Edelman taps #LikeAGirl creator Judy John as its first global chief creative officer

PR shop hires driving force behind Always' #LikeAGirl campaign

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As PR shop Edelman continues to sharpen its creative chops, it's hiring decorated creative Judy John — known as a driving force behind Always' #LikeAGirl campaign — as its first global chief creative officer.

John comes from Leo Burnett, where she served as chief creative officer for North America and CEO for the agency in Canada. She will lead Edelman's team of more than 600 creatives and planners globally. The new role is effective April 29.

In recent years, Edelman has evolved from its roots in public relations to bulk up its creative, paid media and consulting expertise. The firm's president and CEO Richard Edelman calls it "earned creative," or campaigns that don't require paid support to gain momentum (though paid media could be used to augment that momentum). The work is also designed to be something people like to share with their social media networks and can move "at the pace of news," he says, meaning the creative can take many forms and react to things happening in real time.

"The number of times and places that advertisers can reach a consumer through paid [media] is diminishing," Edelman says. "Our window, in our view, is the alternative."

Edelman says this approach has already led creative for campaigns like Asics' "Blackout Track," a dark running track with no technology or music that's intended to offer total mental focus.

Edelman says John's expertise with #LikeAGirl is analogous: "It takes on a problem, causes a lot of conversation."

The shop has also hired chief creative officers in Toronto, New York, Chicago and the west coast with pedigrees from agencies like Ogilvy, McCann and DDB.

Following John's departure from Leo Burnett, Lisa Greenberg is being elevated to chief creative officer for Canada from senior VP, creative director and head of art. A spokesman said the North America chief creative officer role isn't being filled.

"We thank Judy for her incredible contributions over the years and helping to build a strong foundation and world-class team. We wish her all the best in the future," Andrew Bruce, CEO of Publicis Communications in North America said in a statement.

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