Earlier this week, Chuck Porter started a few conversations with an intentionally provocative speech about how the public relations industry has somehow defeated advertising in a communications cage match to the death.
He was talking about client work, but he may have been onto something on the staffing side as well: today the San Francisco office of the world’s largest PR firm announced the hiring of two ad agency veterans to lead its content practice. Ellie Hardy is now SVP of production and Nam Nguyen is VP of creative content at Edelman San Francisco.
Hardy joins Edelman from Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, where she was a director of interactive production and an associate partner. She got the promotion in 2013 after joining the agency in 2007 and working on campaigns for such clients as Comcast, Adobe, Cisco and Doritos. Hardy started her career as a broadcast journalist and then worked on the client side in production for Sephora and Walmart before moving into the agency world.
Nguyen most recently served as VP of marketing at Narrative, the “story-driven creative and technology agency” founded by one Russell Simmons and his partner Tricia Clarke-Stone. Nguyen also spent time at Goodby, holding the “Cultural Ethnographer” and “Cultural Strategy Lead” titles (no job descriptions available at this time) and earning the 2010 Employee of the Year designation. He also founded 360i’s content studio and served as its creative director from 2011 to 2013, during which time he made content for Coca-Cola, Oscar Meyer and, of course, Oreo.
Edelman West ECD Tom Parker, who was previously with OgilvyOne and Yahoo!, has some interesting quotes about the hires. On Hardy, he says, “We joke that her title at GSP was ‘EBB: Everything But Broadcast,’ which is exactly what Edelman is becoming.”
Interestingly, Edelman positions itself as an agency competitor in the announcement, which begins with “The team behind the creative for Adobe’s #PsMystery just announced the hiring of two more creative experts to its growing practice.”
We won’t call this a trend, but DDB New York made some waves in February when it announced a new string of executive hires, one of which was a former VP/creative director at Edelman who is now a group creative director.
Edelman San Francisco General Manager Wayne Hickey explains:
“We’re building something unique here…Driving conversations that resonate requires a new set of skills and a team that can think across social, earned and experiential. We have makers and researchers and strategic planners, and a group of people like Nam and Ellie who help bring all of this talent together for our clients in incredible ways.”
Hardy says she joined Edelman because it is “forging a path forward for the agency and its clients to succeed in this new age of communications marketing” while Parker adds, “There’s no template for the kind of work we’re doing.”
So what kind of work are they doing?