Mike McKay to Bring Swagger to Indie Shop Eleven

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San Francisco-based agency Eleven has hired Mike McKay -- a well-known West Coast creative who's spent time at BBDO, Saatchi & Saatchi and Goodby Silverstein & Partners--to serve as a partner and its first-ever chief creative officer.

Eleven was founded in 1999 with three creative directors but has never had a CCO. The agency's CEO, Courtney Buechert, told Ad Age the time was right now to hire someone who could "own the creative product" and serve in "a new role that's scaling along with us."

Eleven has gone from 11 employees (hence the name) when it opened to more than 120 now. The agency-which counts as clients Apple and Virgin America-was the recipient of one of Ad Age's Small Agency Awards earlier this year.

Most recently, Mr. McKay was overseeing the creative department at the Omnicom Group's BBDO San Francisco, a post for which he was brought in by BBDO North America Chairman-Chief Creative Officer David Lubars in late 2010. Before that he spent time at Saatchi & Saatchi and was responsible for the agency's popular "Swagger Wagon" campaign for Toyota. He also was a creative director at Omnicom's Goodby Silverstein & Partners.

Mr. McKay said the move is a sign that after working at larger network agencies, he's ready to "try something different." "BBDO was absolutely amazing, but this was an opportunity to be a partner at a smaller shop that's been growing steadily," Mr. McKay said. "It's more nimble...and you do have a lot of freedom to go after what you want [in terms of new business.] With a network there's a lot of conflicts so it can be tough when it comes to pitching."

He starts his new job sometime in the next couple of weeks.

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