AgencySpy Revolving Door Roundup: Joan, RPA, Wunderman Thompson and More

By Kyle O'Brien 

The Super Bowl, Valentine’s Day, Mardi Gras, Groundhog Day, they’re all over. Don’t live in the past. Look to the future and follow what the agencies are doing—signing new people, forming new alliances and taking on new challenges. It can be a great way to bide your time between the next few tertiary holidays.

Let’s get right to it before Canberra Day (Australia) rolls around and check out this week’s Revolving Door Roundup.

3CS

3CS, a production-focused experiential marketing agency, has launched in San Diego. 3CS is already home to a versatile roster of clients, including Google, Lincoln and Netflix.

The agency focuses on creating immersive experiences for industry-leading brands through launch events, mobile tours, PR and influencer activations, concerts, pop-ups and more while also offering concept development and experiential design.

“I’ve always been such an advocate of balance and want to build a company where community and culture are priority,” said founder of 3CS, Chelsea Wilson, who most recently was head of the West Coast office and managing director at creative experiences agency Relevent. “Covid opened my eyes to how much people want to band together.”

AKQA

AKQA has made two senior creative hires, naming Hillary Coe principal of experience, and JoRoan Lazaro as executive creative director.

Coe, a creative leader with over 15 years of experience in technology and multimedia design, will be based in AKQA’s San Francisco studio. She was most recently director of design at SpaceX, providing design and human experience leadership in collaboration with NASA. Before that, she was a creative director at Google.

“AKQA has a proven legacy of being at the forefront of these technologies, integrating a global community of master multidisciplinary designers, storytellers and technologists to solve problems for the world’s leading innovators. I am joining this team because I believe the human experience relies on these architects building the future we all want,” said Coe.

Lazaro joins AKQA with over 20 years of product design experience and will lead the creative team at AKQA’s New York studio. He has established himself at technology companies and startup environments over his career.

Arnold

Matt Kennedy, who recently launched a unique campaign over Venmo to find a job in advertising, has successfully landed a gig at creative agency Arnold as a junior copywriter.

Last month, the stand-up comedian and recent Chicago Portfolio School grad reached out directly to a few creative executives at agencies by sending them a Venmo request for $50,000, his estimate for a starting salary of a junior copywriter. His approach quickly gained attention over LinkedIn and caught the eye of Arnold chief creative officer Sean McBride.

Brand X Cleveland

A group of Cleveland branding, marketing, culture and business experts—who are also small-business owners—has launched Brand X Cleveland with a mission to help the area’s small businesses, causes, and their leaders navigate through the current challenging economic times.

The rich content platform of Brand X Cleveland is dedicated to providing advice, resources, and answers to tough questions from local enterprise owners seeking to regain their footing and develop a successful business plan for the future.

“We are experts united on a mission to help local Cleveland area businesses survive crisis with a plan to thrive in the new world to come,” said Mike Ozan, the founder of Brand X Cleveland and CEO and chief creative officer of Twist Creative, a branding and design firm.

Business owners can ask experts for advice, review videos and podcasts, download a tool kit and join discussions.

Buffalo Groupe

OrthoLite, the maker of branded, comfort footwear insoles, has named Buffalo Groupe and Verde Brand Communications as the company’s agencies of record to lead and develop brand development, creative, advertising, social media, and public relations.

OrthoLite selected Buffalo and Verde for the agencies’ expertise and global reach. Together, the agencies will build OrthoLite’s brand awareness through go-to-market strategies and brand creative to support its worldwide expansion and rollout of new technologies.

Dan Legor, global director of marketing for OrthoLite, said: “Buffalo and Verde will work with us in lockstep to provide true collaboration and consistent service to our brand partners and support to our sales and production teams around the world.”

The Community 

Creative Agency The Community has hired veteran creative Kash Sree as executive creative director. In the position, Sree will help spearhead The Community’s creative vision for Verizon, supporting Joaquin Molla, founder and chief creative officer.

Sree most recently served as executive creative director for Gyro in New York. Additionally, Sree has worked at Wieden+Kennedy, Pereira & O’Dell, JWT, and BBH New York.

“Kash’s work speaks for itself. He has a strong point of view, and he’s always been fearless in his pursuit of creativity,” said Molla.

Harte Hanks

Marketing agency Harte Hanks has been selected by Midea America Corp. to implement a digital customer service program across its consumer products portfolio, including Beverly, Colmo, Comfee, Eureka, Toshiba, Little Swan and Vandelo.

“We are thrilled to partner with Midea, a company that understands how important it is to deliver better experiences, more efficiently throughout the customer journey, both before and after product purchase,” said Joyce Karel, chief commercial officer at Harte Hanks.

Joan Creative

Full-service agency Joan has been tapped by Icelandic Provisions (IP) to develop and execute a major brand campaign to connect the public with the skyr cultures used in its yogurt-style products. Joan is charged with creating a creative platform for the brand and a campaign that includes video, OOH, print, in-store, influencer, PR, social, and experimental.

“[Joan] demonstrated a real passion for the brand and vision for the opportunities for growth. We’re confident in Joan’s ability to create a campaign that we can build upon for years,” said Dan Hickle, CMO of Icelandic Provisions.

Added Lisa Clunie, co-founder and CEO of Joan: “Our team is absolutely focused on driving even faster growth all while building this brand into a true legendary icon.”

The North Alliance

The North Alliance (NoA), a Nordic family of advertising, creative, and tech agencies, has launched NoA Ignite, a convergence of digital design agencies Making Waves Norway, Making Waves Sweden, Making Waves Poland, and Hello Great Works in Copenhagen.

NoA Ignite aims to help brands with digital growth, combining each agency’s knowledge with the brand’s needs through consumer insights, creative excellence, data and technology. The group’s primary focus will be on driving sustainable growth for its clients through ecommerce, digital service platforms, engagement and optimization, and business innovation.

Clients currently include Co-op, Electrolux, Telenor, and Scandinavian Airlines (SAS).

“Through the gathering together of our collective expertise under one roof to form NoA Ignite, we now lift our competencies to a new level in order to help our clients weather the storm, initially, and, ultimately, achieve long-lasting digital growth,” said Mikael Jorgensen, CEO of the NoA group.

Public Label

Creative marketing agency Public Label has appointed Stephanie Sumner as senior vice president, growth. In the position, Sumner will be responsible for leading growth initiatives at the newly launched agency, a relaunch of Match Marketing Group as two separate agencies, the other being Match Retail.

Sumner was a marketing consultant before joining Public Label. Before that, she spent nearly 18 years with North Carolina-based McKinney, most recently as vice president and business development director.

RPA

For Black History Month, Santa Monica-based agency RPA launched a month-long social campaign to spotlight local Black-owned businesses. The agency polled its associates for their favorite LA-area Black-owned restaurants, coffee shops, fitness facilities, art galleries and more, and are featuring one per day in its Instagram feed.

RPA worked in tandem with its Black employee resources group, What’s Good?, to develop the idea. Each post features quotes from agency associates calling out what they love about the individual business and a short write-up describing each.

Wunderman Thompson

The BrandLab, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit organization building a movement to change the advertising and marketing industry’s face and voice, has launched LabFellows, a paid fellowship program, in partnership with Best Buy, UnitedHealth Group’s Optum and Wunderman Thompson’s Midwest office.

The LabFellows program, launching in late spring, is part of a three-year commitment between the four organizations to foster new career opportunities in marketing and advertising for upcoming and recent college graduates from diverse backgrounds. This includes a financial contribution of over $1 million to help fund stipends for the fellows and hiring of staff for The BrandLab.

The LabFellows program will select 16 aspiring young, creative minds from a diverse applicant pool. The program will offer the chosen LabFellows an immersive eight-month paid rotation within the Best Buy, Optum, Wunderman Thompson Midwest and [WPP media agency] Essence organizations.

“One of our primary goals at The BrandLab is to create equal opportunities for our college students and alumni by eliminating barriers and building bridges into that first marketing or advertising job,” said Thomas Toley, college and beyond director at The BrandLab.

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