Agency Brief: get into the weeds of the latest wins, hires and acquisitions
Judging by the dozens of cannabis pitches I receive weekly, weed—which is increasingly gaining recreational legal status across the U.S., despite the hundreds of thousands of people who continue to be arrested for it every year—is ripe for advertising opportunities. Here’s one standout cannabis campaign.
Charlotte’s Web—a hemp-based CBD health and wellness brand that makes oils, gummies, capsules and even products for dogs—unveils its new out-of-home campaign this week. Intended to raise awareness to the health benefits of cannabis, the effort was created in partnership with experiential design agency Fake Love, which was bought by The New York Times in 2016, and Studio Number One, a creative shop founded by artist, graphic designer and activist Frank Shepard Fairey, known for his President Barack Obama “Hope” posters and Obey Clothing line. It features a massive mural on the corner of North 11th Street and Wythe Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, depicting a hand holding a cannabis stalk with a call to action, “Trust the Earth,” which is also the name of the campaign. While initially launching in New York, the billboard is beginning to go out in additional U.S. cities including Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington, D.C.
Fake Love handled the art development as well as the overall strategy for the campaign, which will include digital elements such as videos, banners and a platform for Americans to educate themselves on CBD.
“We trust in what the earth has to offer. As more and more people take ownership over their health, they’re finding that many of the answers they seek are right in nature,” says The Stanley Brothers—brothers Joel, Jesse, Jared, Josh, Jordan, Jon and Austin, who founded Charlotte's Web in Colorado in 2014 to initially help one girl, Charlotte Figi, who uses their products to stop her seizures.
Work & Co. expands in app design and development
Work & Co., the privately owned digital agency based in Brooklyn’s DUMBO neighborhood, and an Ad Age 2019 A-Lister, is acquiring mobile development firm Tendigi for an undisclosed sum. Tendigi opened in 2010 in Brooklyn near Work & Co.’s office to deliver tech solutions across platforms including iOS, MacOS and Android. Tendigi has worked with brands like Apple, The World Wildlife Fund, Comedy Centrala and Nickelodeon, among others. For The WWF, the firm proclaims it was able to help raise $8 million for the nonprofit through its efforts. Under the terms of the acquisition, the Tendigi brand will be folded into Work & Co. and CEO-Founder Jeff Soto, a former Apple engineer, and Chief Technology Officer Nick Lee will be brought on as directors. “Joining Work & Co. helps us be able to take on projects that are truly end-to-end,” Soto says. Marcelo Eduardo, technology partner at Work & Co., adds, “Having been friendly with our neighbors here in Dumbo for some time, it’s a great feeling to have them join our team.”
Accenture Interactive opens hubs for brand collaboration
Accenture Interactive Operations, the firm’s marketing management services arm, opens an “experience activation network” comprised of six centers worldwide that aim to deliver content, programmatic, digital marketing and e-commerce services for brand experiences. The centers—that allow Accenture Interactive to have brand marketers work alongside its employees—are located in Mumbai (its flagship hub); Costa Rica; Dalian, China; Malaga, Spain; Turin, Italy; and Warsaw, Poland. Accenture Interactive says it will work with marketers to create experiences “across all consumer touchpoints and channels.” In Mumbai, the center spans two floors. Chief marketing officers and other executives from companies like GlaxoSmithKline, Radisson Hotel Group and Shell were listed among the centers' first visitors on opening day. “We have built a model for a new generation of marketers who must deliver a meaningful and connected customer experience across all touchpoints and channels,” says Nikki Mendonca, president of Accenture Interactive Operations.
A space for two new agencies to play
Kamil Tyebally, a former creative at Refinery29 who helped shape its immersive 29Rooms experience, is bringing his own brand experiential agency to market. Called Early Spring, Tyebally will lead the shop as a creative director, saying it was formed to correct a wrong he sees too often in the experiential business: most activations are made for “one-time transactional social moments.” Early Spring aims to create experiences that “resonate deeply with the modern consumer and are more than a single Instagram post.” One project opening on Saturday is a 2,000-square-foot retail space in SoHo, New York for outerwear brand The Arrivals, called OutThere Lab. The popup features a gallery of The Arrivals’ latest collections, incorporating weather-specific elements like snow and rain into each installation. Early Spring says the brief was to get a new generation too “heads down” on their iPhones to look up and explore the outside world, i.e. get #OutThere.
Five of Philadelphia-based creative shop 160over190's former 10 partners have left to open their own branding firm, Truth & Consequences, in Philly with quite a unique model—each of the five founding members has an equal stake in the agency, and, going forward, every employee the firm hires can be an investor in the company as well (they can make a pitch to own a share after one year being employed). Truth & Consequences will have no minimum wage but instead a “maximum wage,” meaning no executive can make more than five times the amount of anyone else on staff. And the shop is committing to only working with brands that make a positive impact on the world. “The average CEO makes 271 times the salary of an average employee,” says Stephen Penning, one of the founding partners. “We’re going to be different.” While it recently launched with no clients, Penning says Truth & Consequences aims to work with culture-based brands and organizations such as higher education institutions. Penning’s partners are Maggie Insogna, Corey Levin, Brendan Quinn and Jim Walls.
This week’s smorgasbord of wins
P.F. Chang’s, an Asian restaurant chain based in Scottsdale, Ariz., appoints Dallas-based The Richards Group as its creative agency of record. P.F. Chang’s, founded in 1993, previously handled its creative strategy in-house. Under the partnership, The Richards Group now takes over brand planning and digital strategy for the company. P.F. Chang’s operates 215 restaurants in the U.S. and an additional 100 locations internationally that offer made-from-scratch Chinese food, with plans to expand into Japanese, Korean and Thai meals. The Richards Group Principal Dave Kroencke says the agency will help build on the P.F. Chang’s brand and bring it “to new heights while staying true to its core philosophy based on authentic Asian cuisine and culture.” According to Kantar estimates, P.F. Chang’s spent $1 million on measured media in the U.S. in 2018 and only $19,000 during the first half of this year.
Pandora names Vice-owned Virtue as its global lead creative agency as it prepares to unveil a new brand strategy. The shop will be responsible for driving a fresh purpose, tagline, creative strategy, “aspirational audience” (whatever that means) and design for the jewelry brand. Virtue will partner with Pandora’s other external partners including Kantar and Firework Consulting. The agency says the new brand strategy will focus on the mantra, “giving a voice to people’s loves,” through showcasing the personalization of its signature charms. Before taking on lead duties, Virtue helped create notable campaigns for Pandora including “Rebelle in Wonderland,” Pandora Me (the first to target Gen Z) and last year’s holiday ad. (In 2017, Pandora was criticized for a series of billboards it ran in Milan during the holidays that asked what the best gift for a woman is: “An iron, pajamas, an apron, a Pandora bracelet?”) For Pandora Me, Virtue says creative featuring Stranger Things star Millie Bobby Brown will debut sometime this month. “Our global rebrand marks the beginning of our journey to become more relevant for consumers and show them a fresh and contemporary Pandora,” says Stephen Fairchild, SVP and chief creative officer at Pandora.
Biofreeze, a pain relief brand, names Accenture Interactive-owned Droga5 as its creative and media agency of record. The shop is tasked with integrating creative and brand strategy into media planning. Its first work will be a national, integrated campaign across all channels that is expected to debut in early 2020. “We initially came to Droga5 for their creative prowess, but after learning more about their breadth of capabilities, we now view them as a true business partner in all aspects of our brand’s marketing,” says Biofreeze Chief Marketing Officer Michael McGoohan.
Team One, the one-time Publicis Groupe dedicated Lexus unit, wins the Jacuzzi Brands account across design strategy, advertising, media, marketing and public relations. The full-service agency is tasked with advancing the brand’s position in the category as a maker of spas, bathtubs, shower systems and related products. “Team One came to the table with a deep understanding of what we are looking to achieve across our brands, and brought with them some very unique and innovative ideas that will help us get there,” says Ed Sofia, senior vice president of marketing at Jacuzzi Brands.
Toasted Collective, the media agency for cannabis companies like Curaleaf, adds MariMed, CLS (Cannabis Life Sciences) and CPG brands City Trees and Theory Wellness to its client roster. Toasted Collective claims to be the only agency to be able to place cannabis companies’ ads programmatically across premium publishers including USA Today, Cosmopolitan and Men’s Health. MariMed is a publicly traded maker and distributor of medical cannabis, which scored a deal in September to have its HempEngine CBD marketing platform, which includes in-store product placement, across retailers, liquor stores and supermarkets in Rhode Island and Connecticut. CLS is a publicly-traded firm that acquires cannabis dispensaries, cultivators and producers. CLS started in the Nevada market and has plans to enter Massachusetts by the end of 2019.
And here’s the plethora of shifts, hires and promotions
TBWA names Claudia Safont as its new CEO of Spain to manage its Madrid and Barcelona teams. Safont, who first joined TBWA in 2001, takes over for current President and CEO Frutos Moreno, who will retain his role as president. She was most recently elevated to vice president of operations and client services last year. The Omnicom-owned network also appoints Catherine Harris to chief executive of New Zealand. Harris joined TBWA\New Zealand two years ago and previously worked at TBWA\London.
Los Angeles independent shop Omelet promotes Pete Talaba to chief strategy officer and Andrew Krensky to managing director. They were previously executive director of strategy and executive director of brand management, respectively. Talaba and Krensky are also both partners of the creative agency that counts Princess Cruises, Guardian Insurance, Nickelodeon, Warner Bros. Interactive and Walmart as clients. Before Krensky joined Omelet in 2017, he spent time at agencies 72andSunny, TBWA\Chiat\Day and Arnold Worldwide. Talaba has prior experience from shops R/GA, Y&R (now VMLY&R), Leo Burnett and Starcom. "Their passion for the business as we know it—and their willingness to break with form to make something better—has me incredibly excited for them to help steer the future of Omelet," says CEO Thas Naseemuddeen.
Horizon Media appoints John Koenigsberg as general manager of Big, the network’s performance arm that opened in February. Effective immediately, he reports to Gene Turner, executive vice president and chief of Horizon Next and Big. Koenigsberg—who is one of Horizon President, Founder-CEO Bill Koenigsberg’s two sons—will be charged with refining the agency’s strategic offering, shaping its positioning in the market, developing its leadership team and building out its client roster. Big was set up to serve startups, e-commerce companies and emerging brands. Koenigsberg previously led North American strategy and operations for Vice Media. “John has the vision we need, he is an entrepreneur at heart and was the unanimous choice of the team managing the executive search process,” Turner says.
WPP appoints John Rogers—the former chief executive of Sainsbury’s digital U.K. retailer, Argos—to chief financial officer. At Argos, Rogers oversaw a digital transformation that shifted 65 percent of Sainsbury’s total sales online. Previously, he served as chief financial officer of Sainsbury from 2010 to 2016. He is set to join WPP in early 2020, when he will become a member of the board and replace Paul Richardson, the holding company’s group finance director who previously announced his retirement. Rogers’ “priority will be to lead a finance function that best fosters investment in creativity, technology and talent in support of WPP’s new strategy for growth,” WPP CEO Mark Read says.
London-based global digital creative agency AnalogFolk names Guy Wieynk as global CEO. As part of the deal, AnalogFolk will acquire Serum Consulting, the eight-person creative consultancy Wieynk founded earlier this year. Wieynk will partner with Co-Founders Bill Brock and Matt Dyke to continue to grow the network that was founded in 2008 and has since expanded to New York, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Sydney and Portland. Wieynk will be focused on international growth in the role, Brock will lead global business development efforts and Dyke will head up global strategy and product output. Before Serum Consulting, Wieynk was the UK and Western Europe CEO of Publicis Worldwide, credited with adding new business from companies like Virgin Cruises, Morrisons and Heineken while there. Before that, he spent 17 years building up WPP’s AKQA.
IPG Mediabrands’ UM appoints Dawn Reese to senior vice president, managing director of UM Studios, the agency’s creative-content unit. Reese reports to UM Global Chief Content Officer and Head of UM Studios Brendan Gaul and hails from StyleHaul, where she was executive vice president of client studios. She also has spent time at Marie Claire, Condé Nast, InStyle and Time Inc. The appointment follows UM Studios’ first Cannes Lions Grand Prix for its documentary film “5B” for Johnson & Johnson. “With more than 20 years of media and marketing experience, Dawn brings the perfect mix of strategic vision and creative agility to the UM Studios team,” Gaul says.
Havas makes the following leadership changes in Canada: Stephane Mailhiot becomes president of Havas Montreal and Alexandra Panousis is named CEO of Havas Village and president of advertising and media for Canada. Mailhiot will partner with Havas Montreal Chief Creative Officer Carle Coppens to reinvent the creative offering in the region. Panousis will drive the integration of Havas Creative and Media Village in Canada. “The advertising industry in Canada is ripe for change and reinvention,” Havas Canada CEO Melody Adhami says. “We are strategically investing in our Montreal office to grow its creative bench and offer an alternative model.”
WPP’s Ogilvy names Rachel Caggiano as group managing director for its Washington, D.C., office. This marks her return to Ogilvy, having spent a decade as its head of content for North America before leaving in 2015 to become account managing director for another WPP agency, VMLY&R. During her time within the network, Caggiano worked with clients including American Express, Ford, Merck, Moet Hennessy and Nestle. In her new role, she will be charged with driving Ogilvy’s business model across brand strategy, advertising, public relations and influence, customer engagement and commerce, digital transformation and partnerships. “Rachel is next-chapter Ogilvy through and through, with deep craft and capability experience across client sectors and markets globally,” Ogilvy Worldwide CEO John Seifert says.
Publicis Sapient names Leah Buley as group vice president of experience research. She hails from digital product design platform InVision. Buley has also held design leadership roles at Adaptive Path, Intuit, BlackRock and Forrester Research. At Publicis Sapient, Buley will work directly with Chief Experience Officer John Maeda to advance the agency’s digital business transformation practice.
McCann London poaches Jessica Tamsedge as managing director to replace Sheryl Marjoram, who recently became CEO. Tamsedge was joint head of account leadership at Grey London previously, overseeing clients like Nomad Foods, GSK, The Tate and Pladis. “We are gearing up for another great year fueled all the better by an even stronger leadership team,” Marjoram says. Tamsedge’s departure from Grey London is one of several recent exits after Vicki Maguire, a 10-year veteran of the WPP agency, left to become Havas London’s chief creative officer in September, and Chief Marketing Officer Sarah Jenkins became managing director of Publicis Groupe’s Saatchi & Saatchi last week.
Omnicom Group’s GMR Marketing hires Ken Black, Nike’s former VP of digital design transformation and global Olympic creative director, as chief creative officer. His global responsibilities include direction over all of the agency’s clients and 80-person creative team. At Nike, Black is credited with starting divisions Nike Team Sports and Nike Advanced Concepts, transitioning Air Jordan into Brand Jordan and leading global creative for the Sydney and Rio Olympics. He also founded the startup Sparq Training that was acquired by Nike and ESPN. “My goal has always been to use creativity, storytelling and design to make a difference and leave an impact on culture and society,” Black says.
WPP’s Ogilvy appoints Edward Kim to a newly created joint role as commerce leader for the agency’s enterprise digital-transformation capability and global principal of commerce strategy and solutions for Ogilvy Consulting. In the positions, he will drive brand and commerce strategy for current and prospective global clients. Kim, who hails from Publicis Sapient, where he was the network's global strategy lead for its fashion and luxury retail division, will partner WPP Commerce’s other assets including Salmon, Gorilla, Pierry, Emark and the Amazon Center of Excellence.
Edelman promotes Matthew J. Harrington to global president, effective immediately. Harrington, who will also retain his current global chief operating officer title, is only the firm’s third global president in its 67-year history. He continues to report to CEO Richard Edelman, who was the second president after Founder Daniel Edelman, to oversee the company’s digital and advisory practices, while continuing to oversee its four operating regions, talent and Client Portfolio Management Committee. Harrington is a 35-year veteran of Edelman and previously served four years as CEO of the U.S. region before becoming global chief operating officer in 2012. “To follow in Dan and Richard’s footsteps is exceptionally humbling,” Harrington says.
IPG’s Hill Holliday Health brings on Linda Bennett as managing director. She will co-lead the business unit of the agency’s healthcare practice alongside Executive Creative Director David Leonardi and report to Hill Holliday President Chris Wallrapp. Based in New York, Bennett will be responsible for the agency’s revenue and growth strategy. She most recently was general manager at Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness.
Independent agency 22squared hires two of its interns behind its “Not That Kind of Assistant” campaign to cancel sexist tech and fight unconscious AI gender bias. Bella Stuart and Gemini Thauberger join the agency’s Tampa office as junior copywriter and junior art director, respectively. 22squared also promotes Mindy Adams to vice president and group creative director from her prior role as creative director. Adams will lead the AdventHealth, SPP/Waterstreet and TIAA Bank businesses.
Independent creative agency Zambezi adds five new hires to its strategy and creative departments. Matt Sherman comes aboard as creative director, and is an alum of Deutsch, David & Goliath and MullenLowe. Goran Krstic becomes senior art director and has served stints at Crispin Porter Bogusky, Campbell Ewald, Opperman Weiss, The Mill and David & Goliath. Diego Sarmiento will be a senior copywriter and is a veteran of Brooklyn Brothers, Ogilvy and MullenLowe. Ting Teng is named senior designer and has spent time at shops Something Massive and TBWA\Media Arts Lab. And Dalit Zagorin, hailing from Conill Advertising, becomes strategy director.
Osborn Barr | Paramore (OBP)—a full-service agency in St. Louis, Nashville and Kansas City—brings on Tim Lindstedt as director of client services. Lindstedt previously held that title at a Wisconsin communications firm called Gunpowder Inc. OBP also promotes John Meyer to VP of marketing and business development from director of business development. OBP houses a staff of about 150 people and works with clients in agriculture, tourism, food and education including the Missouri Division of Tourism and Nutrien Ag Solutions.
Nomadic, a digital content marketing agency, names Rob Buchner as CEO. Buchner, who is Fallon’s former chief marketing officer, replaces Tim Washburn, who remains on as founder and chief creative officer. The Scottsdale, Ariz.-based agency works with clients such as Disney Parks and Ubisoft. Washburn, in explaining why he replaced himself, says he never aimed to be the CEO when he founded Nomadic. “I got into this business to create,” Washburn says. “After years of writing business plans, managing partner expectations, running business development and managing the profit and loss statement with spotty success, I came to an important epiphany: I was so in the wrong job. So, I decided to hire a CEO.”