that’s going to be able to cut through the chaos, figure out the most important things to do and do them. it’s about having someone come in who knows how to connect the dots and bring the teams together, bridge the gaps and get all the different teams humming and putting great work out.”
Given recent big wins such as Audi, that team will need to grow. There are currently about 22 openings in the creative department that Kluin will be looking to fill, but he’s also adamant about making the most of existing talent. “I'm very invested in the team and never want to make it seem like the current team will be dismissed—not at all, not even close. I've built my career really working with individuals and figuring out what their priorities and strengths are and trying to see how to bring the best out of them.”
As for the culture he wants to create, Kluin said he hopes to build an environment for consistent, long-term success—"teach the right things, build the right processes, help everybody to build portfolios and have long-term, sustained careers," he said. "That’s is the hope, rather than individual sprints for short-term glory.”
“Menno is a modern creative who pushes the boundaries of possibility,” Taylor said in a statement. “He understands the complexities of our clients' business today and has a proven ability to produce creative solutions for them that are meticulously crafted and filled with wit and charm.”
De Blois added: “What many of us love about Menno is that he is a builder that brings out the true potential in talent, helps raise clients’ ambitions, and has a track record for delivering work that creates a meaningful impact. He also has an appreciation for David Ogilvy’s legacy, which is incredibly important to all of us as we continue to grow and evolve the agency.”