After only a year in the role, Levi Slavin resigns as chief creative officer of Howatson+Co

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After only a year in the role, Levi Slavin resigns as chief creative officer of Howatson+Co

After only 12 months in the role, Levi Slavin has resigned as chief creative officer of Howatson+Co Australia to leave the agency world to join his family start-up Ironclad Co. in New Zealand.


Slavin announced his departure on Linkedin:

After 20+ years of working in advertising, I’ve decided to leave the agency world.

I’ve worked with incredible people, made lifelong friends, and lots of ads. Over the last few years, I was fortunate enough to bounce from Colenso to Australia’s greatest start-up Howatson+Co.

While the job was incredible, and our success inarguable, living away from family became too hard.

So, starting this year, I’m going to be joining our family start-up Ironclad Co. full time. Please have a look at what we do. We’re very proud of what we’re making.

To make sure I don’t go mad, I might take the odd freelance project. But only for nice people.

Thank you for having me.


Says Howatson+Co founder and CEO Chris Howatson: “We’re so grateful for the year we’ve had with Levi. He is brilliantly talented and very, very funny. He has contributed enormously to building the team, the culture and of course the work. I’ve never met anyone who can write like Levi. It’s hard being away from family though so we’re happy for him for the choice he’s made. Iron Clad Pans will be a household name, so everyone watch this space.”

On the role going forward, Howatson says the CCO position will not be replaced:  “Instead the agency has brilliant ECD leadership in Gavin Chimes, Richard Shaw and Jeremy Hogg who have all been with the company from its origins and have been fundamental in building our team and culture, deep relationships with clients, and our creative philosophy of intersectional creativity.”

Slavin joined Howatson+CO from Colenso BBDO Auckland in January 2022.

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.

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 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.

Perth-born Slavin, whose first gig was 303 followed by Marketforce Perth, worked at Colenso in 2006, and left a legacy of iconic work like Trumpet ‘Undies’ and the launch of Frank soft drink.

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.