In case you missed it, the last few months have brought quite a few changes at Engine, formerly known as Engine Group, formerly known as a network of agencies including Deep Focus, Engine Media, ORC International, Trailer Park and U.K.-based WCRS.
The most visible such move was the appointment of Kasha Cacy, former U.S. CEO of IPG media network UM, as global CEO last August, along with that October’s hire of R/GA’s Jim Moffatt to serve as CEO in Europe and Asia. Earlier this month Engine also announced that Keith Grossman, chief revenue officer at Bloomberg, would be joining her in the chief operating officer role.
Yesterday also brought news that Robin Wight, co-creator of Engine who started WCRS in London 40 years ago, would be retiring from the marketing field.
But there have also been other moves as the organizations within Engine become one. We talked to Cacy for more.
The first big change came way back in December 2017, when Deep Focus founder Ian Schaefer left the chief experience officer role at Engine Group after 6 months. At the time he told us he was exiting the agency world altogether, and he later became CMO of headphone company Muzik before launching an events and influencer shop called Kindred. Exactly one year ago, CEO Ken Kraemer followed him in stepping down from Deep Focus.
Then things really started happening. In July 2018, Engine Group officially became Engine and absorbed all the aforementioned networks with Rick Eiserman, formerly of Trailer Park, as U.S. CEO.
“We had already consolidated all brands in the U.K. in 2018 under three pillars and eliminated most of the agency brand names,” Cacy said. Those pillars are creative and experience design, led by former WCRS CEO Matt Edwards; consulting and data analytics, led by Emma Robertson of consultancy Transform U.K; and PR led by MHP Communications CEO Alex Bigg.
Cacy also noted that Wight announced his retirement at a 40th anniversary party yesterday. For years, he had essentially been serving as a chairman with a less prominent role in day to day operations.
“He will always be a friend of the agency and a titan of the industry,” Cacy said. “I’m nothing but thankful for way he supported me and Jim.”
Other changes have come to Trailer Park. In January, Eiserman—who has also held top management roles at Y&R and Wunderman—moved back to the production company in the CEO role. 180LA veteran William Gelner, who joined the company as its first CCO around the same time Cacy came aboard, made the opposite move and now serves as chief creative officer at Engine. And Trailer Park CEO Zilha Salinas, veteran of MDC Partners’ Doner, similarly moved to Engine to oversee its content division.
“This was us aligning people against opportunity,” Cacy said, and Engine is positioning Trailer Park to make the most of an “explosion of content” in the entertainment space. “At same time,” she said, the group wants the Engine team led by Gelner and Salinas to “offer a new model to brands who are looking to think about content in a different way.”
“What became clear as I came in was that having those two capabilities together was not an optimal way to go after those opportunities,” she added.
To summarize, Trailer Park—which is one of the few Engine properties that will retain its name—is best known for making literal trailers. And, as Cacy put it, “all the streaming and OTT services need trailers, key art, and all the same services the movie companies need.” So Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Apple, etc. will provide more opportunities for a Trailer Park focused specifically on serving them rather than doubling as a brand marketing agency.
Engine’s creative team, meanwhile, will have the support of its media buying and research divisions. Their chief competitors will be agencies like VaynerMedia and its smaller rivals whose work is primarily digital with a heavy focus on social media.
Finally, Cacy reassured us that Trailer Park will remain part of the Engine organization with its name and separate mission intact. While acknowledging that unnamed parties have expressed interested in buying the division outright, she said that option is “not on the table now.”