New Business Spurs Draft Chicago to Open 50 Positions

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Draft Chicago looks to hire 50 executives across all disciplines after winning new accounts this year, including multicultural and pharmaceuticals work not yet made public.

The agency seeks to fill positions in its creative, account services, interactive, multicultural and healthcare departments. Positions include art director, senior art director, copywriter, senior copywriter, account executive, senior account executive and even senior vice president level.

"I think the industry has been opening up a little more this year over the previous years," said Sharon Beyer, executive vice president and director of human resources at Draft Chicago. "But I think we're a little ahead of the curve."

The decision to bolster Draft Chicago comes a month after Draft New York and its Interpublic Group of Companies Inc. parent lost the Bank of America account to BBDO New York. That switch cost 40 to 50 jobs, or 7 percent of the staff strength, in the Draft New York office.

Draft Chicago typically adds 45 executives a year after filling positions left vacant by departing staff or through additions to its employee roster. The agency claims annual attrition of 15 percent. This new hiring spree is on top of additions made yearly to Draft Chicago.

This year has been bountiful for Draft Chicago. It won Nokia's global business, Los Angeles Times, Johnson & Johnson, S.C. Johnson, American Marketing Association and an undisclosed pharmaceuticals marketer.

The agency also drew incremental work from existing clients like Masterfoods USA, Procter & Gamble Co., Kellogg Co., MilkPEP, U.S. Postal Service, State Farm, Ross Products, Brown-Forman, Chicago Mercantile Exchange, DeVry University, PACCAR Parts, CVS/pharmacy and Kaiser Permanente.

Draft Chicago has increased staff 11 percent this year to nearly 500. Executives were hired from agencies like Leo Burnett, Ogilvy & Mather, Upshot and Deutsch.

A block from Chicago's Michigan Avenue, Draft Chicago's multi-floor office has stayed clear of the edgier, industrial look preferred by many agencies, branding or direct. The office's atmosphere -- blond wood, space, plenty of sunlight, good views, proximity to a lively shopping and eating district -- combined with training programs and incentives like yearend spot awards of American Express gift certificates are points touted to potential recruits.

Also, an avant-garde coffee bar open to all adds to the ambience. Employees are charged $1 for most drinks. The money goes to Pediatric AIDS Chicago, a local charity for children with AIDS.

"That bar could be reserved just for clients and senior-level people, but it's open to everyone," Beyer said. "We encourage individuals to participate and give back to the community."

Mickey Alam Khan covers Internet marketing campaigns and e-commerce, agency news as well as circulation for DM News and To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting

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