Deep Focus Names New U.S. Creative Leader, Looks to Compete With More ‘Traditional’ Agencies

John Reid joins from Wunderman

Deep Focus has found its new creative leader after a long search. This week the Engine Group agency named former Wunderman executive vice president John Reid as its U.S. chief creative officer, overseeing a network that includes offices in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. He began the job this week in Manhattan and reports directly to CEO Ian Schafer.

"John's unique mix of traditional and digital brand-building experience makes him well-positioned to further establish Deep Focus as a world-class integrated creative agency," said Schafer in a statement, calling Reid "a beacon for great talent."

Moving forward, Reid will lead creative across the Deep Focus client roster, which currently includes Frito-Lay, Nestlé, Intel, Purina and eBay.

The chief creative officer position had remained open since early in 2016, when Deep Focus's content creation unit Moment Studio spun off to become a separate unit within the Engine Group with CCO and head of product Ken Kraemer as its chief executive officer.

"It's been quite a long journey in hiring someone [to replace Kraemer]," Schafer tells Adweek. "We're happy to have found the right person."

Schafer also sees Reid's hire as a turning point in his agency's history as it begins to compete more directly with "traditional" creative shops for both project and agency of record work. "There are instances where we've been brought on as a social agency and ended up as lead creative agency," he says, adding, "It seems like everything is up for grabs to everyone in many cases as long as you meet the minimum requirements. … The RFPs we've been getting over the past year have been vaguer than ever before, and I see that as an opportunity."

"'Integrated' used to mean a digital guy saying 'I have big brand ideas,'" Reid says, regarding this shift to a hybrid agency model. "But it's not a dirty word anymore; it's actually been embraced. I look forward to working alongside the talented people of Deep Focus who are brave and provocative enough to ask questions and defy the status quo."

Prior to joining Deep Focus, Reid spent more than six years leading the creative departments of Wunderman's New York and Washington, D.C. offices. His work for such clients as The Ad Council, Audi, J&J, Pfizer and Procter & Gamble has been recognized by the Cannes Lions, the Clios and other awards shows; he has also served as a panel judge at multiple festivals.

Over the past year, Deep Focus has also named Kara O'Neill as president of its New York headquarters and hired Olson veteran Jonathan Lum as its chief strategy officer.