Vice to Fully Merge Carrot Creative Into Virtue

New organization named after its full-service creative shop

Vice will combine all agencies under Virtue.
Getty Images, Virtue

Vice Media announced today that it will combine all its advertising ventures under the umbrella organization Virtue Worldwide.

The news comes one year after the youth-oriented company created the entity, which bore the same name as the full-service creative shop it founded in 2006. Carrot Creative, the digital agency Vice acquired in 2013, will be fully integrated into Virtue.

Update: After this story first ran, a Vice spokesperson confirmed that Carrot co-founder and CEO Mike Germano, who also served as Vice Media’s chief digital officer, would not be returning to the company.

“This integration is something both Virtue and Carrot’s leadership teams have been strategically planning for about a year now,” said Virtue chief operating officer Ryan Mack, who led the move. “In a time when digital should be at the core of all agencies rather than a specialized force, it’s an exciting and natural step for us as we round our Virtue’s creative and strategic offering with Carrot’s social, analytics and tech.”

As president, Mack will lead the relaunched agency, which combines the digital offerings of Carrot and the creative content of Virtue.

A Vice spokeswoman said the company will announce additional leadership roles in the coming weeks. She reiterated that the merger had been in the works for a year and that many of the agencies’ clients had pushed for it.

The combined entity comes to market with such capabilities as a “robust” data and analytics team, a creative tech studio and a “deep expertise” in social media, communications planning and editorial design.

Virtue itself has office in 25 countries; since its 2006 founding, the creative arm has produced project-based assignments that target Vice’s young audience. It has worked with clients like AB-InBev, Bacardi, Coca-Cola and Google. In January 2017, the creative shop relaunched with new CEO Lars Hemming Jorgensen at the helm. Jorgensen, who formerly served as chief creative officer of Story Worldwide, will retain the chief executive title at this time.

At the time of his appointment, Virtue scored a Wall Street Journal feature detailing its future plans for a 450-person unit that would combine Carrot and Virtue. Carrot continued to operate independently, and the Vice representative declined to specify why the initial integration did not include that agency; a source with direct knowledge of the matter told Adweek that Carrot leadership had resisted the move.

The digital hub recently came under scrutiny following an internal investigation into sexual harassment claims against its founder and CEO, Mike Germano, as well as Vice president Andrew Creighton. Both leaders are still suspended pending the investigation.

That development followed the December 23 publication of a long-rumored New York Times exposé on Vice’s history as a “toxic environment” for women. That story included two specific incidents regarding encounters between Germano and women who worked with him, both of whom spoke to NYT on the record. In a statement, the executive acknowledged that his behavior toward one of these women had been “inappropriate.”

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