Phenomenon’s Former President Joins 22squared as Chief Client Officer

Erica Hoholick takes on a new role at the independent agency

22squared has hired Erica Hoholick to fill a new role at the agency.
Ben Brinker

Erica Hoholick is joining 22squared as chief client officer, a new role at the independent agency.

Hoholick most recently served as president of Los Angeles-based agency Phenomenon, a position she left last year. Prior to joining Phenomenon in 2018, Hoholick served as president of TBWA\Media Arts Lab, Apple’s advertising agency. She’s also held leadership roles at Ogilvy London and TBWA\Chiat\Day Los Angeles throughout her career.

At 22squared, she will be tasked with leading the Atlanta-based agency’s account management and business development departments. Prior to her appointment, 22squared’s individual client leads held primary responsibility for their brand relationships.

Hoholick will report to Richard Ward, CEO of 22squared.

“I took a long time to get to know Richard and the executive team,” she said. “22squared is such an interesting and unique place. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be at an independent, 100% employee-owned company. It’s rare in this day and age, and I think that’s reflected in the culture. The agency is so focused on the people.”

As president of Phenomenon, Hoholick said she helped the agency win clients including PepsiCo’s Naked Juice and TD Ameritrade. Last year, private equity firms Berggruen Holdings and Sleeping Bear Capital bought a majority stake in Phenomenon.

Hoholick served as president of TBWA\Media Arts Lab from 2014 through 2017. She said she was brought on at a time when the agency was in a “pretty tough spot” with its dedicated client Apple (in early 2014, the Wall Street Journal reported that Apple had considered firing its longtime agency).

“It really just needed a reset. I came into help reboot that relationship,” she said. Hoholick ended up expanding TBWA\Media Arts Lab from 12 to 26 countries and oversaw the launch of Apple’s “Shot on iPhone” campaign.

“Erica has spent her career building things,” Ward said in a statement. “She is a consummate builder. As an agency that’s spent the last 13 years driving dramatic growth and expansion, we see the power in Erica.”

Her appointment is the latest in a string of leadership changes at the agency, which also has an office in Tampa, Fla. In 2018, the independent shop hired Matt O’Rourke from Grey New York to serve as chief creative officer. Last year, Dave Nottoli joined the agency as svp-director of strategy.

According to 22squared, the agency has started working with brands such as SharkNinja and FridaBaby within the last year, and has experienced organic growth from current clients including Publix Super Markets, Home Depot and Baskin-Robbins. Last year, the agency worked on a retro game called Operation Scoop Snoop for Baskin-Robbins and Netflix to promote season three of Stranger Things.

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DDB and Joan Creative (now just Joan) recently unveiled new visual identities for their 70th and third anniversaries, respectively.

DDB’s new logo pays homage to founders Ned Doyle, Mac Dane and Bill Bernbach, incorporating their names into the fresh visual which is essentially a revamped version of its very first one—two Ds, one yellow and one black, stacked on top of one another. Joan’s new identity, which coincides with the agency opening its new office at 44 Wall Street in late 2018, drops the “Creative” in its name and reimagines the lowercase, rounded typeface logo as an “impactful, edgier, uppercase word mark” with the “J” designed to represent Joan of Arc’s sword, CEO Lisa Clunie recently told Adweek.

We asked design experts in the industry to weigh in on both: like, love or just OK?

These are their unapologetically blunt takes:

Caley Cantrell, professor and strategy chair at VCU Brandcenter

DDB: It was OK. “It is a nice refresh for a storied agency brand. Whether it is needed from a business standpoint I can’t be sure. But from an internal branding standpoint it might bring with it energy and enthusiasm.”

Joan: Liked it. “This rebrand feels strategically smart. After three years, Joan can comfortably drop the ‘Creative’ part of the name. They’ve earned the ‘it goes without saying’ attitude. And I think it offers versatility to be able to directly pair new elements/business units of their offering directly to Joan.”

Carol Chu, creative director at Beacon Press

DDB: Loved it. “It’s a clever use of negative space and I’ve always enjoyed a classic reboots of sorts—like the logos of yore.”

Joan: It was OK. “It becomes so tiring to see chopped type as a logo. You slice off a serif or you crop off some stem. It doesn’t feel particularly fresh and it’s already somewhat dated.”

Chris Do, president and founder of The Futur

DDB: Liked it. “I think the rebrand is clever, bold and appropriate. It has a slightly nostalgic vibe to it but I think this was intentional to also reference the founders. I can see the mark being used in many ways where the previous mark couldn’t. It can be used as a graphic container, bug and repeating pattern.”

Joan: Didn’t like it. “I think there is something much more interesting about the simplicity to the original mark. It feels modern, quirky, friendly, personal, unpretentious. The new word mark feels over-designed and trying too hard to be symbolic.”

Kristen Cavallo, The Martin Agency CEO

DDB: Liked it. “It is simple, rational and clean. It ties to their heritage and founders, which is a strength when your founders include giants like Bernbach.”

Joan: Loved it. “It’s more than a name or a font—it is a story. A sword and a heroine, a warrior with a cause. It says everything you need to know about the agency.”

Richard Pels, freelance creative director and copywriter and teacher at School of Visual Arts/City Tech

DDB: Loved it. “If persuasion begins with your logo, your visual handshake, this one is delightfully ironic. They’ve returned to a version of Doyle’s original logo that now has a good chance of lasting to their 100th anniversary, fulfilling Bernbach’s prophecy. Michael Bierut talks about a logo being an empty vessel you pour meaning into. This particular vessel comes already full to the brim, paying homage to the smartest group of people ever brought together in one advertising agency. In fact, it’s a lot to live up to. I’m all in.”

Joan: Liked it. “It’s not entirely fair to ask this after discussing DDB’s historical reboot, but I do like it. The hand-drawn logo brings an artisanal quality to the place, and reflects the image of some of their clients who have throwback type or hand-rendered versions of their logos.”

Linda Joseph, creative director at Corgan MediaLab

DDB: Loved it. “I think it’s an elegant way to marry the past with the future. I especially appreciate that they didn’t follow the current trend of ‘blanding’ by using a simple sans serif typeface to create a wordmark/logotype like other rebrands have been done.”

Joan: Liked it. “The rebrand is a better reflection of who the brand is and what they do. The original looked too much like what other startups were doing.”

Ben Hughes, creative director at Squarespace

DDB: Didn’t like it. “I’m not a fan of the original Doyle Dane Bernbach logo this references—it’s fairly blunt, especially compared with the many witty identities that came out of that midcentury period—but at least it feels stable and is designed to scale properly. The new mark seems perilously unbalanced, as if about to topple over, and seems destined to never look quite right in a layout.”

Joan: Loved it. “Whereas Joan’s previous logo seemed like classic start-up material, probably designed 10 minutes before a proposal had to be shipped out, the new mark is confident and considered. It broadcasts independence and good taste.”

Ashleigh Axios, design exponent at Automattic

DDB: Liked it. “The new mark communicates more with fewer visual elements, which means that it will be easier to read and will scale better across modern digital applications where logos appear.”

Joan: Liked it. “It’s really unique. With so many brands using sans serif typefaces, the embrace of a strong serif is a clear way to help a brand stand out as unique, creative and memorable.”

Kevin Gatta, professor/creative director at Pratt Institute Graduate Communications/Packaging Design Department, Gatta Design & Co.

DDB: It was OK. “Considering the illustrious history of Doyle Dane Bernback—their defining [of] what this new arena called advertising is during those alphabet years, and with all the emerging technologies being developed to bring products and services to the public, and they defining what that creative process is to get your attention—I feel the rebranding has some merits, but the static design does not do what the video does with their mission.”

Joan: Didn’t like it. “Without knowing much about this company, what is the reasoning for the simplification of the chosen font and breakdown of its legibility and clarity? Shows confusion in the design that may mean confusion in their solutions.”

George Garrastegui, Jr., assistant professor/creative catalyst for NYC College of Technology

DDB: Liked it. “It is a clever form of the two Ds making up the counter of the larger B—similar in concept to the original logo, but it is in the application that it shines. Great fun is had within the shapes and the weight of the bottom black D grounds the logo. Overall the success of the mark relies too much on its application for me, but the nod to its historic beginning is a refreshing bet on themselves and not the competition.”

Joan: Loved it. “When I noticed the Joan Creative logo, it struck me as a fresh take on a brand. In comparison to its older version, it looks to move in the right direction. The previous logo, even though fun, it’s too similar to the jet brand. The update does away with the kitsch and takes a stab at achieving a memorable agency mark. This young brand now feels more mature and the usage of high contrast letterforms and a typewriter serif works harmoniously. This combination has a playful and modern twist that fits the style of work Joan focuses on.”

Andrea Waite, a senior director formerly with Verizon Media

DDB: Didn’t like it. “The name does not immediately stand out. I appreciate the intent of double-playing the letters, but it requires too much thought. To that point, anyone that is not familiar with the advertising industry would not get it at all. Lastly, aren’t some of the colors BBDO colors?”

Joan: Liked it. “It feels nostalgic, which is a sentiment that many people value right now given the current state of affairs. Makes you think of ‘Mad Men’ and going back to simplicity in creativity with the typewriter-type font underneath the logo as well.”

Ian Paget, the ‘Logo Geek’

DDB: It was OK. “The original logo from the 1950s was very clearly two separate stacked Ds that formed a B. The two Ds together, being the same size helps to symbolize a confident, equal partnership. The new logo, however, has lost that same feel of confidence and partnership. Now it just looks like a negative space B with the Ds no longer an obvious feature. Regardless, comparing the previous logo to the new, it’s a much-needed redesign.”

Joan: Liked it. “This is a really classy redesign. The business feels high-end, elegant and confident. The logo does, however, feel slightly unbalanced which I feel is caused by the descending N that looks like an attempt to make the design symmetrical. Aside from this, I love the design.”

Todd Lancaster, chief creative officer of GoDo Discovery

DDB: Liked it. “I liked it because it reflected their history and it features some negative-space play. In a world where everything (especially advertising) is going digital, I like the analog feel this logo gives. My only worry is that without the ‘see and say’ DDB, it may be hard for newbies to realize what’s going on here and the fact that it’s two Ds and a B.”

Joan: Didn’t like it. “I don’t think three years was long enough for the original brand to be out there. So many brands are going all lowercase and super bold sans serif so I don’t like seeing Joan head that direction.They essentially shifted closer to the pack [rather than] staying out of it.”

Doc Reed, owner of Reedicus

DDB: Loved it. “It smacks you in the face with how simple and smart it is. Once the lightbulb goes off and you see it, you can’t unsee it. There is a touch of a tenderness woven into the act of resurrecting and renewing an old mark, but an upstart boldness to reimagine what it can be and where it can go.”

Joan: Unsure. “In my opinion, the original was a brutalist wordmark. Raw, unapologetic and to the point. Period. (It has a period right there in the logo.) The update captures more of the aesthetic and thinking of the agency. At first glance, it’s pleasant and unassuming but that’s where you’d be wrong. It’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing.”

Derek Walker, owner of Brown and Browner Advertising

DDB: Liked it. “They have such a rich history that it is great to see them embracing it instead of abandoning it the way some of the holding companies have been doing lately. Hopefully, this rebranding will also see them getting back to their creative roots also.”

Joan: It was OK. “Joan is less iconic for me, but I enjoyed the relaxed feel of their previous brand identity. I don’t hate the new brand. I just don’t think it is as impactful as they may have hoped.”

Rob Baiocco, chief creative officer of the BAM Connection

DDB: Liked it. “I like the clever simplicity, how it harkens back to their roots and that it has some versatility built into it.”

Joan: It was OK. “Three years in seems a little early in the lifecycle for a rebrand. But it does feel more modern than the all-lower-case approach.”

Steven Nasi, senior content strategist/adjunct professor at VShift/CUNY City Tech

DDB: Liked it. “Truthfully I see the B and not the Ds at first, but that was looking without the full name. I admire that DDB is opting to maintain their full name and stays true to their design roots in the brand refresh. It’s smart and appropriate to their place in the history of the industry. I mean, it’s fine.”

Joan: Loved it. “This feels strong, confident and timeless. It’s majestic but not at all run of the mill. The letterforms come alive. This makes me wonder about what’s driving Joan, which is exactly what you want in a logo.”

Veda Nagpurkar, art director at OH Partners

DDB: It was OK. “DDB’s rebrand from the san serif, straightforward, abbreviated logo is a welcome change. The new logo is a nod to the original concept of two Ds forming a B. While the concept behind the new identity works well, I’m not sold on the execution, specifically the roundedness of the form. The softer edges of Ds make it look almost too playful. In terms of execution, they’ve done a great job incorporating vibrant, dynamic visual play. But again, using a logo as a window has been done many times. As much as I love the vibrancy of yellow and its contrast with black, the logo feels bottom heavy due to the color choices, and it’s hard to read as two Ds. It seems DDB wanted to go for something trendy but it doesn’t feel very original or timeless. In terms of industry, it puts them in a fun, vibrant, young category.”

Joan: Liked it. “Joan Creative’s new logo definitely sparks my interest. I really like the use of Serif typeface, along with the ‘Joan of Arc’s sword’ in J which make for a strong, authoritative and unique identity. The simple black and white with accents of gray forms a great foundational color palette which makes Joan’s client work shine without overpowering. The primary typeface evokes a legendary, historic feeling along with being edgy and confident. The new website is simple but gives a documentary-style vibe to the images and layout, which work very well for its truthful, unique and powerful storytelling. I would’ve loved to see the new identity come to life more through swag but I like what I see so far. It’s nice to see an agency owning who they are and reflecting their own culture. It makes them come across as a strong, edgy, ‘we mean business’ shop.”

Brittany Fero, principal at PB&

DDB: Liked it. “I love the throwback to their roots. DDB has always been a strong brand. This shows confidence in that. The mark reinterprets the the brand for today without reinventing it. That’s what strong brands do best.”

Joan: It was OK. “It feels more ‘mature.’ But also feels like it lost some of its playfulness.”

Nakita Pope, brand strategist and ‘chief chick’ at Branding Chicks

DDB: Loved it. “Although this new look from DDB harkens back to their original logo, it feels fresh. The simplified shapes are more contemporary and waiting to be filled visually. There is a glimpse of the multiple ways they would use those windows to represent different themes, clients, locations, etc. in the video about the rebrand on their website right now. The world and its cultures change quickly. As culture creators, we need to be able to adapt.”

Joan: Liked it. “Joan’s new look is still simple and no-nonsense but it has depth. The letterforms used in their logotype are a beautiful combination of sharp edges and rounded corners that make it a bit edgy while still open and friendly at the same time. It feels like Joan grew up a bit and is now coming into her own, which is exactly what you want from any proactive rebrand.”

Douglas Davis, chair, BFA in Communication Design at New York City College of Technology

DDB: Loved it. “As a designer who broke into advertising, I remember walking into DDB’s offices on Madison Avenue wondering why the place looked like we were accountants. These were the days when an agency’s creative personality didn’t reach its own identity, interior design or website. So, I’m glad to see this design build on Bernbach’s respect for what a concept looked like. Then again, respect for visual problem solving makes sense when you’re partnered with Paul Rand. The perspective that combined the visual alongside the verbal changed advertising and is still influencing how we see the Ds make the B. That’s why the new logo is successful, it requires the viewer to see both the parts and the whole. It’s candy.”

Joan: It was OK. “I’m not a fan of Joan’s new look, but typographically speaking, they took risks I can respect. It’s risky in my view because it sacrifices the legibility of the J in exchange for the dagger application. And yet it’s better than the typeface they had, which felt too much like Jet, their client’s logo. All in all, typefaces go in and out of fashion, so this choice feels good for being noticed. Turned my head.”

Katie Lamb Shomaker, managing director of FL+G

DDB: Loved it. “DDB’s redesign does a great job modernizing the visual identity yet holding true to the company’s essence, making [it] feel authentic to the brand. I love that the various global offices can customize the design to their market needs. This is something that speaks so well to creativity being at the core of the DDB brand.”

Joan: Liked it. “The new logo definitely represents a strong brand that is ready to lead a revolution, more so than the previous design did, with its lowercase, rounded letters. The new logo simply conjures an image and a force that the previous one did not.”