Elasticity Snags Fleishman-Hillard Digital Head

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Digital agency Elasticity added two executives this week. Notably, Andy Barnett, previously Digital Global Practice Lead for Fleishman-Hillard joined as director of digital strategy.

Christine Ryder, formerly of iVillage and AOL joined as director of conversation development.

Elasticity already employs a number of ex-Fleishman executives, including Brian Cross, former Director of the Digital Group in Saint Louis, and former VPs Dan Callahan and Aaron Perlut.

The agency’s clients include Monsanto, Capital One and Anheuser-Busch. One may also know the agency as the guys behind the American Mustache Institute. Read their tongue-in-cheek press release, complete with a plethora of social media jargon, after the jump.

Social Media Leaders & Slackers Alike Stunned As Elasticity Hires Woman, Non-Mustached Guy

Christine Ryder & Andy Barnett Bring Further Expertise in SEO and Digital Marketing to Growing Online Segment of Users Who Aren’t Guys

Interviews Held in Dark Room Apparently Didn’t Tip Off New Hires

St. Louis (March 17, 2010) – Elasticity, a leading digital word-of-mouth marketing agency focusing on the triangulation of social media, blogger outreach, and traditional media relations, stunned its heavily mustached, bacon-loving social media following today by announcing two new hires. Joining the firm are:

St. Louis-native Christine Schmidt Ryder, who formerly served in partnership development and digital marketing roles with iVillage and AOL in Chicago, who brings an expertise in marketing to women at a time when 80 percent of the leading online communities are predominately comprised of female users, and 80 percent of household spending is controlled by women. Ryder also enjoys long walks on the beach, L.L. Cool Jay’s “Bigger & Deffer” album, and thick-cut pepper bacon.

Andy Barnett, who is unable to naturally manufacture facial hair, formerly served as the Digital Global Practice Lead for Fleishman-Hillard in its corporate headquarters in St. Louis. He adds deep expertise in digital and social media strategy, online research, and search engine marketing (SEO/SEM) capabilities at a time when web search has become essential for companies interested in better-managing their online brand image. Barnett also enjoys wearing thick brown belts (even with sweatpants), fruit-accented microbrew beer, Norwegian death metal music, and runs a wombat rescue shelter in his spare time.

“These dynamic additions bring strategic capabilities to our already robust team of remarkably productive leading-edge and award-winning professionals,” said Brian Cross, managing partner and director of rocket science of Elasticity. “They will be instrumental in ensuring our unparalleled industry leadership as we provide key synergies to our clients in developing the turn-key solutions that Elasticity provides.”

Cross then added, “I got synergies and award-winning in there, right?”

“We needed some people without mustaches and they were the best we could find,” said Aaron Perlut, managing partner and chief nuclear mustache grooming specialist of Elasticity. “They bring a fresh perspective to our work, because let’s face it, Burt Reynolds just turned 74 and Billy Dee Williams is on his last, Colt-45 loving leg.”

The sweeping announcement stunned leaders and slackers alike in the social media community.

“I have no idea who those guys are at Elasticity, but really, best of luck to them,” said Chris Brogan, president of New Marketing Labs, an 11-year social media veteran and co-author of the New York Times best selling book Trust Agents. “I really just wish they’d ease up in letting me know about what they are doing all the time.”

Jason Falls, principal of Social Media Explorer LLC and a nationally-recognized expert on public relations, social media and online communications, also struggled to capture his thoughts on the matter.

“I met the Elasticity guys once at South By Southwest,” he said. “I left my iPhone in the bathroom and one of them spilled a beer on it. I’m not quite sure whey the hell they’d want to quote me in a news release but good for them, I guess.”

Brian Solis, globally recognized as one of most prominent thought leaders and published authors in new media, felt the new hires put Elasticity on solid footing.

“Uh huh, yeah sure,” he said. “Does anyone even put out press releases anymore? I haven’t seen one in so long that I forgot what they looked like.”

The greatest criticism, however, came from Elasticity follower @DrAbeFroman who expressed dumbfounded frustration in a Twitter post.

“Seriously dudes. What the hell? A chick? A bare-lipped mortal? Why not just hire Richard Simmons?”

Founded January 1, 2009, and based in the home of the world’s largest mustache – St. Louis and its Gateway Arch – Elasticity provides communications strategies that straddle the realms of new and traditional media, often using humor-based themes, working with companies that include Monsanto, Capital One, Anheuser-Busch, Toro, Stifel Nicolaus, Lanworth, SFP, Stout, the American Mustache Institute, and the United Karate Kid Haircut Association.