Atlanta and Tampa-based creative agency 22squared announced today that it has hired Matt O’Rourke as CCO.
O’Rourke joins the indie shop from Grey New York, where he served as executive creative director, oversaw global creative for Volvo and led that brand’s acclaimed three-part “non-linear” campaign that included a wedding, a road trip and a space flight.
Moving forward, he will relocate to Atlanta and lead all creative at the 100 percent employee-owned agency, whose clients include national brands like Baskin-Robbins, Buffalo Wild Wings, Home Depot and Publix Super Markets.
“Looking around our table of leaders, what we were missing was that creative voice,” said CEO Richard Ward about the decision. “Matt has demonstrated that beautifully; he’s a builder. Not only is he perfectly aligned with our agency’s purpose and culture, but his willingness to take risks and be courageously innovative will continue to propel the agency and our clients forward.”
The incoming CCO told Adweek that the prospect of owning equity in an agency was particularly appealing.
“I’ve worked for a huge agency in a large publicly traded network and I’ve worked for an indie,” said O’Rourke, who served as creative director at McCann, CP+B, Deutsch and Wieden + Kennedy before joining Grey in 2015. “The ability to make decisions for yourself and your people is a pretty definitive line.”
O’Rourke cited 22squared’s scrappy nature and his desire to create work that “shows a deep understanding of the emotions of people we’re talking to.” Working for major holding groups, he said, can sometimes impede one’s ability to do that.
“The idea of controlling your own destiny in the advertising business is a fleeting concept that has all but disappeared,” said Ward, describing many of 22squared’s 375 employees as “holding group refugees.”
Regarding the move to Atlanta, O’Rourke said the area’s recent explosion in advertising and production talent made the decision easier. “I enjoyed my time on Volvo; they’re a tremendous client that allowed us to do some beautiful work,” he noted. “But my mom said, ‘You’re just too comfortable.’ Funny how mom always knows best.”
A Grey spokesperson said the outgoing director “has had a great run” and wished him “much continued success.”
O’Rourke succeeds John Stapleton, who was promoted to evp, chief creative officer in 2015 before stepping away from that role to run a new division called The Innovation & Design (I.D.) Group late last year.
During his career to date, he has contributed to campaigns for Old Spice, Taco Bell, Burger King, Sony and more. His work has been featured in multiple Super Bowls and earned more than 25 Cannes Lions.