Omnicom Hires Top Talent Away From WPP to Build Its Dedicated AT&T Division in L.A.

Telecom giant scales up after buying DirecTV

The company officially acquired DirecTV in 2015. Photo Illustration: Dianna McDougall; Source: Getty Images
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Six months after AT&T announced plans to move the core of its entertainment division from Atlanta to Dallas and El Segundo, Calif., Omnicom has made several key hires to build out the as-yet-unnamed division launched to serve that client in the L.A. area.

Colin Drummond and Angela Jones recently joined the office as executive vice presidents and co-leads on integrated strategy for the AT&T team. Drummond and Jones come to Omnicom from two WPP companies: Ogilvy & Mather in New York and Maxus Global in Los Angeles, respectively.

They join former Carat svp Tavo Castro, who leads media strategy on the AT&T account.

In April, a BBDO spokesperson said an operation involving that agency and Hearts & Science would be “fully up and running by the end of the year” after AT&T consolidated its U.S. creative and media accounts with Omnicom last August.

The unit now consists of those two shops along with interactive agency Organic, which is part of Omnicom’s larger DAS Group of Companies, all operating under the AT&T banner with the L.A. team working exclusively on that account. The telecom giant and its recently acquired DirecTV division collectively spent $2 billion on paid media in 2015, making it America’s second-largest advertiser.

A top executive on the AT&T account said today that the L.A. division would follow “a new model based on what we created post-pitch in terms of our service model for AT&T.”

He added, “The business is so big that we’re looking at it as a partnership.”

For that reason, Omnicom has gradually scaled up its L.A. office while also hiring for the Hearts & Science team based in Dallas. According to the executive, the group will soon announce a new creative director and an overall lead for the entertainment portion of the AT&T account.

Since acquiring DirecTV for an estimated $50 billion, AT&T has focused on merging the two companies and expanding its streaming video services. In an April all-staff memo, AT&T Entertainment Group president John Stankey said that about 300 employees would be moving from Atlanta to Los Angeles, describing the Silicon Beach area as “one of the places that I believe will be at the center of thought leadership [regarding the] convergence of technology and media.”

This summer, AT&T also named Stankey to oversee its proposed $85 billion takeover of Time Warner, which has yet to receive approval from U.S. regulators.

An AT&T spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.

@PatrickCoffee Patrick Coffee is a senior editor for Adweek.