As it goes in any given week in advertising, a new agency is born. Jack Horner (who founded creative agency Frukt in 2001, and then left in 2015, and who is pictured above at right) along with former Leo Burnett Managing Director Ben Swindell, (on the left) together are launching The Rapids, an agency based in London that aims to work with startups, "progressive corporates” and “switched-on” small to medium enterprises. Horner’s and Swindell’s titles will be “explorer” and “navigator,” respectively, “titles they feel best describe their complementary skills,” according to The Rapids. (Buzz buzz.) The agency says it will house “high-energy workshops for fast strategy and rapid creativity.” Swindell adds: “We have both experienced far too much wasted time during our careers. We know if you get the right people in the right environment and adopt the right process then amazing things can happen, and fast.”
The doors to Eleven’s new office blow open
San Francisco-based Eleven expands its footprint to the Windy City following a recent win of CarGurus, an online automotive research and comparison tool for local car listings. The Chicago office places 20-year-old Eleven closer to its new client, plus existing ones CommonSpirit, Pella and Electrify America. The agency expects the hub to grow to 20 people by the end of the year and will be led by CEO Courtney Buechert. The Narrative, Eleven’s PR and influencer sibling agency, will share its campus space in the city. “Opening a Chicago office not only places us closer to several longstanding clients, but it also enables us to attract forward-thinking talent and business in a great city that feels like home to us already,” Buechert says. Eleven is also aiming to expand in New York in 2020.
Two more wins
Mizuno, the Japanese sporting goods brand, has selected global digital shop Dept as its lead creative agency. Dept will handle the company’s creative, digital and e-commerce strategy going forward. Its goal will be to strengthen the Mizuno brand, doing so by focusing partly on its e-commerce strategy in the Europe, the Middle East and Africa region. Dept will create seasonal campaigns for multichannel purposes. “Partnering with a global sports brand is a unique opportunity for Dept to put all its expertise to work by consolidating the brand and creating work that sets us apart in the digital space,” says João Inácio, Dept associate creative director.
Luxury jewelry company Mikimoto, credited with creating the first cultured pearl, chose WPP’s Ogilvy to lead a digital transformation effort. Led out of Denver, Ogilvy will produce global, integrated creative to “reimagine” the brand’s web and e-commerce experiences, according to the agency. Ogilvy explains that a team will help “simplify, clarify and modernize” Mikimoto’s digital strategy, technology and design. “Our approach to making brands matter in an ever-changing digital ecosystem reflects the reality that consumers expect brands to understand their preferences and be able to engage with them on their terms,” says Mike McFadden, head of digital transformation at Ogilvy USA.
Global independent agency Gut, founded last April by Anselmo Ramos and Gaston Bigio, poaches three David Miami executives after nabbing the Ogilvy-owned agency’s Paulo Fogaca as chief operating officer and partner in June. Gut is now bringing on Ricardo Casal and Juan Javier Peña Plaza, who left David earlier this year, as partners and executive creative directors. Carmen Rodriguez, head of account management at David, joins Gut as chief client officer and partner.
Digitas U.K. hires Lazaros Nikiforidis as executive creative director. He hails from WPP’s Global Team Blue where he was an executive creative director in Europe on the Ford account. Digitas says Nikiforidis will work closely with Chief Creative Officer Emma de la Fosse across various accounts including Honda and Formula One, HSBC, GSK and Kellogg cereals. Nikiforidis previously spent 15 years at WPP agencies in London, Budapest and Athens, where he’s originally from.
Digital marketing agency Firewood poaches Warren Marenco Chase, chief operating officer of Verizon’s in-house creative agency 140, as its first chief operating officer. Chase will support the agency’s growth across its seven offices. Before going client-side, Chase held executive roles at Wunderman San Francisco (before it merged with J. Walter Thompson), BBDO New York and various BBDO and OMD offices in Latin America.
CreativeDrive is bringing on Douglas Castro, who was managing director of Leo Burnett, and Shaun Coulter, former VP of Advantage Solutions. Castro will be based in the agency’s Costa Rica office to lead the entire Central America region spanning new business, client services, creative strategy and execution and technology and engineering. Coulter will oversee CreativeDrive’s Atlanta and Bentonville, Arkansas hubs and work alongside the agency’s U.S. managing directors across new business, client management and local creative planning and execution. They both report to CreativeDrive’s Tere Robinson, chief client and integration officer.
Centerline Digital, a business-to-business customer experience marketing agency, brings on Jerry Tomaiolo as executive VP of digital media. Tomaiolo will be responsible for optimizing the agency’s digital media strategies by adding machine learning and analytics to the creative process. His past positions span Saatchi & Saatchi, The Cimarron Group, Hyundai Motors America and Hill Holliday, where he worked on Petco, Sony, IHOP and The NFL, among other accounts.