Riney Adds Mobile Marketing Exec

LOS ANGELES Publicis & Hal Riney beefed up its mobile marketing division by hiring of Dave Whetstone, former chief marketing officer at MobiTV, according to the agency.

“We understand that mobile marketing comes with very specific challenges and opportunities for marketers,” said Karen Francis, CEO of the San Francisco agency, in a statement. “We’re thrilled to have Dave’s expertise and entrepreneurial instinct to help us navigate the nascent landscape.” His title at Riney is vp, director of mobile marketing.

Whetstone, a co-founder and former CMO of Virgin Mobile, was instrumental in starting the Mobile Virtual Operator Network at that company. “There are a lot of opportunities in mobile, and agencies will play a key role in making that happen,” he said. “The agencies have the relationships with the brands, and the brands are the ones who have to buy in.”

Whetstone said that when he was at MobiTV (a provider of live television services for mobile phones offering 20-30 channels of live news, sports and entertainment), brands began approaching the company for ideas on mobile marketing. “There was clear demand,” he said, “and it was a sign that brands were looking at it as a serious platform. The more innovative brands were asking us how they could get in early.”

Hal Riney was the logical choice for Whetstone, he said, because he had worked with people at that agency on Virgin Mobile and the agency had Sprint as a client from its launch. “The agency has a deep background in the wireless industry,” Whetstone said. “They have a growing customer base. Clients like AAA, for example, have vast potential.”

Whetstone reports to Riney’s managing director Jamie King and expects to be adding staff with wireless experience soon.