DDB New York has added two new members to its leadership team, Darla Price as its president and Auro Trini Castelli as the office’s chief strategy officer.
Price has spent the last seven years in executive roles for McCann New York, most recently as acting president of McCann 215 and executive account director for McCann New York. Trini Castelli, who most recently served as the CSO for Interpublic Group of Cos.-owned agency Elephant, will report to Price on all strategic functions for the office’s clients.
DDB New York of late has been relatively quiet on the new-business front, and has a tall task in living up to the creative legacy of its famous founder Bill Bernbach. The shop won campaign work with Aflac and agency of record duties for Merck's Chronic Care brand this year. Some of Its current AOR clients include Cotton Inc., Kroger and Johnson & Johnson's Aveeno, and Neutrogena.
But the new hires aren’t a part of a “hiring spree” or “fixing” anything with the DDB office, maintains DDB’s current North America CEO Justin Thomas-Copeland. Instead, he says they are strategic moves to facilitate the agency’s transformation moving forward.
“I believe they’ll bring an evolution and help the reimagination of the New York office,” Thomas-Copeland says. “It's not so much that anything was wrong in the past, I think it is much more about what they bring and where they're going to take us to.”
Price, who also has experience as an executive coach and is an outspoken DE&I advocate, says she was interested in the role beyond the agency’s history and creativity.
“I love the transformation that's happening right now at DDB,” Price told Ad Age. “As a Black female leader in this industry, which is rare, the ability to work side-by-side with Justin as a very well-respected Black leader in the industry is huge. What gets me up every morning is the ability to have an impact over power. There's so much great momentum at the agency and being able to drive what the changing the face of the industry looks like is pretty cool.”
Price is replacing Audrey Melofchik, who held the position for two years before moving on to become the CEO for Wunderman Thompson’s New York Office in April. During her time with DDB, she was also the president of Velocity, Omnicom’s dedicated unit for Johnson & Johnson, which closed in 2019 according to an April article from Ad Age.