Lowe Roche loses the Roche (as Geoffrey Roche Steps Down) *updated*

Lowe Roche is losing their namesake as Geoffrey Roche who started the shop in 1991 has decided to leave the advertising industry and devote himself full-time to Poolhouse. Poolhouse is a web-based media company he started with his son Alexandre Roche in May 2007.

Poolhouse has developed online properties such as Dogbook, Catbook, and Horsebook which started as Facebook apps and are also available on iPhone. Poolhouse just launched 44 Shoes at the start of this year, and is preparing to launch a lifestyle brand in the near future. Dogbook started as a Facebook app and has spawned many new incarnations with most of them being available on as iPhone apps. I love Rodentbook just because it sounds very quirky and weird. (Hey Geoffrey where is Rabbitbook, that would ooze cute.)

Geoffrey Roche’s impact on advertising is long and varied. He has worked with an impressive roster of clients from Audi, Nestle’s Purina, Miele, and Knorr. Geoffrey Roche is a unique individual who has never been afraid to speak his mind, is known to have a distinctive style, and won a shelf of creative awards. He has mentored many people who have not only gone on to have great careers in the industry but who have also become leaders in their own right.

You know you are losing a unique chap when his website is named geoffreyrocheisahack.com. In an article for Strategy Magazine he said that he has sent many people to bigger and better things and that it was time to listen to that voice inside himself.  In the same article he said that after 20 years in advertising he simply wants to try something new.

Geoffrey isn’t going that far from his roots. He still considers himself to be in the ad world but instead of working on creating ads day-to-day he is developing properties that engage consumers using the power of the Internet.  Marketing Magazine states that Geoffrey officially sold his remaining ownership position to Deutsch last October.

His new job is effectively in the publishing business and he said that he wanted to keep setting challenges for himself. He said to Marketing Magazine in an article about his leaving that “the world is as much about doing websites and content as it is about thinking about a PR idea. I think to some degree creating ads is an afterthought.”

As Lowe Roche sees Geoffrey Roche walk off stage right Monica Ruffo is coming on as their new CEO. Monica Ruffo is the founder of the boutique Montreal agency Amuse which was recently acquired by Lowe and Partners. Monica will take her place as CEO of Lowe Roche in addition to her position as President of Amuse starting September 1st.

Amuse counts Warner Bros. Films Canada, Ice Hotel and the One Drop Foundation as some of their clients. She was previously an Executive VP and the Chief Strategy Officer at Cossette and her entrepreneurship and leadership made her a great choice.

Wither Geoffrey Roche moving into a brand new space you think about all the innovation possible without having to have a huge apparatus behind you. It doesn’t have to be in the millions, maybe it is about a few hundred or thousand and still have impact.

Poolhouse is just one example of this and there are countless others where they can find their own niches for relatively low-cost. Maybe the ad industry needs to really take a page out of their handbook going forward as advertising leaps into content creation and online community engagement, not just ad creation like Geoffrey has done with move to Poolhouse.

So thanks Geoffrey Roche for the amazing work, the talent you have fostered that are leaders today, and the inspiration to find new sandboxes to play in.

Credit: Strategy Magazine, Marketing Magazine