United Entertainment Group has hired two agency veterans to lead its cross-client creative and strategy operations in an effort to compete more directly with “traditional” ad agencies.
Subodh Samudre and Tom Howells will serve as ecd and vp of strategic planning, respectively, in the agency’s SoHo headquarters, effective immediately. The purpose of the hires, according to founder, president, CEO and 16-year veteran of the Grey organization Jarrod Moses, is to enhance the organization’s offerings with the ultimate goal of handling a larger share of each given client’s business.
“The agency of the future is one that can be all-encompassing but also strategic and very focused,” Moses said, adding that UEG maintains five separate divisions focusing on entertainment, sports and lifestyle partnerships, content creation, talent and influencer campaigns, integrated communications and experiential marketing. He positioned this latest announcement as an attempt to get ahead of the ever-splintering media market and transcend the general consensus that “traditional [advertising] doesn’t work anymore.”
“After seeing these cycles at Grey, we’re doing this as aggressively as possible,” he said. “The world is changing too fast, so we will invest heavily and move forward without looking back.”
Samudre served as an art director at ad agencies including Saatchi & Saatchi and JWT and held comparable client-side roles at companies like Apple before moving to UEG, where he will manage creative across the five aforementioned divisions. Howells spent several years in accounts and strategy at communications firm Edelman, which has been a key UEG partner since 2014 and owns a significant share of the overall venture.
“Our strategy and creative team is an ever-moving, ever-changing body within UEG that exists in pretty much every office,” said Moses. “They interact with every team on every piece of business at any given time with no one staying on one account for too long. … These two will executive manage that process.”
UEG’s current client list includes KFC, The North Face and Starbucks, among others. Moses said his shop and its 100-plus employees will continue to collaborate with inter-agency teams across offices in New York, Los Angeles, London, Dallas and Chicago, but that “it is critical to our business to also be the agency of record able to offer a full suite of services for a brand in the days where it’s difficult to navigate how a consumer will absorb this information.”
Moses told Adweek that UEG has already begun competing against more “traditional” creative shops in larger pitches.