Edelman Digital Swipes Senior Creatives from Deutsch and MRY

By Patrick Coffee 

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Back in October, the digital unit of the world’s biggest communications firm made some small waves in the ad industry by hiring two veterans of more “traditional” agencies to bulk up its production department right after Chuck Porter made a quip about PR winning the “battle” against creative.

Now, Edelman Digital has moved even further into ad agency turf by poaching two senior creatives to work on accounts at its New York headquarters.


Jeremy Bernstein (formerly EVP/GCD at Deutsch New York) and Leo Leone (who just stepped down as ECD at Publicis’ MRY) will be joining Edelman as executive creative directors. Leone will also carry the SVP title while Bernstein will be EVP.

Leone, who most recently drove the Adobe account at MRY, will lead Edelman Creative and a team of fifteen on the Samsung business. More specifically, his squad will focus on social media and content creation for the client’s mobile, electronics, TV, digital imaging, “sPay” and home appliance divisions. The release praises Leone’s experience working on “earn-centric and purpose driven work” (read: campaigns without media buys) and notes the awards his work has won from the Clios, Cannes, the One Show and Mashable, among others.

Bernstein spent nearly 15 years in various roles at Deutsch’s New York office, where he started as director of information architecture before becoming a group creative director; he was subsequently promoted to SVP and EVP.

In his new role, he will manage creative on several Edelman accounts including GE, and the teams he oversees will include UX, Experience Design, Social and Interactive. This role marks a natural extension of his responsibilities as Deutsch, where he focused on integrated campaigns for clients like Samsung, Sherwin Williams and PNC Bank. The release specifically mentions his work leading the team that created a literal gingerbread bank branch for PNC back in December.

As for the larger significance of this announcement, we know that Edelman has already been pitching against creative agencies for new business. Expect that trend to continue.