Fig has appointed Justine Armour as its new chief creative officer, replacing Scott Vitrone, who departed the agency a year ago.
Fig names Justine Armour chief creative officer and partner
Armour, who will also become a partner at the agency, takes on the role after previously serving as the chief creative officer of Grey New York, a role she held for two years before departing in July of last year. Prior to that, she served as an executive creative director at 72andSunny. Armour also held creative roles at Wieden+Kennedy and in her native Australia at Saatchi & Saatchi Sydney.
Armour declined to comment on her departure from Grey but said she was looking for an opportunity to work within an independent agency.
“I really wanted my next role to be at a thriving independent place that was founded by a creative leader,” Armour said. “I'm going to help scale what Fig already is, keeping what's great about it and what's special about it, and scaling all of that to the next level.”
Mark Figliulo, who founded the agency 10 years ago, retains his role as creative chairman but is shifting his responsibilities to focus more on the innovation side of the agency’s business. This includes building out its AI and machine learning-powered data tool StoryData, which is currently being used across all the agency’s clients.
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StoryData allows the agency to analyze visuals, language, audio, video and other factors to learn how marketers are approaching messaging within a category and help predict future trends within a category. Fig is then able to use that information to inform strategy for a client’s work or even for a pitch.
The tool has driven 10% of the agency’s revenue since it launched six years ago, according to Fig.
The timing came in part as a response to increased interest in tech innovation and AI across the industry, Figliulo said.
“This isn't a metaverse or crypto. This is a much bigger thing that's happening, and I think we have to stay ahead of it and I really want to focus on that,” Figliulo said. “Working with people like Justine is a game changer. She's more culturally connected than I am right now. I've done it. I'm happy to pass the torch. I'm still going to be part of it. I founded this agency. I'm not going anywhere. I'm just going to be focusing a little bit more on the innovation and Justine's going to be focused on the creative product.”
Fig has used StoryData to help launch campaigns for clients such as Ketel One and to win business with Viator. Figliulo aims to build out other tools with StoryData, such as new products focused on design.
“We're working on a design tool for StoryData,” he said, so “we [can] dissect every aspect of the brand, identity, colors, logos, all typefaces, all that stuff and we can look at consistency, for instance. We're working on tying [StoryData] in directly with media. So once you have all this story information, you connect it to consumer information and then it gets very powerful.”
Figliulo also said it's important to make the distinction between the use of AI and machine learning to inform creative and the use of generative AI tools that have grown in popularity.
“Media agencies had it right a long time ago by creating data machines [and using] machine learning and AI,” Figliulo said. “That's been going on for a long time. [StoryData] gets smarter over time. Generative AI does not get smarter for our agency. It just gets smarter for itself. So we're creating our own system that will get smarter over time.”
Other key clients for the agency include Illumina and Benjamin Moore. In 2021 the agency picked up business with SeatGeek, but it may not be a client moving forward according to Figliulo. “We wrapped up a new production with them and then they have to make some decisions,” he said.
With the addition of Armour, Figliulo said he wants the agency to perform better on the new business front. Fig made the finals in several major pitches within the last 18 months, including Burger King, Wingstop and Footlocker, but did not ultimately win.
“The competition is fierce, especially right now,” Figliulo said. “We haven't converted enough new business, we've converted some and it's enough, we're growing and everything, but we have to convert more. And really when clients are looking at us, they're saying, ‘Do you have that management bench?’ With Judith [Carr-Rodriguez, the CEO of Fig] and I, yes we do. We needed that creative powerhouse.”
Armour will start in her new role this summer.