Leadership changes have swept into the Windy City, with CCO Andrés Ordóñez jumping from Energy BBDO to FCB Chicago and the former agency promoting Josh Gross and Pedro Pérez to replace him in the role. As Ordóñez prepares to succeed Liz Taylor at the IPG network, Adweek caught up with the incoming executive and recent Creative 100 honoree to discuss that transition.
This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.
What do you plan to bring to this role and how might your approach differ from the one taken by past leadership and the approach you took at Energy BBDO?
Andrés Ordóñez: I can tell you from my experience leading Energy BBDO, we became one solid team … fighting for the same thing.
I think it’s going to be all about going in and looking at the work with the people, getting to know them very well, and making them feel that we’re doing this together, that I’m not coming here to just tell them where to go and what to do. It’s more about, ‘Where are we going to take FCB next?’ We’re going to do it together. It’s not a one-man job. It’s a team job.
What can you tell me about how FCB is structuring its creative leadership team in the U.S.?
I’ll be part of the global creative council, reporting to [global CCO Susan Credle]. I’ve already been in contact with the FCB New York team and FCB West. The offices are very connected, and Susan does an amazing job around the council and where she wants to take the agency. The partnership between Susan, [CEO Carter Murray] and [worldwide creative partner] Fred Levron has been incredible. It’s just amazing to see how much they care about the work and the people.
Here in Chicago, it’s a big group, we’re one of the main offices, if not the main office, [with] around 200+ creatives, so it will be quite interesting.
So working across the network and collaboration between offices is going to be more of a focus?
Yes. The way Susan has organized the system, we’re very well connected and it’s everyone pushing toward a goal. It feels like a very, very strong network.
What do you view as the main challenges of this role? You mentioned the size of the office.
It’s definitely a bigger challenge. You just want to become the very best because there’s a reason why you are No. 1. We need to prove to ourselves that we can become the very best at everything that we do for the network. You’ll hear more about FCB across [the network] than just different offices.
Are there any brands you’re particularly excited to work with at FCB?
They have great brands, honestly. When you look at Kimberly Clark and the things that you can do with the brands they have, the brands that they have under the Clorox company [along with] Anheuser-Busch and [the opportunity] to do great work for the Super Bowl.
If you look at the different brands and you put it against the industry and the potential that they have, it’s just amazing, the categories that are just ready [for us] to do great work, not only from the storytelling side but for innovation.
How has your tenure at Energy BBDO prepared you to take on this challenge?
I had very good access to the network. I had [the opportunity] work closely with [BBDO chairman and CCO David Lubars]. He always did the right thing to push me and push my teams into what he was expecting our office to become. You get to that point where you realize, “I can take on more,” and we were actually at that point a little bit when this happened. When you see that you’re impacting more than one business and doing great work and the machine is running the way it should run and delivering the type of work that the BBDO network always delivers, I was ready to take on the next challenge.
As someone who worked at multicultural and traditional agencies in the past, do you see the disciplines merging?
Yes, I think [the divisions between them] are disappearing. It’s like during digital times, there’s agencies that still focus on digital and there are companies that need that. But I do believe that great ideas transcend culture if they are born of a true human insight. So there is always that question, “Do I need to have it separate or together?” And I think you’d see it goes back to whatever the product is and how it is connected. But I think there’s always that one thing that can connect across cultures that we can deliver.
What makes the Chicago market unique in advertising?
Chicago has always been an advertising city, a second city, but it has had its ups and downs. I actually remember when I moved here, it was a little bit quiet. That was eight years ago and we were still very quiet. But I believe that in the last couple of years, it’s starting to come back.
Years ago it was hard to bring great talent to the city; now people are [asking to work here]. I think Chicago is getting better, stronger. We’re going to see good work coming from the networks out of here.