CB Exclusive – Sydney/Melbourne start-up Howatson+Company has lured Perth-born, former Colenso BBDO, Auckland CCO Levi Slavin to take the role of chief creative officer, filling the void left after the departure of founding CCO Ant White in August. He started his career in Perth at 303 and Marketforce.
CB announced Slavin’s departure from Colenso BBDO at the beginning of the month.
Slavin’s creative reputation has been built over a 21 year career working in Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States. He has won over 100 international awards across dozens of brands; including 15 Grand Prix, 35 Cannes Lions, 20 D&AD Pencils, and New Zealand’s first Black Pencil at D&AD. Slavin’s work has featured at TED, ranked #1 on both the iTunes music and podcast charts, and become part of popular culture through song, product innovation, branded series, and film.
Says Chris Howatson, chief executive officer at Howatson+Company: “Levi is a wonderful human being first, brilliant creative second. He is renowned for his empathy, his commitment to developing his teams and building deep relationships with his clients. I’ve known Levi for many years – both of us having long tenures at Clemenger Group – and the opportunity to partner with him in building H+Co is a career highlight.”
Says Slavin: “I am beyond thrilled to finally have the opportunity to work with Chris. He is an absolute force of nature. Chris’ vision for the agency is extraordinary. It’s the only model I’ve come across that will keep up with culture, the needs of brands, and return some humanity to our industry. I can’t wait to return home to Australia and get started.”
When Trump was elected in 2017, Slavin moved from New York to New Zealand to run Colenso BBDO. It was a homecoming, having left Colenso BBDO Auckland in February 2014 to take a global creative director role at Anomaly, New York. In his first year, Colenso BBDO was named the #1 Best and Bravest by Contagious, #6 most awarded in The Big Won Report, #10 in The Gunn Report, and Agency of the Year by Axis and Campaign Brief. Colenso BBDO was named Cannes Agency of the Decade for the region, and CB’s Agency of the Decade for the second time.
Before Colenso, Aussie expat Slavin spent two years as a EVP, group creative director at BBDO New York. His work on The Message — an 8 episode original branded podcast — won two Gold Lions for GE. The following year, the sequel Life.af/ter won a Yellow Pencil at D&AD. Before BBDO, Slavin was global creative director at Anomaly NY working on Google and Diageo.
Slavin joined Colenso BBDO in November, 2009 as deputy CD from Saatchi & Saatchi London, eventually elevated to CD six months later.
He then moved to Saatchi & Saatchi Auckland followed by two years at Saatchi & Saatchi London, working on campaigns for T-Mobile, Carlsberg, P&G and Cadbury. At Saatchi’s he completed the first global campaign in Guinness’ history, working with director Antoine Bardou-Jacquet.
Slavin will commence officially in January 2022.