We’ve all heard quite a bit about Facebook and Google poaching creative executives out of their natural agency environment. The most prominent recent example was Andrew Keller, formerly of CP+B, who became global creative director for the Menlo Park network just over six months ago without even leaving the Denver area.
Now another massive tech company has begun to more aggressively encroach upon creative agency turf. Amazon Media Group hired Anthony Reeves, former chief creative officer at Publicis Groupe’s Moxie, as executive creative director for its North American design unit. The retail giant also promoted GCD Steve Susi, a former creative director with Critical Mass, Ammirati, etc., to lead its European team. He will soon relocate to London for the job.
An Amazon spokesperson confirmed the changes this week. Reeves’ title will be executive creative director at Amazon Media Group North America, and he will be based in Seattle.
This means that Reeves will lead future creative efforts on behalf of clients who pay to advertise with Amazon and entrust the retailer’s in-house team to handle the work as it appears on the site and elsewhere. As in the case of Facebook, Amazon’s team positions itself as a partner to both agencies and clients.
The work created by the Amazon team runs the gamut from banner ads on Amazon.com to its most recently visible work, the Minions branded boxes that went out with millions of orders last year. An Amazon spokesperson told us that the Media Group looks to work with clients and agencies in order to push existing boundaries and think big about future projects.
As a current job listing for an account executive position puts it:
“Amazon Media Group operates at the intersection of eCommerce and advertising, offering a rich array of digital display advertising solutions with the goal of helping our customers find and discover anything they want to buy. We help advertisers reach Amazon customers on Amazon.com, across our other owned and operated sites, on other high quality sites across the web, and on millions of Kindles, tablets, and mobile devices.”
Reeves has already spent more than two decades in the agency world, starting his career as a copywriter at Grey, BBDO, Ogilvy and others in his native Australia. In 2009, he made his way stateside to work as ECD and VP of creative at FCB’s Hacker Agency, where he handled the AT&T account and contributed to the winning pitches for such accounts as Western Union, Netflix and Chipotle.
He then moved to Moxie in late 2012 as EVP, creative and remained there for more than 2 1/2 years, earning the CCO promotion in September of 2013. According to his public profiles, he led the Creative, Experience, Content, Design, Studio, Social, Strategy and Future Experience teams, working with clients like Verizon, Coca-Cola, BB&T, Nike and Georgia Pacific until March 2015. At that time, agency CEO Suzy Deerling appears to have pushed Reeves and various other employees out, writing in an internal memo that he would be going on “extended leave” and that the creative leads on Verizon and other core accounts would effectively make up for his absence.
Reeves then co-founded Structure, a creative services consulting company that uses “operational excellence to fuel creative performance.” Since June 2015, he has served as global chief creative and marketing officer for 2XU, an Australian sporting goods company. (Reeves has a connection to the company, having helped BWM/BMF win a related pitch back in 2008.)
Susi joined Amazon in late 2012 after working in-house at American Express and spending time with agencies including Critical Mass, Digital Pulp, etc.
The Amazon spokesperson did not elaborate on the significance of the Reeves hire and the Susi promotion, but one can surmise that the e-commerce giant aims to double down on its creative ad services in order to better collaborate with its many, many clients.
Facebook may be the leading distributor of online video, but people still go to Amazon when they want to buy things.