NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Walton/Issacson, the minority-owned shop backed by NBA star Magic Johnson, has tapped Robert Rosenthal to lead its New York office.
Mr. Rosenthal is undoubtedly one of the industry's most colorful characters. A child model from Queens, he entered the ad business right out of school. The self-confessed "variety junkie" went on to hold all manner of agency roles, from account management to new business and creative, before being tapped to build the TBWA network in Latin America.
Beyond the agency world, he earned a professional culinary degree, worked the stage as a stand-up comedian and launched a digital-video-production firm, Rosenthal Heavy Industries. He is married to Conde Nast VP-Publisher Carolyn Kremins.
Mr. Rosenthal's latest gig was born out of a chance meeting with Walton/Issacson co-founder Aaron Walton at Omnicom University, Omnicom Group's in-house leadership-training program. Before founding Walton/Issacson, Mr. Walton clocked time at PepsiCo. Fellow name-on-the-door partner Cory Issacson worked as a sports agent and record-label exec at EMI.
Expanding beyond multicultural
Mr. Rosenthal's responsibility will be to helm and grow the New York office of independent Walton/Issacson, which also has hubs in Beverly Hills, Calif.; Chicago; and Tokyo. "Most of the agencies that describe themselves as being multicultural specialize in one thing," Mr. Rosenthal said. "Culture now has to be defined beyond these finite segments. What makes this agency cool is it's transcultural; it does whatever needs to be done."
Among the shop's current assignments: African-American and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advertising for Lexus; event and experiential marketing for Burger King; and creative for Unilever's Axe brand, which targets 18- to 22-year-old set.
"The thing that has really helped us with both the general-market initiatives, as well as multicultural initiatives, is our ability to tap into the expertise of people who have diverse interests and points of view," Mr. Walton told Ad Age recently.
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Contributing: Marissa Miley