CLOSE-UP: GLOBAL BRIEF; The rise of the super-creative

As Helayne Spivak settles into JWT, Jim Davies looks at international creatives

As Helayne Spivak settles into JWT, Jim Davies looks at international


As advertising networks continue to develop global strategies for

multinational brands, a relatively new breed of international super-

creative has emerged - the worldwide creative director.

New York-based Helayne Spivak is no stranger to the role; until last

week she was worldwide creative director of Ammirati Puris Lintas. This

week, having been poached by J. Walter Thompson, she becomes chief

creative officer North America and joint worldwide creative officer. She

also takes up a position on JWT’s worldwide board.

As impressive as the job title may sound, some industry watchers remain

sceptical about its true value. There’s just a slight whiff of sinecure

about it: a position created to keep a senior creative happy, but

perhaps slightly out of harm’s way. ‘Only a few people are doing that

job for real,’ admits Donald Gunn, director of creative resources

worldwide at Leo Burnett.

However, he hastens to add, he is a long-time admirer of Spivak and

believes she will be more than equal to the challenge. ‘She is

wonderfully talented,’ Gunn says. Spivak herself admits there’s a

certain ‘caricature to the role; you jet off somewhere, have a dinner on

the agency and head off’.

Gunn, hardly surprisingly, is quick to sing the praises of Michael

Conrad, Burnetts’ own worldwide creative director. ‘Michael spends an

enormous amount of time familiarising himself with the work coming out

of all our agencies,’ he says. ‘He always has a point of view, which

people can buy into or reject.’

Spivak also acknowledges this need to know the ins and outs of the

network’s output. ‘You can’t just go in there and criticise,’ she says.

‘You have to respect where they’re coming from. It’s important that

someone has an overview of the agencies’ work and can bring some co-

ordination to it.’

Allen Thomas, based at JWT in London, will continue his role as co-

worldwide creative director, with responsibility for Europe and the Far



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