Wordsmith out to rewrite shop history

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Mimi Cook's ambition is to break into one of advertising's most exclusive boys clubs: the leadership at creative powerhouse Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco. (Currently no Goodby full partner is female.) Ms. Cook, 40, currently is an associate creative director at the shop and has lent her hand to ad campaigns often crafted by men.

Recently, she helped develop spots for Anheuser-Busch's Michelob beer and Adobe Systems. She also recently was named to help head up creative on the Match.com account.

That's not bad for the Modesto, Calif., born woman who says she did not have a clue about the opportunities in advertising when she graduated from the University of California-Berkeley with a degree in comparative literature, English and Latin. She did, however, have one important life insight: People who did well in life loved what they did, she says.

Ms. Cook took an entry-level advertising job in the San Francisco office of what was then Chiat/Day. Later, she went to work in Chiat/Day's New York office.

Some of Ms. Cook's celebrated work came during a stint at Foote, Cone & Belding, San Francisco, where her credits included animated spots for Levi Strauss & Co.'s jeans for women. The Levi ads were "Woman Finding Love" and "Woman Breaking the Mold," in which a figure of a woman on a restroom door comes to life and breaks the circle which contained her image.

At Hal Riney & Partners, San Francisco, now Publicis Groupe's Publicis & Hal Riney, Ms. Cook created commercials for General Motors Corp.'s Saturn. At Omnicom Group-owned Goodby, her recent work includes spots for Sonicare in which an unlikely tooth fairy-a grumpy guy in a tutu-visits consumers.

In addition to the occasional voiceover work, Ms. Cook also has helped the agency in the new-business department, landing the Elizabeth Arden fragrance account.

"I knew Jay Chiat [the later founder of Omnicom Group's TBWA/Chiat/Day] and Hal Riney [chairman emeritus of his eponymous agency] to some degree," says Ms. Cook, who's the mother of Nell, 2, and Remi, 4. "But I want to be a partner at Goodby," she says. "That would be great to me."

Co-Chairman Rich Silverstein says, "Mimi represents the agency in the best light."

When asked if Ms. Cook would be promoted to director, he says, "She's pretty kick-ass."

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