Close-Up: Can Mahoney reinvigorate Euro RSCG creative?

He's created high-profile work for other shops. Now Mick Mahoney needs to do the same at Euro RSCG.

Mick Mahoney notes that it's been more than a few times now that Campaign has referred to him as "low-key".

And it's true. Despite working at agencies such as CDP, Mustoes and most recently Bartle Bogle Hegarty, and despite being the man responsible for award-winning campaigns for brands including Agent Provocateur, Stella Artois and Vodafone, he has stayed relatively under the radar.

But, after being appointed by Euro RSCG two weeks ago as the man to replace Mark Hunter as the agency's executive creative director, Mahoney now faces a challenge where he will simply have to step into the spotlight.

For Russ Lidstone, the chief executive of Euro RSCG, the appointment was a huge decision to make. The agency had been left shell-shocked by Hunter's departure in April, and needed a man who was able to bring a sense of purpose and stability to the shop.

Mahoney's reel is certainly long and impressive. Along with running British Airways and Vodafone while at BBH, he also produced the award-winning "funfair" work for Hamlet while at CDP, and the "car" print ads for Stella Artois, which picked up the Cannes Grand Prix, while he was at Lowe Howard-Spink.

Working alongside his creative partner Andy Amadeo, now a creative director at Grey Advertising, he was also responsible for the iconic "proof" spot for Agent Provocateur, which featured Kylie Minogue riding a bucking bronco machine.

Mahoney faces a tough task if he is to oversee anything of similar creative stature at Euro RSCG. Lidstone has done an admirable job in steadying the ship, but the agency is still in a relatively fragile state, scarred from a debilitating 2008.

On the creative side, in particular, one would struggle to name any significant pieces of the agency's recent work, and three Turkey of the Week awards (and no Picks) this year speak volumes.

It's a situation that Mahoney must change fast. He needs to reinvigorate the creative department by taking it in a new and exciting direction, while at the same time strengthening the agency's positioning within the Euro RSCG global network.

Those who know Mahoney, though, believe it's a challenge he will thrive on.

"Mick has always created great work, wherever he's been," Amadeo says. "He's an incredibly strong character, and has a very clear idea of where this industry is going."

"He's very forward thinking," Nick Gill, the executive creative director at BBH, adds. "By working on tough global accounts with us, he's already proved himself as a great leader, and was always the catalyst for positive change."

Mahoney himself speaks enthusiastically about "the huge creative opportunity" that lies ahead. He highlights the chance to work on next year's General Election campaign in particular, and emphasises his ambition of making the right hirings to allow the agency to become fully channel-agnostic.

And while he is by no means the final piece in the Euro RSCG puzzle (the agency is rumoured to be looking for a chief strategy officer, among others), if Mahoney can come in and raise the profile of the agency's creative work in a better way than he has raised his own over the years, then the appointment can certainly be seen as a step in the right direction.

MAHONEY'S HIGHLIGHTS
1997: Simons Palmer, Nike "God" - won two Cannes gold Lions
2000: Lowe Howard-Spink, Stella Artois "car" and "table" - won Cannes
Grand Prix
2001: CDP, Agent Provocateur "proof" - won BTAA silver
2002: CDP, Hamlet Miniature Cigars "funfair" - won Cannes gold Lion
2007: BBH, Vodafone "time theft" - won two yellow Pencils
2008: BBH, British Airways "Terminal 5 is working"
2009: BBH, Johnnie Walker "the man who walked around the world"

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