Fathom Communications Is Closing Its Chicago Office While DDB Hires A Goat-Patched CSO

Sources tell Chicago Business Journal reporter Lewis Lazare that Omnicom unit Fathom Communications may be shuttering its Chicago offices. No one, of course, is confirming anything at this point. Fathom is based in New York and was founded in 2001. It's likely the office closure has everything to do with the agency's recent loss of the Navistar account, the agency's biggest account. The account is currently under review. Four months ago when the agency brought in Michael Baer to run the Chicago office, Fathom Communications CEO Peter Groome said: "We have a really good foundation in Chicago that's been building and building each year since we opened the office in 2005. We are excited to accelerate the momentum and take things to the next level with a proven leader and thinker like Michael." And so it is without surprise no one at Fathom wants to discuss this sudden loss just four months after things were all peachy keen.

St. Louis-based strategic marketing and creative agency McGowan Crain has expanded its service offerings and added Digital Strategist Perry Tovrea and Public Relations Specialist Jennifer Beidle. Tovrea will head McGowan Crain's team of designers and programmers to develop Web site strategies, platforms and content. Tovrea has more than 10 years of experience in Web and application development, project management, account management, print and Web design, Web hosting, network integration and corporate business solutions in management, sales and engineering. Beidle will assist clients in developing and executing public relations programs. Beidle has 15 years of public relations experience and has worked with such clients as Western Construction Group, KAI Design & Build, Switch: Liberate Your Brand, the Gateway Cup cycling event, Rx Systems PF, Metro Design Studio Salons, Brookside Agra, and others. 

Whichever agency -- Deutsch or Arnold -- wins the Sprint account, they had better be ready to hit the ground running. Aggressively. Because, according to what Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure recently told investors, that's exactly what he's looking for. During an investor call, Claure said: "Consumers don't know what a great value is, so you're going to see us be very aggressive in terms of advertising." Claure joined Sprint in August and promptly cancelled the brand's Framily campaign which Claure said was confusing to consumers. And then, of course, he launched an agency review which has yet to be finalized. Whatever Claure and the winning agency decide to do, it's going to have to be big. And this applies to T-Mobile too. Because no matter how awesome offers from Sprint may be, getting people to leave Verizon and AT&T is not going to be easy.

DDB Chicago has named awkwardly goat-patched Jack Perone as the agency's new chief strategy officer. Or in less title-inflated times, director of account planning. Perone will oversee the agency's strategic planning department working on such accounts as Capital One, Mars Inc. McDonald's and State Farm. Of the hire, DDB CEO Paul Gunning said: "Not only is he a passionate strategic thinker, but he brings to the agency a wealth of experience and a fresh perspective."



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