PR Shop Burson Brings On First Global Chief Creative Officer

Agency Hires Former Saatchi Worldwide Digital Creative Director Tom Eslinger

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Burson-Marsteller Global CCO Tom Eslinger
Burson-Marsteller Global CCO Tom Eslinger Credit: Courtesy of Burson-Marsteller

In a further sign of just how fast the industry is changing, PR agency Burson-Marsteller, part of WPP's Young & Rubicam Group, has hired former Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide Digital Creative Director Tom Eslinger as its first global chief creative officer. The goal is to further integrate strategy, planning and analytics around the world to drive creative ideas.

"We need to make sure the work we do is absolutely first class and drive powerful, big creative ideas," said Burson-Marsteller Worldwide President Kevin Bell. He added that having Mr. Eslinger help bring together strategy, planning and analytics will allow the agency to more seamlessly bring ideas to clients across all platforms, including traditional, digital, mobile, VR, AR and mixed reality.

Some of Burson's clients include Chipotle, FedEx, Ford and Zebra Technologies.

Mr. Eslinger, most recently the consulting executive creative director for Framestore's integrated advertising efforts, will report to Mr. Bell and be based in New York.

When asked why he decided to join an agency known for its PR prowess, Mr. Eslinger said he never thought of Burson as a PR shop, but as an "ideas company" due to the strategic communications, production and storytelling it does on behalf clients. He added that he thinks the label of PR will soon fall to the wayside in the industry, similar to how people rarely use "digital" to describe agencies today.

As for doing more traditional creative for clients, Mr. Eslinger said there "isn't anything we can't make," but the platform in which content is delivered has to first make sense from an audience-targeting and measurement standpoint. One of his objectives is to bring a range of creative ideas to clients and have them think differently about measurement and how to build their businesses, he said.

"It's not a good, sustainable model for clients or creative companies to be doing a string of one-off executions that stay in the stratosphere for a moment and don't necessarily affect a client's business," added Mr. Eslinger.

During Mr. Eslinger's 13 years at Saatchi, 10 of which he served on Publicis Groupe's Worldwide Creative Board of Directors and as a member of the holding company's mergers and acquisitions/investment group, he worked with brands like Diageo, General Mills, Mondelez, Procter & Gamble, T-Mobile and Toyota.

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