CLOSE-UP: NEWSMAKER/LEE GARFINKEL - Garfinkel picks up the creative gauntlet at D'Arcy. Global creative director is becoming a hands-on job, Francesca Newland writes

"A redundant breed", "ministers without portfolio" and "put out to

pasture" are some of the more negative phrases offered by members of the

creative community when asked to describe global creative directors.

However, for every detractor there is also an advocate of the role,

among whose number are D'Arcy's top management, who this week appointed

Lee Garfinkel as the network's worldwide creative leader.



The heavily moustachioed Garfinkel has a colourful background. He

started out in stand-up comedy and worked at the New York agency Levine

Huntley Schmidt & Beaver, later at BBDO and then moved to Lowe Lintas &

Partners in 1992.



He rose to the position of chairman and chief creative officer of Lowe

in the US but following the promotion of Gary Goldsmith to the top

creative post at Lowe in New York, Garfinkel decided to leave the

agency.



His work for Pepsi while at BBDO, including the "Shady Acres" spots with

Cindy Crawford and MC Hammer, shunted him into the creative

limelight.



Subsequent work for Coca-Cola, Heineken and Mercedes kept him there.



Garfinkel will work as part of a triumvirate made up of John Farrell,

D'Arcy's worldwide president and chief executive, and Susan Gianinno,

its president and chief branding officer. Gianinno insists that

Garfinkel's role bears no resemblance to the minister-without-portfolio

model. Like most of his peers, his role involves inspiring the network

to greater work, which will be facilitated with regional meetings - what

D'Arcy calls "creative uprisings".



However, Garfinkel's appointment is important on a different level.

Putting him alongside Gianinno and Farrell signals a refreshed

commitment to creativity from D'Arcy. Gianinno says: "We have to be

recognised as a top-tier, quality, creatively driven brand

communications business." It all sounds a bit like rhetoric.



Indeed, Andrew Cracknell, the executive creative director at Bates and a

former global creative chief for the network, says most global creative

directors simply don't have any power.



If the global creative doesn't like a piece of work in, say, Spain he

might complain and the Spanish creative director might even agree with

him. But they won't be able to steamroll the local marketing director

and agency chief executive into ignoring the local conditions that led

to the work in the name of creative integrity. However, they might with

the backing of the global president of marketing.



But the advertising market is changing and it's changing in a way that

is empowering global creative heads. Adrian Holmes is the chief creative

officer of Lowe Lintas & Partners Worldwide and the global creative

director on Unilever. He sees that the rise of global clients is leading

to a rise in the impact of global creatives. "An increasing number of

projects are briefed on a multinational or global basis. The role of the

global creative director is more and more hands-on," he explains.



Holmes believes that the role no longer means being paid a lot to do

very little. He says: "I find myself pretty close to real work, not

drifting off. That old style of working is rapidly disappearing."



He agrees with Cracknell that the client's authority is the ultimate

rubber stamp to passing good work. "Clients take you seriously because

you're in that role, they tend to look up and listen when you talk. I

have to exploit that to try and raise the game and inspire them to try

and buy into less risk-averse advertising."



Each of the global creative directors interviewed for this piece saw his

particular brand of regular meetings to assess the quality of global

work as central to his role. And all admit that much of the global

creative's time is spent parachuting in on an important pitch or shakey

piece of business to demonstrate the network's commitment to a

particular client.



So will Garfinkel's appointment improve D'Arcy's creative output? As one

of the three managers in charge of the network, he has the power, on

paper at least, to make change. His appointment also signals a positive

intention from the network. Holmes says: "He's an immensely talented

creative guy. If he can replicate the kind of events that occurred in

New York (with Lowe) on a bigger stage, then I'll say D'Arcy made a good

move."



GLOBAL CREATIVE DIRECTORS: WHAT DO THEY DO ALL DAY?



Geoff Thompson, worldwide creative director, FCB



"The role of global creative director depends on the agency one works

for and where it is in the cycle of global evolution. FCB has only been

global in the past ten years and our network was built through

acquisition - by buying strong local agencies with their own cultures

and their own ways of doing business. So part of my job is to help teach

this network how to be a network in the service of our global clients.

The other part is to take advantage of these different cultures by

exporting our best practices."



Bob Isherwood, worldwide creative director, Saatchi & Saatchi



"No-one seems to have difficulty imagining the role of a worldwide chief

executive officer. Our worldwide CEO is Kevin Roberts. He drives the

network and I drive its creative product. Our offices in New York are

side by side. We are a team. CEO and CD in partnership. We are ranked by

Cannes results as the world's number one creative network (along with

DDB). This is not by accident. It's the result of continual improvement

through leadership, coaching and a global vision for the company that I

helped write."



Michael Conrad, chief creative officer, Leo Burnett



"My job is to raise the bar throughout our network. I am focused on the

quality of the agency globally and then have my own way of dealing with

improving the global product: a committee that meets every three months

and in which we look at and grade more than 1,000 pieces of work from

agencies around the network. We then give feedback to the local creative

directors."



Adrian Holmes, chief creative officer, Lowe Lintas & Partners, global

creative director, Unilever



"Power is replaced with influence when you become a global creative

director. That's influence with creative directors in the network and

with clients. I'm closer to the work than I used to be. "I also run the

Lowe Lintas creative seminar, where we teach a group of young art

directors and writers the basics."



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