Pereira O’Dell Creative Chairman and co-Founder PJ Pereira is relocating from San Francisco to New York as the independent creative agency looks to boost its presence in the Big Apple.
Initially founded in 2008 in San Francisco, Pereira O'Dell opened in its New York office in 2014 and set up a presence in Brazil in 2012.
PJ Pereira said the agency has been taking recent steps to become more bicoastal by getting employees across offices to collaborate more on projects and accounts, and that having a founder on each coast now seals the deal. (His partner, Andrew O'Dell, will remain in the Golden Gate state.) “The goal is to keep the Californian perspective but just give more importance to New York,” says Pereira.
Accounts that are led out of New York include several General Mills brands such as Yoplait and Chex, Timberland, Memorial Sloan Kettering and Jet.com. However, Pereira said the goal is to have fewer accounts run strictly out of New York or San Francisco, but rather across offices.
The shift follows the departure of Cory Berger, managing director of Pereira O’Dell’s New York office since 2013, who is leaving to become Grey’s first worldwide chief marketing officer. Berger is an alum of Mother New York and Momentum Worldwide.
Still, Pereira said he has been prepping his move since before Berger announced plans to leave, telling Ad Age he always envisioned moving to New York, with only the frigid weather holding him back.
Replacing Berger is Mona Gonzalez who takes on the managing director role from her previous position as director of brand management. Gonzalez joined Pereira O’Dell in 2014 as an account director in San Francisco, overseeing clients Coca-Cola, Skype, Hyatt and eBay. She is a veteran of The Barbarian Group, BBDO and J. Walter Thompson (before it merged with Wunderman to become Wunderman Thompson).
Gonzalez has been based in the agency’s New York office since 2017.
Pereira said that he has been grooming Gonzalez to take over a larger role in the company so having her succeed Berger was a no-brainer. He added that Pereira O’Dell always opts to promote from within rather than recruiting from outside agencies.
“We have been way more successful when we elevate our own talent,” Pereira said, “people who understand our culture, how we operate [and who] are not going to make this agency into something else but the best Pereira O’Dell can be.”
Nick Sonderup, who has been a creative director for Pereira O’Dell in New York since 2017, is being promoted to executive creative director. He oversees the agency’s Mini account but his scope will broaden as an executive creative director.
“A lot of the work the ECD does is not only to lead the creative work, but the creative culture of the agency,” Pereira said.
Sonderup worked as a producer and creative director pro bono for Woodstock Comedy Festival from 2013 to 2018. Moving him to New York will help that office hone its chops in entertainment, which is what the San Francisco hub, naturally being close to Hollywood, was more known for, Pereira added.
On Wednesday, Pereira O'Dell announced that it was becoming a part of a new membership-based collective of independent agencies founded by former MDC Global Chief Marketing Officer Bob Kantor called Dawn Marketing. The network gives Pereira O'Dell access to media and data and analytics capabilities.