Bob Arnold, known for pushing programmatic digital ad buying at Kellogg Co., has left the cereal giant for a job at Google where he will lead the company's digital ad strategy in North America for in-house brands such as Nexus and Google Plus.
"I had a wonderful experience at Kellogg and couldn't have asked for anything more," said Mr. Arnold, who was the company's director of digital and social media strategy, in a email. But "I took the role as it was best for my family," he added, noting that "we've always had the desire to move to the West Coast."
Google confirmed that Mr. Arnold's position is a new one, but declined to comment further on the hire. A Kellogg spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment. Mr. Arnold's wife, Zena Srivatsa Arnold, who had been leading marketing for the Kellogg's master brand, is also joining Google as head of regional marketing of Google Play North America, Mr. Arnold said.
At Google his title will be North American Digital Strategy Lead, which is part of the company's team of digital media managers, whose job description includes providing "media expertise and critical support for a variety of key Google products," including providing "know-how that spans Google owned-and-operated media platforms as well as media purchased beyond Google's ecosystem."
Agency execs view the hire as a signal that Google plans to up its marketing game.
"In many cases Google's products themselves have become the marketing, so I'm not sure bringing in planning/buying leadership changes that equation -- unless we're talking about activating a major product push like Glass, which this type of talent could certainly help launch," said Gian LaVecchia, managing partner and U.S. digital practice lead at MEC.
"I think it's always great when well-trained clients with pedigrees like Bob's are pulled into digital companies -- much less digital empires like Google. It's clear they need to continue to market their brand, and promote their investments (aka pet projects), in new and innovative ways both to clients and agencies," said iCrossing's Senior VP-Media for North America Jonathan Adams.
Mr. Arnold, who just last month was named an Ad Age Media Maven, is a self-described computer geek with an industrial-engineering degree. He is a big fan of programmatic buying, which is the process of using data and algorithms to automate media planning and buying.