BBDO replaces Gant with auto expert

BBDO Chicago is gearing up for a new creative regime, it appears ? and most likely a new business blast ? with the arrival of the not inconsiderable talents of Marty Orzio as the agency’s new creative chief.

He replaces Phil Gant, the well-liked BBDO Chicago’s creative chief, who spent almost 20 years at the agency. Gant has moved to Detroit in the number two job as ECD on Daimler-Chrysler, BBDO-Detroit’s sole client, albeit a substantial one. Its estimated $850 million in billings is spent on Chrysler, Dodge, Eagle, Jeep and some Mercedes-Benz models.

It would seem that Orzio might have been the more logical choice for Chrysler than Gant, since he earned his superstar status as an ECD on much-honored Mercedes-Benz advertising.

“Marty is a tremendous creative talent,” said BBDO president/CEO Tonise Paul in a statement. “He has a proven track record of leading teams to produce world-class creative that energizes clients’ brands.”

On other words, “We want to make sure we make good on our promise to deliver world-class work,” Paul told the Tribune’s Jim Kirk.

Orzio, 46, had been one of three ECDs on Mercedes-Benz for more than a dozen years. He had worked on Mercedes at Lowe & Partners for seven years before he and his two Mercedes ECD partners left in 1999 to join Omnicom’s Merkley Newman Harty & Partners on Mercedes. (Other MNH clients are BMW Motorcycles, Citigroup and Fila.)

BBDO’s number one client is Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co., an account also shared by DDB, another Omnicom agency. BBDO is Chicago’s tenth largest ad agency, and had estimated 2001 billings of $274 million.

Aside: With the addition of Orzio and FCB’s Tom O’Keefe return from San Francisco, Chicago’s bid for national recognition ratcheted up a few notches. Chicago has been in need of the superstars that illuminated the ad scene in years past.

Historically, New York creative heads prefer the tumult of Madison Ave. to Michigan Avenue’s more placid pace. Now that the city has become more Manhattan-like in recent years, perhaps these newcomers will find it conducive to permanent residency.