Close-Up: Can the quiet DDB lifer revitalise FCB London?

Andrew Fraser swapped DDB for the challenge of turning round the troubled FCB's creative output, Kate Nicholson says.

Nigel Jones, FCB London's chief executive, and his newly appointed creative director, Andrew Fraser, have more than a few things in common.

Both are quiet, but frighteningly intelligent. Both have spent much of their careers - in Fraser's case, his entire career - at DDB London (and its previous incarnation, BMP DDB). And both are passionate about FCB London adopting an integrated approach to its output.

But mention Fraser's name and you might be met with blank faces. As James Best, DDB Worldwide's chief people and strategic officer and a former colleague of Fraser's, explains: "Andrew is not someone who seeks the limelight. He is more Adrian Holmes than Mark Wnek. At FCB, perhaps it's time he raises his voice a bit more."

On closer inspection, you realise Fraser is the guiding hand behind The Guardian's "fresh" campaign and Volkswagen's "surprisingly ordinary prices" work that scooped a D&AD silver in the Integrated Advertising Campaign category, four Cannes gold Lions and a BTAA ITV Ad of the Year award, to name a few.

In 1991, at the age of 29, Fraser joined BMP, where he worked for John Webster, a man he describes as "my mentor, the great man himself". Working his way up from creative placement to creative partner, his portfolio boasts work for John Smith's, PG Tips, the launch of The Guardian's Berliner format and Channel 4's launch of More4.

So why, after 15 years at the same outfit, did Fraser decide to move to FCB London? After all, FCB is not an agency associated with creative brilliance or new-business success.

Fraser explains: "It's more a case of what I am going to than what I am leaving. This is my chance to run my own department, to shape the agency's future. FCB offers more interesting horizons. It is an agency that is broken and really needs fixing and there is a very definite brief of how to do this."

Those who know Fraser say FCB London is an appropriate choice. Leslie Ali, Fraser's former creative partner at DDB London and now a director at Partizan, says: "When we were partners at DDB, he was never afraid of the tough brief or the bigger challenge. Going to FCB London is the sort of opportunity he will relish."

Ultimately, Fraser's biggest challenge will be to get FCB London back on the pitchlists and to put together a good reel.

Jones concludes: "The new FCB is going to be integrated root and branch and that takes a particular type of creative director - one who thinks in ideas rather than just executions and is equally excited by the expression of that idea in whatever medium or channel is going to be most effective. The unique thing about Andrew is that he has got all that but his work shows that he can also live with the best specialist television and print creatives when he needs to."

In naming Fraser as FCB's creative director, Jones has pulled someone out of the shadows to lead a creative turnaround. Fraser, in turn, needs to prove that he has the requisite skills to thrust FCB into the spotlight.


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