Two top creatives depart DDB to open their own shop


Highdive’s Chad Broude and Mark Gross

NEW BOUTIQUE AGENCY HIGHDIVE is being launched by DDB Chicago award-winning creatives Mark Gross and Chad Broude, who leave the agency Wednesday. At Highdive they will focus for now on project-based assignments for online services.

Included are projects for Next, Google-owned smart home company, Xedo online tuxedo rental company and Jawzone, a forthcoming “social powered online designed for sports-related conversation and debate,” reports Agency Spy.

EVP/ECD Gross has been with DDB for 22 years, arriving as a junior art director from New York’s Chiat Day, and CD/copywriter and Broude, a multi-Cannes Lion winner, for eight years. They had worked together on many of the same accounts, including Capital One, State Farm, Bud Light and Skittles.

They are Highdive’s only two employees hiring from a list of agency freelancers. The Highdive name was inspired by the concept of taking a great risk, through either executing a difficult physical feat or attempting to create great advertising.

CHICAGO-BASED VR COMPANY, Embodied Labs, that creates “immersive, interactive, virtual reality experiences for health training,” won the top prize of $25,000 in a Winston-Salem, N.C. startup competition, from among 100-plus applications from 19 countries and 21 states.

Founded last May by University of Illinois / Chicago biomedical visualization student Carrie Shaw, Embodied Labs uses VR technology, narrative filmmaking, and empathy-focused curriculum to create a tool for teaching medical students patient care.

In its winning film, “Alfred,” the viewer is taken through seven minutes in the life of an elderly man suffering from hearing and vision loss. Their curriculum is being used in classes in UIC’s medical school this fall.

LEARN ABOUT OUR FILM OFFICES at a Thursday, Oct. 6 seminar with Chicago Film Office director Rich Moskal and cultural affairs coordinator Beckie Stocchetti and Illinois Film Office director Christine Dudley, PR/special projects Julie Morgan and tax incentive manager Cesar Lopez. They will discuss location scouting, film permits, tax credits, working with SAG/AFTRA and more.

Presented by NATAS and IFP Chicago at the Museum of Broadcast Communications, 360 N. State, 6 p.m. Free for IFP members.

SOURCE CREATIVE RETURNS OCT. 12 for a second year, with what its hosts claim are “the very best unsigned directing talent around the world – the best work you’ve never heard of.” The short films and pop promos comprise a 45-minute program that will be held at the Music Box Theatre.

“The films come from all corners of the globe, so expect to find some undiscovered gems,” says host Jamie Madge, Source Creative’s worldwide editor.

“The show’s aim is to be a rollercoaster ride through moving-image delights designed to inspire your creativity and entertain your socks off.”

Doors open at 7 p.m., screening at 7:30. Free and open to all.

A PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION YEAR traditionally slows down business but still, there’s production going on. So send news of what your work to ruth@reelchicago.com or call 312/274-9980.

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