New DDB CEO Hints at ‘Ground Up’ Digital Strategy

peter-mcguinnessIf you want clues on how new DDB Chicago CEO Peter McGuinness will run his company, he says to take a look at the “ground up” work his Gotham team has recently done with Denny’s “Always Open” and Chobani Yogurt’s “Real Love Stories” campaigns. In both cases, the creative veteran said, digital and social marketing were irreplaceable in driving the brands to new heights, particularly with younger consumers.

“Chobani sold out of product and asked us to quit advertising [three weeks early],” he told ClickZ News. “If there are holes to fill [at DDB Chicago], we are going to fill them and fill them quickly. Digital is no longer a nice-to-do. It’s a have-to-do.”

On how his new agency’s digital/social campaigns may change after he gets to DDB Chicago, McGuiness added, “I haven’t gotten there to assess things or [develop] a vision just yet. With evolution in digital, there’s always work to be done. You do what’s needed in order to be first-rate and competitive. I also don’t want to have a digital practice just for the sake of having a digital practice. I want a credible digital case we can explode our clients’ business with, as well as use to win a ton of new business.”

He was announced this morning to replace Rick Carpenter, who was asked to step down as DDB Chicago CEO in December after 22 years with the company. Following three years serving as chairman-CEO at Interpublic Group-owned Gotham in New York and several other years stationed abroad, McGuinness spoke about taking on the advertising scene in the Windy City, where he was born, before moving to New Jersey as a child.

“I think it will round me out,” he explained. “If you are going to make a move, you should make one that is totally and completely different. It will be interesting. While some of the challenges are similar to Gotham, in terms of what DDB Chicago needs, there’s a lot that’s very different about it.”

While details are not final, he said, the transition into his DDB executive role would occur in around a month. “I’ve spent three years of blood, sweat, and tears on this place,” McGuiness said, addressing his time at Gotham. “And I quite like it as an agency. I will stay as long as I’m needed.”

After landing in Chicago, the CEO will work with the agency’s chief creative officer Ewan Paterson and recently appointed chief digital officer Jonathan Sackett.

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