• Monday, Mar. 8, 2021
VB+P's in-house Lumberyard unit hires Veronica Seder as creative production lead
Veronica Seder
SAN FRANCISCO -- 

Lumberyard Productions, the in-house production unit of independent agency Venables Bell + Partners, has hired Veronica Seder as creative production lead. In this role, Seder will partner with head of integrated content studios Raquel Bedard and creative director Tyler Hampton to enhance Lumberyard’s production capabilities, spearhead creative efforts, and drive new business opportunities. Seder will also be instrumental in leading production assignments for clients including Audi, Chipotle, 3M, Reebok, LitQuake and AdTechCares. Seder joins the team as Lumberyard has taken on several new projects with both VB+P and non-agency clients, and expanded its capabilities to include music composition and sound design.

“We’re extremely fortunate to have grown our business and expanded our offering in a year that has been so challenging for the industry as a whole,” said Bedard. “We’ve taken on a range of new assignments with marketers of all sizes looking for agile production solutions that meet their current business needs, fulfill health safety requirements, and deliver exceptional creative products. Veronica has an amazing mix of both business and creative expertise, and she is sure to help us build continued momentum and create great work ahead.” 
 
Seder brings a broad range of skills and experience to her new post, spanning brand and creative development, production, and directing. Before joining Lumberyard, she worked independently, creating, producing and directing a wide range of content for brands including Outside Magazine, Google, Merrell, Shopify and Land Rover. She also worked client-side, as head of content, brand marketing for direct-to-consumer apparel and home goods company Huckberry where she led the company’s creative content team, produced marketing and editorial content geared towards driving sales and brand loyalty, and created educational and inspirational resources for its brand community. 
 
Earlier in her career, Seder worked in the TV industry, most recently as an independent producer and writer providing strategic content development and creative services to TV production companies and advertising agencies. She also managed TV series development and production in-house at Hoff Productions and Discovery Channel. 

  • Monday, Mar. 8, 2021
Matt Hofherr joins barrettSF as partner/president
Jamie Barrett (l) and Matt Hofherr
SAN FRANCISCO -- 

In a major shift in the West Coast agency scene, Matt Hofherr is joining barrettSF as partner/president. 

Hofherr left M/H VCCP (formerly MUH-TAY-ZIK / HOF-FER), the award-winning agency he co-founded, and served as chief strategy officer, to take the new role.

“It’s a great new chapter for us,” barrett SF founder/executive creative director Jamie Barrett said of the hire. “Matt is a proven leader and an incredible advertising mind. He’s also a great friend and someone whose work I’ve admired for many years. The whole agency is excited, and I can’t wait to see what we can all create together.”

Even before joining M/H in 2010, Hofherr played a leading role with seven different agencies, four of which—TBWA\Chiat\Day, BBDO, FCB, and Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal + Partners—were named “Agency of the Year” while he worked there. 

Hofherr’s brand experience ranges from Apple to Zurich Direct--with Audi, Bed Bath & Beyond, Clorox, Fox Sports, Google, Hulu, Intel, Keds, Method Home, Nestlé, O Organics, Rock the Vote, Sonos, Sony PlayStation, Pennzoil, Tropicana, Webex and many others from various product categories in between.

“This is the most excited I’ve been about any opportunity in my whole career,” said Hofherr. “And that’s saying a lot, because I’ve been fortunate to work at some crazy-good agencies. Yet, barrettSF has a quality about it. I felt it from the start. Really talented people who like, respect and support each other. They bring energy and empathy to the work that is infectious. Add it all up and I believe we’re going to create the next unstoppable agency.”

Barrett opened his independent creative shop in 2012, and bSF has grown its business steadily each year. The award-winning shop’s clients include Sutter Health, ASICS, Cost Plus World Market, 2K Games, Chime, Walmart, and the Oakland A’s, and it has just signed two new clients to be announced this coming month.

  • Monday, Mar. 8, 2021
Tynesha Williams joins 3AM as ECD
Tynesha Williams
LOS ANGELES -- 

Creative studio 3AM, a division of entertainment marketing agency Wild Card Creative Group, has recruited former Cashmere Agency VP/group creative director Tynesha Williams as executive creative director. 

“Tynesha is a daring creative and problem solver with a history of creating culture-shifting work,” said Tara DeVeaux, managing director, 3AM. “She not only builds creative departments with that same mix of fearlessness, but also consistently builds strong creatives. We have long been a fan of hers, specifically her iconic social campaigns, a discipline we officially merged into 3AM this year.”

Williams has a strong background in brand and entertainment marketing. With the L.A.-based agency Cashmere, Williams led creative teams on entertainment and brand accounts, creating award-winning, attention grabbing social and 360 campaigns for Amazon, Google, Facebook, Netflix, HBO, Starz, TNT, FX, Freeform, Universal, Paramount, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Chevy, MINI, Doritos and adidas, among others. At 3AM she will be tasked with integrating Wild Card Creative Group’s social team into 3AM, expanding the creative department, nurturing creative leaders and teams, and growing the brand business.

Williams said of her new roost, “They have a great reputation in the industry for creating amazing campaigns for entertainment properties and brands, and for being home to some of the brightest minds in the business. I’m hoping to extend their super high standards into new services and clients. I’ve always had a lot of success collaborating with female leaders. When we lead the way, women have a way of empowering, teaching and growing.”

DeVeaux along with Wild Card CEO Alison Temple, COO Onna Mahoney, director of social Noelle Neis, SVP editorial producer Felicia Sandoval and now Williams, constitute a formidable female leadership team at the Wild Card Creative Group. 

Williams skill set extends beyond the advertising space, and includes directing, screenwriting and a one night only, stand-up comedy career. Although her standup gig was short-lived, Williams still maintains a strong sense of humor. “Hey I’m a girl from Detroit,” said Williams. “Everybody’s funny in Detroit. After all, this is where they filmed the romantic comedy 8 Mile.” 

3AM’s recent work includes “Embrace the Grind,” an integrated campaign for the adidas x Ninja collaboration that included a Twitch activation with Influencers JuJu Smith-Schuster of the Steelers and rapper Pusha T, as well as high profile campaigns for Hulu’s “Helstrom” and Season 3 of “The Handmaid’s Tale.” For Warner Bros. and Legendary Entertainment’s upcoming feature Dune, 3AM helped launch a Twitter activation with Stephen Colbert, and for Universal Pictures’ Freaky with Vince Vaughn and Kathryn Newton the agency executed the social campaign. 3AM also created “You Will See Me,” a well received PSA campaign in partnership with the Ad Council and CDC. The campaign features prominent Black celebrities inspiring and empowering Black Americans whose communities have been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus to wear face masks.

  • Friday, Mar. 5, 2021
Digitas UK appoints Charlene Charity as head of strategy
Charlene Charity
LONDON -- 

Charlene Charity has been named head of strategy at Digitas UK. 

She takes up her new role this month, with a brief to lead Digitas’ strategy team and develop the agency’s customer engagement strategy offering, working in partnership with Marius Bartsch, head of customer engagement. She reports to Matt Holt, chief strategy officer at Digitas.

Charity’s most recent role was as co-founder of The Diversity Partnership, a diversity and inclusion consultancy. Prior to that, Charity spent almost four years at Amazon, where she was head of brand marketing/live sports marketing. During her time there, Charity launched Amazon Prime Video’s Premier League football coverage and the hit titles Jack Ryan and The Marvelous Mrs Maisel. She also led the brand positioning and above-the-line development of Amazon Prime Video in Europe, which included the “Great shows stay with you” campaign.

Charity joined Amazon from BT, where for over eight years she worked as head of retention and head of customer marketing. Her agency experience includes roles at Wunderman, Exposure and Publicis Mojo.

Charity said, “After 13 years of experience client-side, I’m excited to be returning to the agency world. Digitas’ unique capabilities, commitment to delivering innovative customer engagement activity, and talented team are hugely inspiring and really appealing to me. I also had the honor of having Digitas as my lead agency whilst working client-side, so it’s really exciting to be helping lead the agency at the next stage of their journey. I’m looking forward to sharing my client-side and DEI experience whilst delivering great work for our clients and their customers.”

  • Thursday, Mar. 4, 2021
VMLY&R ups Lisa Bridgers to chief people officer, North America
Lisa Bridgers
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- 

VMLY&R has promoted Lisa Bridgers to chief people officer in North America. Bridgers will oversee progressive human resources practices centered on a “people first” philosophy, inclusive management, forward-thinking corporate practices, and support ongoing commitments for diversity, equity and inclusion. In this role, Bridgers will work closely with leaders across the agency’s 18 North American offices. Bridgers will continue to report to global chief people officer, Ronnie Felder.

With strong growth across North America in 2020 VMLY&R added around 400 full time new employees to the agency, with over a third of new hires identifying as BIPOC. Bridgers and VMLY&R will continue to build momentum in the region following a streak of recent new business wins including Sam’s Club AOR.

The employee experience team has seen further momentum in 2021, with the agency receiving a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index, the nation’s foremost benchmarking survey and report measuring corporate policies and practices related to LGBTQ workplace equality.

VMLY&R also implemented many new employee programs in 2020 such as:

  • FLEX: a program encouraging staff to schedule time away from their screens & meeting free time zones. 
  • A recommitment to mental health and parental and caregiver programming.
  • Additional Employee Resource Groups (ERGs): employee-led and company-funded social, cultural, and minority groups that help our employees advocate for important causes, embrace differences, and foster an environment that enables employees to bring their whole selves to work.
  • NeXus: a modified version of the agency’s successful internship program. Virtual masterclass including regular seminars and matching participants with agency mentors. 

Bridgers’s HR function partners with The VMLY&R Foundation, an integral part of the agency’s DNA since day one. Through the VMLY&R Foundation, the agency provides a range of support to nonprofit organizations and worthy causes chosen by their employees. 

Bridgers is a longstanding WPP employee, joining the agency in 2017 following its merger with Rockfish. She previously served as regional director, employee experience. 

She originally joined Rockfish as part of the talent acquisition team and spent the following years implementing progressive human resources practices building a people-first agency, which ultimately lead to her appointment as chief people officer.

Prior to joining Rockfish, Bridgers held talent acquisition and human resources positions for more than two decades, including stints at Saatchi & Saatchi X and Robert Half International.  

She is the co-creator of the Women in the Workforce conference in Northwest Arkansas, and a member of the Executive Advisory Committee for the Women’s Empowerment Center.  Bridgers holds a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Arkansas Tech University and is an active volunteer in her community. 

  • Wednesday, Mar. 3, 2021
Veteran colorist Tony Dustin joins Company 3 Toronto
Tony Dustin
TORONTO -- 

Company 3 has added film and TV colorist Tony Dustin to its Toronto roster. With over two decades creating work on major features and episodic programming, Dustin has been sought after for his artistic eye and collaborative working style. Recent work includes the powerful feature film Harriet and writer/director/producer Ava DuVernay’s series, Cherish the Day.   

Dustin’s previous credits include the Netflix dramatic series Sense8, for which he was nominated for the Hollywood Professional Association’s (HPA) Outstanding Color Award, NBC’s long running The Blacklist and Hulu’s Stephen King-inspired series, Castle Rock. Features include Best Picture Academy Oscar nominee Silver Linings Playbook and the multiple-award-winning feature drama Gran Torino. He has collaborated with some of filmmaking’s leading lights, including directors David O. Russell and Clint Eastwood and acclaimed cinematographers Hoyte van Hoytema, ASC, FSF, NSC and John Toll, ASC.      

Born in Utah, Dustin spent much of his youth in Palm Springs, Calif. A part time job at the then major L.A.-based post house Editel helped him discover his love of filmmaking and post. After honing his craft at various post companies, he moved to Technicolor where he assisted Stephen Nakamura (now Company 3’s co-head, Feature Post), soon becoming an in-demand colorist in his own right. Dustin will begin work immediately on a slate of feature film and TV work. 

  • Wednesday, Mar. 3, 2021
WorkInProgress promotes Molly Schaaf to director of video production
Molly Schaaf
BOULDER, Colo. -- 

WorkInProgress (WIP), a full-service, innovation and advertising agency, has promoted Molly Schaaf to director of video production. Schaaf joined WIP in July 2019 as an executive producer.

In her new role, Schaaf reports to Stafford Bosak, one of WIP’s founding partners who oversees all aspects of production for the agency. 

“Molly has been central to what we do since day one at WorkInProgress,” Stafford said. “She recently led the flawless execution of five simultaneous productions with a Zen-like calm. Now in this leadership role, Molly will focus on pushing our film craft to the highest level.”

A seasoned marketing professional with 20 years of world-class industry experience, Schaaf has served on the brand marketing side for PopSockets and StubHub and in various producer roles at several agencies, including Made, DDB, McCann, and The Martin Agency. At the latter, she spent seven years managing all production for the GEICO and Hanes accounts.

Stafford described Schaaf as a “work in progress in the truest sense” and the perfect person to lead video production. She is obsessed with details and loves to travel—she’s worked in 12 different countries across four continents. She geeks out on logistics and finding the best local everything to sample when afield—especially healthy food. She’s also a certified yoga instructor and an avid competition-level distance runner.

  • Tuesday, Mar. 2, 2021
The Mill names managing directors in L.A., London, Berlin
Anastasia Von Rahl
LOS ANGELES -- 

The Mill has appointed three new managing directors across leading divisions in the U.S. and Europe. 
 
Anastasia Von Rahl has been promoted to managing director in The Mill’s Los Angeles location where she will oversee the studio and client experience across all capabilities, from traditional VFX to in-house directed creative and experiential work. 

Von Rahl has been an integral part of the leadership team since she joined The Mill in 2013. In her previous role as director of production, she was pivotal in securing and overseeing award-winning VFX projects, including numerous top-ranked Super Bowl campaigns. These projects, among many others, have led Von Rahl to develop and strengthen strong client relationships with agencies, brands and production companies alike. 

Misha Stanford Harris, previously head of production, has been appointed as managing director for the London based studio. And Justin Stiebel has taken on the newly created role of managing director in The Mill’s recently opened boutique studio in Berlin. 

Josh Mandel, The Mill CEO, said, “As we further embrace our global capabilities and structure, our aim is to build a leadership team that both helps us maintain the continuity in people and practices that have driven our success while focusing on future opportunities through growth and evolution. Anastasia, Justin and Misha have all been strong voices within The Mill who bring incredible passion for people, craft and growth to their roles. Together they represent many years of experience that will help us navigate the evolving world of VFX and define our growth through new brand partnerships.”

  • Tuesday, Mar. 2, 2021
WAX adds commercial and film editor Alex Pirrone to its roster
Alex Pirrone
NEW YORK -- 

Boutique postproduction shop WAX has brought New York-based commercial and film editor Alex Pirrone aboard its roster.

Most recently, Pirrone edited Ford’s multi-part, long-form series, “Mustang Mach-E v Everything,” through post house Friendshop!, his roost prior to WAX. Pirrone’s other most notable campaigns include Seinhessier’s “Athlete” (directed by Sam Pilling) for the MOMENTUM III Wireless, IBM’s “Dear Tech,” and Kraken Rum’s “A Tale Well Told.” The latter was short-listed for an AICP Post Award. Beyond advertising, he has also been involved in work such as the short documentary Màs Fuerte, which was directed by Sean Frank and garnered an official selection at the Brooklyn Film Festival, as well as A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness, which won the Best Documentary (Short Subject) Oscar in 2016. Pirrone was an associate editor on A Girl in the River, which was directed by Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, with Geof Bartz serving as editor.

WAX founder and executive producer Toni Lipari described Pirrone as “an incredibly talented editor whose creative ability is evident in everything he cuts. What ultimately separates him from most in the editing community, and makes him a perfect fit at WAX, is that he’s deeply involved during the ideation stage, which allows him to get wholly immersed in a production before anything’s even filmed. He’s an amazing cultural fit to our team as we continue to strengthen our capabilities.”

  • Monday, Mar. 1, 2021
Amy Armstrong promoted to global CEO for IPG's Initiative
Amy Armstrong
NEW YORK -- 

Amy Armstrong has been named CEO of global media agency Initiative, part of the Interpublic Group (NYSE: IPG) family of shops. She succeeds Mat Baxter, who will take on the role of global chairman at Initiative through 2021. Baxter has served as Initiative’s CEO since 2016, and will stay within IPG in a new leadership role that the company plans to announce in the coming months.

Armstrong has held leadership roles at various IPG agencies for over 20 years, most recently as U.S. CEO for Initiative. Since joining Initiative in 2016, she has transformed the company’s U.S. operations, including driving business results for her clients and substantial revenue growth for the agency. Initiative’s U.S. operations also won significant new business under her leadership, including Liberty Mutual, Nintendo, Gilead, and T-Mobile, creating one of the strongest new business track records in the media sector. 

Armstrong has also been a steadfast champion for diversity and inclusion for the agency. Unhappy with the role biases play in conventional hiring approaches, she overhauled Initiative’s recruiting process to one that achieves bias neutrality. Her work is helping the agency build more fair and equitable representation of BIPOC within the company. Under Armstrong’s leadership, diversity has increased throughout the U.S. operations, although much work still remains to be done.

“During his tenure as CEO, Mat has brought a strategic lens, as well as a focus on culture and creativity as the key drivers of consumer media engagement. This has led to a transformation at Initiative, making it one of our fastest-growing businesses and the top media agency network in terms of global new business momentum,” commented Philippe Krakowsky, CEO of IPG. “Mat has the ability to attract and develop top talent, and under his leadership the Initiative team has seen significant evolution, with clients turning to the network for advice and solutions across a broader range of marketing challenges. We’re excited to have him look at other areas of our portfolio that he can help transform and elevate. We are also fortunate that his long-time partner, Amy, who has played a key role in Initiative’s strong record of success in recent years, will be stepping into the global CEO role, which ensures that the positive trajectory for Initiative and its clients can continue.”

Prior to her role at Initiative, Armstrong ran BPN Worldwide and served as president of ID Media. She began her career with IPG at FCB, where she worked in their media practice area. Active in charity causes, Armstrong has spearheaded fundraising for gastric and esophageal cancer organizations, including the DeGregorio Foundation.

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