The agency has been without a single creative lead since July, when Jack Neary departed as chief creative officer to take a one-year sabbatical from the industry to write a book about his early life. Since then, TBWA\Toronto has had its accounts and businesses handled by four creative directors, among them Oke.
“I had told our office and clients that I would take the summer and fall to look around our network for a creative lead, and it became clear to me Allen was right for the job as soon as Jack left,” said Jay Bertram, president of TBWA\Latin America and Canada.
“Allen approached me about being considered for the job, and he demonstrated beyond my expectations what I expect from a creative leader in terms of actions and behaviours,” added Bertram. “It was a relatively easy decision and for those in the agency it was no surprise.”
In leading the creative group, Oke will be tasked with ensuring creative innovation bridges all media to reach audiences for its client brands. He will work closely with Jennifer Simpson, director of digital production, and Tasha Dean, senior digital strategist responsible for bringing the Canadian and Latin American digital and social media practices into the Digital Arts Network (DAN), the agency’s strategic social media hub.
Before joining TBWA\Toronto in 2004, Oke was a senior copywriter at Lowe Roche and JWT. He started his advertising career at Ranscombe & Co. in 1997.
“He grew up in the traditional world, but has evolved beautifully into the digital and social world,” said Bertram. “Those two skills that are really hard to find in one person, and so I think we’re set for the future challenges of our clients in Canada.”