- NEW YORK
Greg Hahn, former chief creative officer of BBDO New York, has found a new roost, teaming with Canadian agency No Fixed Address (NFA) to launch its first U.S. outpost, Mischief @ No Fixed Address. Based in New York, the new venture launched today (6/1) with Hahn as partner/chief creative officer and Kerry McKibbin as its president. McKibbin most recently served as SVP/group account director with MullenLowe U.S. in Boston.
Hahn--who had been with BBDO for 15 years, the last seven as its NY CCO--was laid off from the agency a couple of months ago, a move which was part of parent company Omnicom Group’s pandemic-sparked flurry of furloughs and cost cutting measures. Hahn told SHOOT he viewed the change as “an opportunity to try something completely different” given that the world is seemingly “reinventing itself every day now.” He had meaningful conversations with folks at various platforms, high profile agencies, holding companies, tech and in-house concerns but ultimately found himself most drawn to No Fixed Address, an agency founded three and a half years ago in Toronto by ad industry vets Serge Rancourt and Dave Lafond.
Hahn respected the caliber of the agency’s work as well as its business model which he said has been well ahead of the curve, part of that shop since its inception and something which today people are grappling to replicate in some form, particularly in light of the pandemic, “I remember thinking a while back, that for any big agency within a holding company, the model that would be most threatening would be an agency filled with A-list talent, custom-built around each client’s specific needs with streamlined process and less overhead. Then, after I found myself suddenly outside that system, I learned that there was someone in Canada who was doing exactly that. NFA was my first call. It was instant love. And so here we are.”
Ultimately, though, Hahn affirmed it’s all about the work--and NFA has exhibited great creative and strategic wherewithal, most recently reflected in its winning five cubes at the ADC Awards in NYC, including a gold and three bronze for the Canadian Centre for Child Protection’s “Lolli: The Exhibit Nobody Wants To Talk About.” NFA, which also has an office in Montreal, sports a client roster which includes AB Inbev, Questrade, J.P. Wiser’s, Little Caesars, Dairy Farmers of Ontario, and Mattamy Homes.
Conversely, looking to gain a significant foothold in the U.S. market, NFA taps into a creative leader in Hahn. At those same ADC Award proceedings last month, the competition unveiled its rankings as determined by the cumulative point totals of ADC Cubes and Merits won. Hahn finished as the second most awarded creative director globally, behind only Matthias Spaetgens of Scholz & Friends Berlin. BBDO NY, under the creative aegis of Hahn, also recently earned distinction as Agency of the Year at the 2020 Webby Awards.
“We have been looking for an opportunity to introduce our agency model into the U.S. market, but first we needed to find the right people and the right fit,” said NFA co-founder Lafond. “So much of this industry is about chemistry and Greg and I just clicked immediately. We had ideas exploding right from the very start.”
As chief mischief maker, Hahn explained the significance of the Mischief @ NFA moniker. “Mischief suggests playfulness and a world that is free of fear. It’s about an environment where you are free to fail and also free to excel. Fearlessness is where you can dream bigger. We want to use that to produce work that creates a stir.”
Now assuming the presidency of Mischief @ NFA, McKibbin reunites with Lafond. She worked with him from 2005-’11 during a stretch of dramatic growth at Publicis in Toronto.
Lafond and Rancourt, the founding fathers of NFA, also worked together previously at Publicis, building that brand in Canada over the course of 11 years.
McKibbin is enthused over the prospects of forming a similarly strong collaborative relationship with Hahn, adding that NFA is committed to “championing our people,” prioritizing humanity and diversity “as a counter to what is happening.”
Hahn is NFA’s second major creative hire in recent months. In April, Jordan Doucette, the former executive creative director and CEO of Leo Burnett in Chicago, was named president of NFA in Toronto.