Pritchard takes reins at Y&R

She couldn't have timed it better if she'd tried.By the time Jane Pritchard, the new executive creative director of Young & Rubicam, officially assumes her duties first thing this morning, the dust should have just finished settling after the agency's recent...

She couldn’t have timed it better if she’d tried.

By the time Jane Pritchard, the new executive creative director of Young & Rubicam, officially assumes her duties first thing this morning, the dust should have just finished settling after the agency’s recent move two floors down into new office space on Bloor Street in Toronto.

The Canadian-born Pritchard, whose rumored appointment was the focus of intense speculation in the agency community two weeks ago, says she is excited to be returning to Canada after working 10 years abroad – first in Hong Kong, and, most recently, in Detroit.

For one thing, it was in Toronto 21 years ago that the multi-award-winning Pritchard began her career as an art director with Leo Burnett.

As well, although her brand portfolio with jwt in Detroit was fairly diversified, the office exists primarily to service Ford and the automotive aftermarket.

At y&r in Toronto, Pritchard will oversee a brand portfolio that is probably the broadest of any y&r office in North America.

Pritchard says she looks forward to returning to an agency that focuses primarily on packaged goods advertising.

‘I love packaged goods, I love beer… I’m excited about working on Kodak again because I worked on it in Asia and won mega awards,’ she says.

Pritchard will oversee a creative department that numbers in the mid-20s, including copywriters, art directors and print production staff.

In 1986, she left a senior creative post with J. Walter Thompson, Toronto, to head up the creative department of jwt in Hong Kong.

After twice leading the shop to agency-of-the-year awards, in 1988 and 1989, she returned to North America as senior vice-president, creative director at jwt in Detroit.

Pritchard says her experiences in Hong Kong taught her a great deal about advertising in a multi-ethnic marketplace, adding she looks forward to testing her skills in Canada, where ethnic markets have grown substantially since she left.

There is, however, at least one aspect of Hong Kong she will not find duplicated here.

It is estimated that 98% of Hong Kong’s eight million residents watch tv every night, which means advertisers run through tv spots in a matter of days and weeks rather than months.

‘We used to make 150 tv spots a year,’ Pritchard says, adding ‘in Canada, a creative might work on six, eight spots a year.’