MDC’s Redscout tells us they’ve hired a president, Venables alum Nick Johnson, and their first-ever CCO, Peter Nicholson. Nicholson lost previous his gig when Deutsch and Lowe merged.
Johnson is a behind-the-scenes player known for his business savvy and Nicholson is, well, Nicholson. Those who know the creative call him a humble hard worker. Similar tales are told about Johnson. It’s a good combination for MDC’s planning shop, which will now be able to execute the plans they’ve built a business creating.
“It’s easier for Redscout to move downstream than it is for agencies to move up,” said a person familiar with the hires. The source is referring of course to Redscout’s planning background. Putting planning in the driver’s seat upset many readers of this blog who prefer a creative’s mind to a planner’s.
But MDC has ramped up its planning/strategy offering — both by beefing up Redscout and bringing on former McCann-and-everywhere-else-guy Faris Yakob. Last month the agency brought Mark Lewis on as strategy director for the San Francisco office.
Before now, 99% of Redscout’s business was strategy, we’re told, so why not capitalize a bit more by executing in house. This doesn’t mean the agency is pitching itself as full service: there won’t be any production or media coming out of the office.
To be clear, Johnson is technically not the first president. He’s preceded by Patty Favreau who hasn’t been with the shop for a few years. He’s the second president but the first in awhile.