Advertising / Hiring

Why Chris Reif left Allen & Gerritsen to work at a smaller agency

The founding member of A&G's Philadelphia office has joined Armor, a small Philly-based digital agency. But why?

Chris Reif is Armor's new executive creative director. (Courtesy photo)

Chris Reif’s South Philly home was Neiman’s first-ever office in Philly.

He kicked off the satellite office of the Harrisburg, Pa.-based creative agency in 2007 as a two-person operation, which he saw flourish to a 55-employee headcount and, later, to a 2013 acquisition by Boston-based Allen & Gerritsen.

But then on June 18, in an emotional Instagram post, he said goodbye to the company he helped build.

Reif quickly jumped aboard a new ship, this time rejoining Dan Hughes — that other employee from Neiman’s early days in Philly — to build out Armor, a five-person team of digital marketers.

Scott Peters, CEO and founder of Armor, had nothing but praise for Reif, the company’s brand new executive creative director.

“His creative eye, unprecedented leadership skills, and infectious personality are a rare mix in our world,” said Peters. “He was the absolute perfect choice to lead the creative charge for our clients today and the one’s we’ll have tomorrow.”

Reif was a key member of Neiman’s (and then A&G’s) Labs division, which was known for playing around with new technologies to find creative applications for potential clients. His work helped link up the agency with brands like Yuengling, Beats by Dr. Dre and Temple University.

So why the switcheroo to a smaller agency, albeit, with a more senior staff?

“A lot of it has to do with me knowing myself really well,” said Reif. “I perform at my best when I can contribute to an organization on a wider level. I’m a creative director by trade, but I also like to have a hand in how we grow and shape the agency and its culture.”

From A&G’s side, there’s no ill will to be found. Once again, nothing but praise.

“Chris is a master creator and builder,” said A&G CEO Andrew Graff in an emailed statement to “He started A&G Philly in his basement in South Philly nine years ago and played an integral role in growing it into the major-league agency we are today. We have no doubt he’ll do the same with Armor.”

Beyond the glitz of his new title, Reif is brutally honest about how taking the plunge from a large organization felt.

“I was scared shitless,” said Reif. “A&G had me set up for such success. … But I was there for nine years, which in advertising years is a really long time.”

Moving onward with the new gig, Armor’s new hire sees great potential in his reunion with Hughes.

“He and I get along really well,” said Reif. “Working with him, combined with Scott giving us free reign, is really cool.”

What’s to come for the next six months at Armor? Solidifying the company’s social base, partnering with other agencies and winning over clients. The agency’s early work includes this campaign for the Viaduct Rail Park.

“I see us seeking out clients that need help bringing their brands to life online, or improving on an existing experience,” said Reif. “The truth is, not all of them will have huge budgets, but that’s where a firm like us can help.”

Companies: Allen & Gerritsen

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