New agency with the old school “Mad Men” name of O’Keefe, Reinhard & Paul, whose doors opened in January but only recently announced their presence within Chicago’s booming agency industry, will start revealing their clients in 10 days, according to founder/president Nick Paul.
Founders/principals are CEO Tom O’Keefe, Draftfcb’s North American creative chief who left the agency after 20 years; CCO Matt Reinhard, formerly executive creative director at Omnicom, and Paul, who had been served in many capacities before leaving last year as Draftfcb’s chief global officer.
The company is backed by Interpublic.
Paul declined to name OKR&P’s half dozen clients, who have been steadily coming through the front door of their West Town office, until the agency’s work debuts in media.
He did, however, tick off the timetable of when new campaigns would break: one client’s work in 10 days, another’s in about three weeks, a new company’s work ready for release in about a month “and then there are two-three other new clients whose brands we’re currently working on.
“We started the business without clients, but we were fortunate,” Paul says. “When we told people about the new agency, we had industry contacts, friends and people who we’d done business with before saying, ‘great! We have a project for you.’”
Given O’Keefe and Paul’s lengthy association with Taco Bell and Yum Brands at Draftfcb, it’s not a stretch to speculate where some of that new business is coming from them, nor from Paul’s countless connections with Fortune 1000 companies developed from his years of leading Draftfcb’s most successful streak of new business.
The new agency, with seven full-time employees, is situated in a renovated West Town warehouse – once the home of Hometown Pizza — an expandable 5,000-sq. ft. of what Paul calls “awesome space that we can grow into.”
A writers’ table that can accommodate four-to-six people occupies one large open space and graphic designers are houses in another open area.
When it was time to shoot their introductory website video, the principals brought in 3,000 ripe yellow bananas (“What’s with the bananas?”) and loaded them on every surface, and the floor, throughout the office set as an homage to Reinhard and O’Keefe’s weeks spent in San Francisco working on the Amazon account.
After working long days they’d return to their corporate housing, “where all we had to eat was a bunch of bananas and a few glasses of whiskey,” they recalled.
“As soon the shoot was over, we contributed the bananas to nearby shelters and charities,” Paul assures.