Hirsch Is CTO at Publicis Kaplan Thaler

Had been Big Spaceship partner

Joshua Hirsch has been named evp, chief technology officer at Publicis Kaplan Thaler, joining the agency from Big Spaceship, where he was partner, minister of technology.

The appointment comes as the Publicis Groupe shop expects to hire a chief digital officer in the fourth quarter. Hirsch and the new CDO will succeed Brian Skahan, most recently CTO of Publicis Kaplan Thaler, who left the agency in May to return to Crispin Porter + Bogusky, Boulder.

Robin Koval, CEO of the agency, said Skahan’s departure presented an opportunity to think more broadly about its approach to digital leadership.

“The role of digital is interwoven in everything we do," she said. "Can you really have just one person and expect that individual to do everything you need to make digital the core? We have Joshua now, who will focus on the technical side, products and in thought leadership. On the other side, how do we create great user experience and strategies that go throughout an integrated solution?”

It’s been a little more than a year since Publicis New York and Kaplan Thaler merged, and digital revenue now accounts for more than 30 percent of the combined entities’ revenue, the agency said.

“A lot of agencies talk about integration—there’s no one or the other when it comes to digital," said Linda Kaplan Thaler, the company's chairman. "This is where agencies are going."

Over the past 18 months, Publicis Kaplan Thaler has won 10 pieces of digital business, including additional work from Procter & Gamble's oral-care brands and Vicks, Nestlé’s Coffee-Mate, Tri-Honda Dealers and healthcare clients including Humira and Shionogi, whose Osphena medication was launched in May.

“Digital is embedded into everything we do, and those creative initiatives have been really important in reinventing brands,” said Rob Feakins, president, CCO at the shop. “With Scope Bacon, we took a tired category focused on functionality and eliminating garlic breath and we made it appealing to Millennials.”

The prank campaign for the phony P&G brand created a stir this spring when it launched just before April Fool’s Day with a Facebook post picturing a bacon-flavored Scope bottle with a headline encouraging consumers to “Indulge your meat tooth.” The post, which included the hashtag #scopebacon, got more than 113,000 shares, with TV spots, additional Facebook posts and enormous media coverage to follow.