Taco Bell’s first culture agency of record, Cashmere, has hired veteran thought leader and strategist Aki Spicer as its new chief strategy officer. In the newly created role, Spicer will be charged with driving the agency’s strategic campaigns and initiatives and capitalizing on current growth of existing client relationships. He will report to Cashmere president and chief creative officer Ryan Ford.
Spicer joins Cashmere from Leo Burnett/Chicago where he was chief strategy officer, helping update the strategic approach for brand, digital and data integration. There, he introduced forays in AI, Web3, and multicultural intelligence for brands including Samsung, Kellogg’s, Jim Beam, Bank of America, Messenger, US Cellular and more. Spicer also co-led a strategic resource and accelerator for all the creative agencies across Publicis. He leaves the agency after it was recognized as 2022 Agency of the Year at One Show, ADC and Clios, “Best in Show” at One Show, Addy, Communication Arts and AICP, Titanium and Grand Prix at Cannes
“Aki’s devotion and contributions to the culture is the ultimate compliment to Cashmere’s cultural intelligence offering,” said Ford in a statement. “Not only is he an exceptional and forward-thinking strategist but a driving force in the community and the industry. We are thrilled to welcome him to the Cashmere team.”
Spicer’s appointment comes as the agency continues a growth spurt. Aside from its hiring by Taco Bell, this past year Cashmere became the creative agency for Amazon Music’s Hip Hop team, the social AOR for Starz and the culture PR AOR for Michelob. The agency merged with Media.Monks in 2021.
“Cashmere Agency is a trailblazer that has set the standard for brands connecting to culture in the new global market. This is a refreshing return to form, at a culture-first marketing agency—having started my career in music marketing and built much of my big agency career on leading the quest to unlock cultural access for brands,” said Spicer in a statement.
Prior to Leo Burnett/Chicago, Spicer served as chief strategy officer and chief digital officer of TBWA/Chiat/Day New York, and director of Digital Strategy at Fallon Worldwide.
Spicer is currently an advisor and jury chair for the NYFestivals’ AME Awards first-ever equality category. He actively co-chairs the cultural collective committee with ANA AIMM (Alliance for Inclusive Multicultural Marketing). He also serves as a trustee for Advertising Research Foundation (ARF).
Spicer is the latest appointment to Cashmere’s leadership team, following the recent new hire announcements of Erick Erickson joining as chief operating officer and creative veteran Rebecca Williams as vice president, group creative director. Recent leadership promotions include Aisha Bean to chief diversity officer, Celeste Bazán to vice president of people and culture, Cameron Crane to chief growth officer, Joey Furutani to chief of staff, Sandy Song to chief client officer, Brianne Pins to senior vice president of public relations; and Jesse Nicely to senior vice president of cultural strategy.