MDC Engages Digital Strategist

NEW YORK MDC Partners has tapped former Ogilvy Internet specialist Brandon Berger to serve as its first director of digital innovation.

In his new role, Berger is tasked with scouting potential digital ad investments for the company, which holds stakes in Crispin Porter + Bogusky, Kirshenbaum Bond + Partners and Cliff Freeman and Partners.

“Digital is at the core to the future DNA of all marketing communication,” Berger said. “We need as a holding company to be involved with companies that are embracing it.”

His arrival comes as several holding companies and individual agencies tap high-level strategists to refine their digital strategy. Ogilvy North America last week named former Razorfish CEO Jean-Philippe Maheu its first chief digital officer, and Tribal DDB exec Mike Parker jumped to Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in a similar role.

MDC Partners CEO Miles Nadal told The New York Times yesterday that he has earmarked $150 million for acquisitions, with a particular focus on digital capabilities. MDC owns few interactive specialists, like Hello Design.

Berger spent three years at Ogilvy North America, most recently as senior strategist for digital innovation for OgilvyInteractive and Neo@Ogilvy, the agency’s digital media arm. He helped found its Digital Innovations Group in February 2005. At Ogilvy, Berger specialized in wireless and video game advertising.

In addition to vetting investments, Berger will work with MDC agencies to determine the resources they need to be more digitally centric, whether that is recruiting talent or partnering with emerging technology platforms.

“I want to bring to the table lots of opportunities for growth for the network,” he said.

Berger said he was drawn to the MDC opportunity because he could combine his work in emerging digital platforms at Ogilvy with his entrepreneurial roots as the co-founder of a wireless technology firm, WideRay Corp.

“It’s a company about entrepreneurs,” Berger said, citing MDC’s preference to share ownership in agencies with their founders. “Because of that, it allows me to be very entrepreneurial in terms of where we go from a dig perspective.”