Via drops 'The Agency' and Women's History Month never needs to end: Agency Brief
Agency, rebrand thyself
Portland, Maine landmark The Via Agency has rebranded, dropping the redundant “agency” moniker in favor of the sleeker “Via.” (Sorry, are we not supposed to say “spaghetti pasta” or order a “martini cocktail” anymore?) Chief Creative Officer Bobby Hershfield led the redesign, which includes a new website, typeface and colors. There’s also a dynamic logo that’s giving off retro TWA vibes.
“When The Via Agency was founded in 1993, we needed to distinguish what business we were in, and clearly state we were a creative agency,” says CEO Leann Leahy. “Twenty-eight years later, as we’ve grown and garnered national recognition, we wanted our name to reflect who we are now and instill pride of place. Internally, we always refer to ourselves as VIA, and we hope now everyone else will too.”
So it’s basically a “you know who we are” flex. The shortened name is also a bit of a no-brainer, since everyone else also called the shop “Via.” (Looking at you, Reckitt.) In addition to longtime clients L.L. Bean and Arm & Hammer, Via recently won a Flex Company review as well as a project with Staples and the AOR account for CarGurus.
The illustrated woman
Women’s History Month is over, but that’s no reason to stop paying attention to women’s history. (Everyone is also officially on notice that Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month is in May.)
Frustrated by the lack of illustrations of women—particularly women of color—available to use in her work, YML Product Designer Bhabna Haque decided to create a new one each day in March. “I used this month, and this space, to create beautiful creative work that highlights women I look up too,” she says. “I feel, even working in a creative space, we forget how much we enjoy beautiful art. Sharing these illustrations every day provided me with a creative pause, an opportunity to learn, and the chance to be reminded of the incredible women who continue to influence and inspire so many right now.”
The 31 women Haque illustrated include politicians, like Stacey Abrams and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (March 3 and 4) and Kamala Harris (March 11), actors like Mindy Kaling (March 1), Issa Rae (March 22) and Meghan Markle (March 18), writers like Toni Morrison (March 2) and Amanda Gorman (March 29) and activists like Malala Yousafzai (March 24) and Angela Davis (March 19). During the month, she documented the process on Instagram.
“Young, badass women are putting in the work now, and every day, to shape a new narrative,” she says. “In this work I wanted to put a focus on WOC and BIPOC as they won’t nearly get the recognition they deserve. I hope my celebratory collage conveys some small amount of gratitude and appreciation.”
They're lovin' it
Independent agency Canvas Worldwide and Lopez Negrete Communications won the McDonald’s Hispanic media strategy business, including planning, strategy, and consumer insights. The partnership birthed Navigation Blvd, a joint entity created to service the account, which will release its first work for the brand early in the second quarter. The name is a nod to the street in Houston, Texas, the heart of the city’s Latino community.
Canvas Worldwide Senior VP, Client Director Laura Willis will lead Navigation Blvd from Chicago. Most staff will be provided by Canvas Worldwide, with Lopez Negrete handling Hispanic Consumer Insights.
Coast to coast
FCB New York has hired Laura Wimer as an executive creative director, leading Lincoln Financial Group and GSK’s smoker health business. She’ll report to FCB NYCo-Chief Creative Officers Gabriel Schmitt and Michael Aimette. The agency has been on a bit of a hiring spree of late, with 68 new hires—half in creative—since the beginning of 2020.
Previously, Wimer spent five years at Mekanism San Francisco, most recently as an executive creative director, where she worked on accounts including Alaska Airlines, Method Home and Everlane. Her recent work for Frida Mom that ran during the Golden Globes depicted the stark realities of breastfeeding. She has also held positions with Dollar Shave Club in its venture capital years and Standard Black.
“Laura is the perfect example of someone that uses creativity as an economic multiplier. She’s a whip smart leader, with a strong business mind and great creative chops—a true Swiss Army knife of experience and talents,” Schmitt and Aimette said in a statement. “We are super excited to see her applying her entrepreneurial background to our brands at FCB NY.”
Sara Rose joins WPP as executive creative director for Boots UK, part of the Walgreens Boots Alliance. Previously, she was group creative director at Saatchi & Saatchi London. She has also held leadership roles at Mother London, 72andSunny, Ogilvy London and DDB California. “We are thrilled to welcome Sara to the WPP Boots team and can’t wait to see the impact that she will make,” said Karen Boswell, Boots Transformation Lead at WPP.
Duncan Channon named Jamie Katz the agency’s first director of account management and operations. She will be responsible for structuring client partnerships, managing client business relationships and optimizing team staffing and operations. She will continue to lead the Ferrara Candy Co. account, including SweeTARTS and Black Forest gummies, and co-lead the California Department of Public Health COVID-19 vaccine account. Previously, Katz was director of account management.