Tech giants continue to woo away some of the agency world's top creative talent -- and this time it's Andrew Keller.
Facebook has hired the former CP&B CEO and exec creative director as global creative director of the social network's in-house agency Creative Shop. This is a new role for the organization. Mr. Keller will report directly to Creative Shop Chief Creative Officer Mark D'Arcy, a former Time Warner ad exec who joined Facebook in 2011 to oversee its then-fledgling creative arm.
"The things that have impressed me the most about Andrew over the years are his abilities not just to do work and draw other people to do work, but his ability to explain work, his ability to actually look at work and explain what is actually going on so you can learn from it," said Mr. D'Arcy.
Those abilities align well with the responsibilities of Facebook's Creative Shop, which is something of a creative special forces unit charged with helping brands and agencies understand how to use Facebook and Facebook-owned Instagram in their campaigns without compromising the creative license they've grown accustomed to with other media. Its nearly 150 employees collaborate with brands and agencies around the world to craft campaigns that combine Facebook's and Instagram's social environments, data and technology with advertisers' creative ambitions and business objectives. Most recently the division, like all of Facebook, has focused on mobile and exploring new ways that brands and agencies can push the bounds of the smaller screen, such as through the immersive Canvas ad format that Facebook began testing with brands last year.
"What we find is all agencies, but particularly creative agencies, like learning from building and procreating. And all the principles and theories in the world are super valuable, but what we really like to do is have people on the other side of the table that they can work with and learn from and bring these ideas to life," Mr. D'Arcy said. He added that "shipping work" and scaling Creative Shop's work around the world are two of the division's biggest priorities in 2016.
Creative Shop has teamed on campaigns with brands including Budweiser, Ford, Sprint, Toyota, Newcastle and Amnesty International as well as agencies such as Droga5, 360i, DigitasLBi, Colenso BBDO/AIM Proximity and Blue Hive. The tech giant's in-house agency participates in Facebook's Anthology program, working with brands, agencies and publishers like Vice, Funny or Die and The Onion to create custom branded videos to run on the social network. And it also introduced the Creative Accelerator program last year to work with brands and agencies in developing countries.
Facebook has reinforced Creative Shop's work through its annual Facebook Awards that celebrate campaigns that have run on Facebook or Instagram, but aren't limited to the social networks, for their craft as well as their use of technology and data. Last year Creative Shop rolled out a set of tools for small- and medium-sized businesses to use when drafting campaign ideas. And in October 2014 it premiered a video series that interviewed various marketing and agency execs about how they created campaigns for Facebook and Instagram.
Mr. Keller, who will not be doing any work for Facebook's own marketing, comes to Facebook nearly six months after he left CP&B, where he had been CEO since 2010. His departure from the MDC Partners agency came less than six months after Lori Senecal's arrival at the agency as its first global CEO. Mr. Keller at that point was assigned to focus on the U.S. business, but left shortly thereafter.
And though he served as the agency's CEO for five years, prior to that appointment he was the shop's top creative, elevating to that role after arriving at CP&B in 1998 as an art director. His tenure at CP&B coincides with the era when CP&B became one of the hottest agencies in adland in the mid-2000s, creating innovative and sometimes bizarre campaigns -- often with a digital bent that eluded many shops at the time -- for companies like Burger King and Mini, which the shop helped launch in the U.S.
Mr. Keller is just the latest senior creative to step away from the agency world and move on to Silicon Valley. In December, Grey Worldwide Chief Creative Officer Tor Myhren left the WPP agency to join Apple as its VP-marketing communications. In March, Lars Bastholm, formerly chief creative officer at Rosetta and also Cheil USA, was named global chief creative officer of Google's Zoo, its in-house agency.
Agency creatives and other employees with digital skills have been lured by Silicon Valley for a couple years now, seeing the opportunities at Facebook, Instagram and Apple's in-house operation as better than what agencies have to offer -- in part because it pays better but also because tech companies provide some perceived stability with less ebbs and flows that often come with an account-dependent agency life.