Returning to agency side
For Keller, the Open X position represents a chance to return to the agency world while using the expertise he gained working brand-side.
“Being able to focus on a brand was actually something that I really appreciated,” Keller said. “I really missed the agency world, where it's [about] ideas every day. That's the product, that we make coming up with ideas. And that was something that I really wanted to get back to."
Keller will be based in Atlanta and start his role in June. He replaces Javier Campopiano, who is set to join McCann this year.
Read more: McCann Worldgroup hires Javier Campopiano
Keller also sees his new role as a chance to work on a brand responsible for his initial interest in advertising as a child growing up in Atlanta.
“It was a Career Day in the third grade when someone came in and talked about an ad for Mello Yellow, I was like, ‘Whoa, that's amazing,’” Keller said. “My father-in-law was a Coca-Cola bottler in Savannah. There's just a lot of meaning in this brand …even if it didn't mean something to me, it means something to the world in an important way.”
Keller will help lead an Open X team open to all of WPP’s employees which currently utilizes around 8,000 employees globally, according to Laurent Ezekiel, CEO of Open X and chief marketing officer at WPP. Agencies that are part of the team include Ogilvy, VMLY&R, AKQA, Wunderman Thompson, Grey, EssenceMediacom, Ogilvy PR, Landor, Design Bridge & Partners, BCW, H&K, Hogarth and The&Partnership.
Ezekiel says he was looking to find the “CCO of the future,” which meant purposefully looking for someone with a background in tech.
“There is a huge data, tech, and experience-driven [capabilities] behind everything that we're doing for The Coca-Cola Co.,” Ezekiel said.
Art and technology
Recent Coca-Cola ads have leaned into art and technology. The company held a recent contest for fans to create Coke art utilizing AI tools ChatGPT and DALL-E, with the winning art to grace billboards in New York and London. A short film called “Masterpiece” highlighted an iconic Coke bottle in an art gallery come to life. The latter was part of Coke’s global “Real Magic” campaign.