Tuesday, October 17, 2017

People on the Move

  • Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017
Shanah Blevins named Honor Society's West Coast EP
Shanah Blevins

Honor Society, a bicoastal production company headed by managing director/executive producer Megan Kelly, has added Shanah Blevins as exec producer of its Los Angeles office. Blevins will be the first L.A. EP for the production company since launching in December 2015, expanding its West Coast presence and rounding out the company’s fully women-led team. She has nearly two decades of experience as a producer, spanning commercial, music video, TV and film projects. With a hands-on approach while on set, Blevins has produced campaigns for such clients as Honda, Sprint, Verizon, Burger King, Toyota, Nike, Ad Council, McDonald’s, Google and HP. She has also collaborated with production companies including Chelsea Pictures, Moxie Pictures, 1stAveMachine, PRETTYBIRD and Elastic. Having shot in nearly every state and on six of the seven continents,

Oklahoma-born Blevins made her way out to Los Angeles at the ripe age of 19 and after college quickly rolled up her sleeves in the world of music videos. She landed a gig at Palomar Pictures, where she quickly climbed her way up from production assistant to producer, working on videos for such iconic artists as Michael Jackson, Prince, Green Day and Neil Young. She then transitioned to the commercial side of production branching out as a freelance producer. Her frequent repeat collaborations with top directorial talent on commercial productions have led to a wide range of feature film, documentary and TV projects that have further immersed Blevins into the Los Angeles filmmaking landscape.

  • Monday, Oct. 16, 2017
VML’s Trio of Creative Hires: Lafranz, Altis, Costa
Lauren Lafranz

VML has made three key creative hires: Lauren Lafranz as managing director, global creative operations, based in NY; David Altis as executive creative director who will be in the agency’s Kansas City, Mo. headquarters; and Mariana Costa as group creative director in Chicago.

Lafranz will report to Debbi Vandeven, global CCO. In the newly created role of managing director, global creative operations, Lafranz will be responsible for implementing Vandeven’s vision, helping manage VML’s award-winning creative offices worldwide, formalizing the global creative network and being a resource consultant to activate appropriate skill sets for clients. She will also expand creative standards and manage global awards planning.

Lafranz brings more than 15 years of experience, with the majority of her career spent with J. Walter Thompson Worldwide — the past 10 of which concentrated on the creative content side. In her previous position as chief creative content officer, she was directly responsible for managing JWT’s creative program and global creative initiatives. In addition to overseeing programming, she allocated creative resources, tailored showcases for recruitment and retention, and advised on content for award show opportunities. Prior to that, Lafranz held roles in both account management and project management, working on brands such as Rolex, JetBlue and Domino’s.

Lafranz will also act as director of VML’s global creative council, where she will guide creative teams through the process of producing enhanced creative and manage performance of each office in the VML network. She will also hold the title of creative curator, ensuring the highest quality work is cultivated and advanced for VML’s clients. Additionally, Lafranz will recommend talent for specific assignments across global brands.

David Altis
VML rehired Altis as ECD. He originally joined VML in September 2004, leaving in August 2014 to serve as ECD at a local boutique advertising agency.
Altis has worked on a client roster that includes Kellogg, Hill’s Pet Nutrition, SAP, Waste Management, multiple Blue Cross and Blue Shield organizations, H&R Block, Colgate-Palmolive, Tom’s of Maine and the San Diego Zoo.
His experience with digital transformations and advertising spans more than 22 years. He was formally educated in traditional illustration and worked as a successful illustrator for several years before shifting his focus to digital.
Altis has applied his experience across diverse client verticals to help create meaningful consumer engagement ecosystems--striving to connect people to brands by employing insights-driven digital, traditional and broadcast strategies.
His digital and interactive background includes extensive enterprise-level websites, marketing micro sites and consumer social media engagements.
Altis reports to John Godsey, VML’s CCO, North America.
Mariana Costa 
VML’s new group CD Costa has nearly 20 years of experience in the advertising industry, including 12 years in New York working at McCann and DDB on brands such as Georgia-Pacific, Unilever, Johnson & Johnson, Verizon and Reebok. She began her career at BBDO Chicago.
At VML, Costa will be part of the Kimberly-Clark team, where she will manage creative delivery for Family Care brands.
Costa reports to Sean Burns, executive creative director.

  • Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017
Keith Butters named global CTO at KBS
Keith Butters

KBS has appointed Keith Butters as its global chief technology officer. Butters, who is best known for having co-founded The Barbarian Group, will be responsible for the integration of KBS’ deep technical capabilities within the agency’s creative product, which spans the gamut from fully integrated campaigns to technology innovation to major platform builds.
KBS maintains an in-house team of developers, product experts and engineers, who build platforms and digital experiences for clients including BMW, Windstream, Stanley Black & Decker, and Hershey.
“The tech and innovation part of KBS globally is substantial and growing fast. We’re delighted to have a leader of Keith’s talent, substance and humanity to help drive the whole agency forward,” said KBS global CEO Guy Hayward. “We now have a leadership team with enormous creative credentials and a proven ability to build agencies.”
Global chief creative officer Patrick Scissons echoed Hayward’s sentiments saying, “As innovation and tech continue to become more and more important across our global network--from our office in London which was awarded an Innovation Lion at Cannes to New York where we have had many creative opportunities for clients like eSight and Answer ALS--the goal is to bring together storytelling and technology in a way that feels fresh and emotive. Keith’s addition to the KBS Global Creative Council will help us to accomplish that.”
During his time at The Barbarian Group, Butters worked with clients including Volkswagen, PepsiCo, Burger King, Kashi and Nike. He specializes in applying design thinking to technology, digital media and marketing. He has also played an instrumental role in the creation and growth of the creative coding library Cinder, which was awarded the first ever Cannes Lions Innovation Grand Prix.
On joining KBS, Butters said, “I chose KBS because of their amazing leadership team, the existing creative and technical capabilities of the business, their appetite for both traditional and non-traditional work, and their enormous potential energy to do great work across multiple mediums.”

  • Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017
Jen Cadic promoted to head of production at Flight School
Jen Cadic

New media creative studio Flight School has promoted Jen Cadic to head of production. Cadic has a decade of experience in postproduction, producing a wide range of commercial, web content, film, TV and music video projects for industry companies including Charlex, Nice Shoes, Psyop and Reel FX. She joined the Dallas-based Flight School as a producer upon its launch in January 2017 and steps up as the studio’s first head of production to address the rapid growth of original IP and client projects, including the recent launch of its debut original VR experience, Manifest 99, which recently earned accolades at the Future of Storytelling and Raindance Film Festival. 

Recent projects out of Flight School include an augmented reality (AR) experience for the launch of Michael Jackson’s new “Scream” album and a dynamic air tennis experience for American Express at the 2017 U.S. Open. The Air Tennis experience used a combination of custom-built and responsive technologies, including air haptics and an ultra-sensitive motion capture system, to create an interactive live gaming experience.

Notes Flight School Executive Producer Taylor Williams, “Jen has been instrumental in laying the foundations for Flight School since day one.  Her history of exploring new mediums and tackling never-been-done-before projects for a broad range of clients including film studios, agencies and tech partners, not to mention our own IP, has given her a uniquely multifaceted perspective on what it takes to get jobs done in this constantly evolving landscape.”

New Jersey-native Cadic studied film and television before making her way to NYC, landing her first professional gig at Charlex, where she quickly learned the commercial production space with a hands-on approach. She moved on to Nice Shoes, where she produced a wide range of top-tier projects with major celebrity talent including projects with Lady Gaga and Beyonce as well as Kanye West’s short film “Cruel Summer” that launched during the Cannes Film Festival. After two years, she joined Psyop as a producer, leading design and CG-driven work for longtime client British Gas as well as a rebrand campaign for Mucinex featuring the newly designed Mr. Mucus character. To expand her expertise beyond commercials and get into the studio, entertainment and new media space, she made the move to Dallas to join Reel FX. There, she worked on a wide range of projects, including major VR experiences for studios such as Lionsgate and Paramount. Upon Flight School’s inception, Cadic then made the transition to working with the talent that joined Reel FX to form Flight School.

  • Monday, Oct. 9, 2017
Translation hires John Fulbrook as group creative director, design
John Fulbrook

John Fulbrook has joined Translation LLC as group creative director, design.  

Fulbrook, who was most recently group creative director, SVP at The Martin Agency, will be charged with leading and growing Translation’s design team and helping bring his innovative design thinking to the agency’s current and future partners. Fulbrook will be reporting to chief creative officer John Norman. 

"Branding is all about design--John approaches a design problem from a storytelling, cultural and technology pov,” said Norman.  “His design thinking translates the visceral experience into a consumer experience. John will be a tremendous asset for bringing Translation’s ethos to this discipline.”

“Translation sits at the juxtaposition of culture and storytelling,” said Fulbrook. “The idea of marrying culture, storytelling and then design seemed like an incredibly powerful place to be playing.” 

Fulbrook got his start in design as sr. art director for book publisher Simon & Schuster and was creative director for Collins from 2008-2010. In addition, Fulbrook served as professor at the School of Visual Arts from 2004-2016. 

  • Friday, Oct. 6, 2017
Johnathan Brownlee named exec director of Dallas International Film Festival
Johnathan Brownlee

Johnathan Brownlee has been appointed CEO and president of the Dallas Film Society and executive director of the Dallas International Film Festival (DIFF).
A transplant from Canada, Brownlee is an award-winning Canadian/American entertainment veteran with a diverse international body of work, spanning more than 20 years.  Three of Brownlee’s feature films, “Occupy, Texas,” “Three Days in August” and “Decoding Annie Parker,” have screened at DIFF. Brownlee created DIFF’s first screenwriting competition whose winner, “Three Days in August,” was produced in Texas, premiered at DIFF and was released nationwide at Studio Movie Grill.
“I’m extremely honored to lead DFS and looking forward to growing our education and community initiatives and leading DIFF’s transformation into a festival that reflects the incredible diversity of Dallas Fort Worth and the ever-changing landscape of entertainment,” said Brownlee, “There is nothing like watching a film in the theater, but we are also fortunate to be living in a time when television, streaming content and virtual reality are leaders in creative storytelling and our mandate at DFS is to present all of these experiences to our audience.”
Brownlee’s career highlights the symbiotic relationship among entertainment, art and commerce as he has created television series sponsored by Home Depot, HSBC, Ford, British Airways and Club Corp, to name a few. He has also produced content for The Salvation Army, Amnesty International, World Wildlife Fund, Toronto Humane Society, and KIPP Schools to support their fundraising campaigns. Brownlee has taught both creative and “the business of the business” workshops at Harvard, MIT, Vancouver Film School, LA Film School, Brandeis University, and Booker T. Washington High School for the Arts, and served as the LA representative for the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television.

  • Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017
Craft promotes Shay Fu to managing director across its North American studios
Shay Fu

Craft, a global marketing production and adaptation agency and a division of McCann Worldgroup, has promoted Shay Fu to managing director of Craft North America. Shay will continue to report to Craig Smith, Craft’s chief information and operations officer.
Fu joined Craft in 2013 as EVP/head of integrated operations, Craft New York, successfully growing the NY studio operations across all disciplines and building its digital production capabilities. Most recently, Fu extended her role to oversee production operations in the U.S. and Canada as head of studio operations across Craft’s North America network. 
In her new role as managing director, Craft North America, Fu will retain responsibility for studio operations. Fu will also work under the strategic direction of Craft’s chief client officer, Simon Sikorski, and McCann Worldgroup’s North American leadership to nurture and grow all aspects of clients’ integrated production needs. She will build upon relationships with Craft’s regional and global clients such as Microsoft, L’Oréal and Coca-Cola.
“Under Shay’s leadership and direction, studio performance in North America has improved dramatically,” said Smith. “Her extensive experience in delivering production solutions together with her ability to build strong relationships with our key clients makes her perfectly suited to this key role within Craft.”

  • Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2017
Director Adam Bonke, sr. editor Paul Bastin join Alkemy X
Adam Bonke

Creative content company Alkemy X has expanded its talent roster with the addition of director Adam Bonke and sr. editor Paul Bastin. A previous winner of the Young Director Award at Cannes, Copenhagen-based Bonke has worked with such brands as Comcast, Coca-Cola, Nike, Red Cross, and Doctors Without Borders. Bastin brings 20+ years of experience in the postproduction industry, having worked as an in-house editor and motion graphics animator at such shops as R/GA, Ogilvy and Mather, and RadicalMedia.

Bonke’s career began in London’s Soho, where he delved into editing and compositing at postproduction company Locomotion, and later at Capital FX (now Deluxe), before finding his calling as a director. Citing youthful exuberance, he returned to his hometown of Copenhagen and unabashedly informed two producer friends at production company Nobody Cph that he wanted to direct. They eventually gave him the chance with “Interruption,” an evocative commercial for Doctors Without Borders, which ultimately garnered Bonke the 2010 Young Director Award at Cannes and launched his career. 

Since then, Bonke has directed more than 80 commercials in 18 countries, including work for Gore-tex, Sony Ericsson, Havas, and Carrefour. In addition, he has directed music videos for various artists; the popular documentary series, “Find Amdi,” for Danish national TV; as well as creating, co-writing and directing a full season of the critically acclaimed Danish TV series “Fetter.”  Music also plays a starring role in his process; he often collaborates with his brother to compose soundtracks for his brand-based work.

Bastin was most recently lead sr. editor at digital agency R/GA, where he developed workflows throughout the facility, maintaining quality control implementations across all edit stations, and collaborated with the creative, production and IT teams on projects, infrastructure, and global connectivity solutions. Prior to that, he was sr. editor and motion graphics animator and designer at RadicalMedia, lending his talents to projects for such clients as Grey Goose, NFL Network, Tommy Hilfiger, Versus, and NASA.

Bastin got his start in the postproduction industry more than 20 years ago as an assistant editor at New York-based postproduction facility Post Perfect. After several months spent traveling across the US, he returned to NYC where he worked as an editor at ad agency Ogilvy and Mather.

  • Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2017
AKA NYC hires Blackman as SVP of creative strategy & experiential design
Amanda LaFollette Blackman

Entertainment marketing agency AKA NYC has appointed Amanda LaFollette Blackman to the newly created post of sr. VP of creative strategy and experiential design. Blackman will head the agency’s experiential offering as its creative lead, developing and overseeing the execution of experiential opportunities and initiatives for AKA’s theatrical and destination clients. She will also collaborate with other agency departments in driving integrated, idea-led thinking company-wide.

Blackman comes to AKA from brand experience agency FreemanXP where she was VP, Group Creative Director. Prior to which she spent 11 years at Jack Morton Worldwide, a leading experiential agency, working with clients including American Airlines, Procter & Gamble, MTV, Walmart and Microsoft. She earned an MFA from the Yale School of Drama.

“Since our inception, AKA has forged the way in introducing new approaches and service offerings to the theatrical advertising space,” said AKA managing partner Elizabeth Furze. “With the diminished impact of interruptive advertising in today’s consumer-controlled economy, experiential initiatives have become essential to effective, integrated campaigns. We are delighted to welcome Amanda’s talent and unique experience to drive AKA’s experiential offering forward. She brings a wonderful pedigree in experiential marketing, exceptional insight into the culture of entertainment, and a talent for thinking big.”

Blackman joins the senior team including managing partners Furze and Scott Moore, executive creative director Bashan Aquart, VP/digital Sarah Borenstein, VP/insights and marketing Janette Roush, director of client services Elizabeth Findlay, director of agency partnerships Elyce Henkin, director of account strategy Melissa Marano, director of production services Billy Mitchell, content director Jamaal Parham, director of media Joshua Poole and director of finance Ricardo Whitely.

  • Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2017
Sean Lackey named chief growth officer at McCann North America
Sean Lackey

Sean Lackey has joined McCann North America as chief growth officer, a new regional position.
Lackey most recently was head of business development at Droga5 where he was key to driving significant growth across new clients and capabilities resulting in $120MM+ in new business revenue over the last four years. Prior to joining Droga5 in 2013, he held both business development and client management roles on a wide variety of accounts at BBDO for five years. He had also previously worked in account management at Interpublic Group’s Gotham, Inc. 
“Sean has an infectious energy and a great track record of attracting clients and delivering business growth,” said Chris Macdonald, president of McCann Worldgroup North America. “We are delighted that he is joining us as we further develop our North American network and offerings for clients.”
“I have always believed that creativity is a business driver for our client partners,” said Lackey. “The McCann agencies across the region and beyond are unified by this purpose, delivering at the top of their game both creatively and strategically.”
Creatively, McCann North America this year repeated for the second straight year as the most awarded North American agency at the Cannes Lions festival. while McCann New York also moved up 12 spots to become the No. 1 agency at the 2017 North American Effies. McCann was named North America’s “Regional Agency of the Year” at the New York Festivals International Advertising Awards, and McCann New York this year was named “Agency of the Year” at multiple awards shows, including the Clios, the One Show, the ANDYs, and the ADC (Art Directors Club). At the same time, McCann over the last few years has added major client assignments in North America, including from HomeGoods, MGM Resorts, Bombardier, Verizon, Reckitt Benckiser, Coca-Cola, Mastercard, and Chevrolet.