Grey Activation/PR Hires 2 New Creative Leads

By Patrick Coffee 

Andreas Dahlqvist, who became CCO at Grey New York last October after a stint as head of global brands at McCann, has made some of the first big staffing changes of his tenure in naming two creative leads to the agency’s fastest-growing division: activation/public relations.

Readers may ask what that division does, but the release tells us that Grey won 25 Lions in 2015 for campaigns that are heavy on the “experiential marketing.”

Now, both Oliver Handlos and Elizabeth Valleau will serve as co-creative directors in the specialty unit. The roles are new.

Handlos joins the New York team from Grey Berlin; he opened the office in 2014 with managing partner Matthias Meusel and served as ECD for just over a year and a half. Previous roles include CD duties with Germany’s Jung von Matt, BBDO and the larger Omnicom organization. For an example of his recent work, check out this German campaign for Lunative in which agency and client brought light to “Europe’s darkest town.

Before joining Grey, Valleau spent a scant three months as ECD at New York’s Trollback + Co., where she led design-based projects for the BBC and the Weather Channel. She previously spent more than two years as CD in R/GA’s experiential division, working on accounts such as Google, Microsoft, Nike and Unilever. She’s also a writer, an entrepreneur, a sometime party attendee and a big fan of artisanal mayonnaise.

Grey calls itself “one of the only marketing communications organizations with a full-service public relations and activation department embedded directly within the agency,” and Dahlqvist clearly wants to expand on this capacity.

He writes:

“These new hires add to our focus on creating action for brands, ensuring our agency model is ahead of the curve. Advertising is increasingly about engagement and some of the most interesting ideas are being created in the Activation & PR space right now. We’ve had great success with campaigns like Canon’s Project Imagination, Guns With History, Volvo Interception and The Dallas Gas Station, to name a few and we’ll continue to elevate our work in this area.”

From Grey Activation & PR CEO Claudia Strauss:

“For years, our group has been pushing the boundaries of what advertising is and Elizabeth and Oliver will help us dream up new ways to put our brands in action.”

So this probably isn’t the PR you’re thinking of.