• Wednesday, Jul. 21, 2021
Versus forms original content division, hires Mark Grande for lead role
Mark Grande
NEW YORK -- 

Versus, a NY-based creative content company, has unveiled its new original content division, hiring Mark Grande to lead the department.

As head of original content, Grande will lead the company’s strategy and execution of long-form original programming and production. This move further signifies Versus’ strong growth over the last year, and the announcement comes on the heels of the recent news of Alasdair Lloyd-Jones joining the company as its new president and chief marketing officer.

“I have been a fan of Versus’ premium, award-winning work since the company was founded in 2013. When they approached me about launching a new original content division, I was in from the jump,” Grande said. “I’m excited to work with the amazing team at Versus as we expand our portfolio into new areas and work with partners to deliver amazing IP.”

“Developing an original content division has been part of our company roadmap for some time now, and we’re excited to see it come to fruition,” said Samantha Louise, Versus co-founder. “Mark has a proven track record of creating content that resonates with audiences, and his robust experience will be a huge asset in propelling our continued growth.”

Grande brings more than 20 years of content strategy, development and production experience to Versus. Prior to joining the Versus team, he led content at hip-hop legend Nas’ multi-cultural focused entertainment company, Mass Appeal, where he oversaw digital, film, and television programs, executive producing their first ever podcast slate--including one of The Atlantic’s Best Podcasts of 2019, Freaknik: A Discourse On A Paradise Lost--and was instrumental in the launch of their children’s brand MAJR. Prior to that, he led programming and production at Sony Music Entertainment’s original content studio Rumble Yard, helped launch Derek Jeter’s sports media platform The Players’ Tribune, and oversaw film/television development at The Howard Stern Production Company. 

Grande’s team has hit the ground running. They recently set up their first original documentary feature at ALLBLK, an AMC Networks-owned streaming platform. They have also secured multiple content partnerships including Feel The Flow, a comedic documentary that will dismantle misconceptions about menstruation around the world with My Entertainment’s premium doc company, One Foot Forward. 

In addition to documentaries, Versus has several animated and scripted projects in the works.

Grande and Versus are repped by UTA.  

  • Wednesday, Jul. 21, 2021
Republic Editorial adds Flame artist/colorist Bayley, editor Berron
Shaddai Berron (l) and Bryan Bayley
DALLAS -- 

Republic Editorial has added Flame artist/colorist Bryan Bayley and creative editor Shaddai Berron. The two joined the team in early summer and have already collaborated on several projects, including a recent campaign for Dolce & Gabbana featuring DJ Khalid and PJ Tucker.

A skilled technical and creative artist, Bayley brings his years of experience working on brands such as Home Depot, Ram Trucks, Coors and Toyota. He was most recently the lead Flame artist at across town shop Treehouse Editorial, a shop which he was instrumental in launching back in 2012. Prior to that, Bayley helped Dallas based Reel FX/Radium grow their commercial divisions, in addition to working on music videos, feature films, special attractions and branching into AR/VR. In 2011, he worked on Katy Perry’s “Firework”  which won the MTV Video Music Award for video of the year.

“Bryan is the ideal artist to add to our expanding finishing team right now,” said Republic partner and sr. editor Chris Gipson. “Not only does he have the experience and talent to run any project solo, but he also thrives in a collaborative environment, working well with the other artists on our team.“ Bayley joins Republic’s other Flame artist and colorist, Nick Mueth, in heading up its finishing department.

“I’d only heard great things about Republic since its partners bought out Red Car back in 2013,“ said Bayley. “Their continued growth in recent years with the addition of sister company Infinite Fiction for design and Threaded Pictures for production made a big impact in this town. When I heard about their plans for further expanding their Finishing division, I knew I had an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.”

A native of Dallas, Berron also joins Republic from Treehouse Editorial, where she worked her way up from assistant to editor in only a few short years. With a fluency in English and Spanish, she’s cultivated a diverse reel of national work for clients ranging from Dr. Pepper to Kia to Home Depot. Whether cutting long format docu-style projects or short-form heavy effects work, “Shady” (as she’s known in town) uses her down to earth personality to create a comfortable collaborative space for creatives to craft their message.

“I’ve been following Shady’s trajectory for a good while now,” said Republic partner and sr. editor Keith James. “In the few short years she’s been editing, she’s proved herself capable of tackling a wide variety of creative projects each with a very distinctive approach. And it goes without saying that with a fluency in Spanish, she’s going to continue to flourish in our market.”

Berron joins Republic’s roster of editors which includes Gipson, James, William Franklin, Andy McGee and Susan Munro. Berron said, “The partners have been super supportive of my vision for growth as an editor, and their addition of Bryan made the transition really smooth for myself and my clients.”

  • Tuesday, Jul. 20, 2021
Preymaker adds Rob Petrie to its creative lineup
Rob Petrie
NEW YORK -- 

Creative and technology studio Preymaker has signed Rob Petrie who assumes the wide gamut title of “creative.” He brings 20 years’ experience as an award-winning artist, director and creative director to Preymaker, one of the first 100% cloud native creative studios. Preymaker utilizes an advanced custom cloud-based platform that creates content entirely in the cloud.

Petrie started his career in London, moved to New York and shortly after rose up the ranks to head of 3D and finally creative director at The Mill. He also was on staff at MPC as creative director and freelanced at various studios in both New York and Los Angeles. Work highlights include collaborations with A-list directors on award-winning advertising campaigns such as Sony PlayStation’s “Greatness Awaits” launch, Johnnie Walker’s “Rock Giant” and OFFF Design Festival’s opening title sequence. He also has directed commercials for Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed, Bethesda’s Doom and Sega’s Company of Heroes, and led visual experiences and design projects for Lady Gaga, Depeche Mode, Radiohead and Daft Punk. Throughout his career, Petrie has partnered with top agencies including BBH, BBDO, Wieden + Kennedy, Grey New York,and HudsonRouge. 

“I joined Preymaker because of the possibilities in technology, real-time platforms and overall creativity,” said Petrie. “Preymaker is in an amazing position to create original content and tap into exciting partnerships in technology. My goal in my new role is to help build what is and will continue to be an amazing and truly collaborative place to work, growing an exemplary culture of creativity and expression and exploring opportunities in many different fields of the arts. I have a long list of ideas in my head that I can’t wait to share with our team.”

Angus Kneale, chief creative at Preymaker, shared, “Rob is an exceptional talent. And talent is Preymaker’s most valuable asset. We are building a future-facing company that can tackle the most complex creative and technical challenges. What makes us unique is the way we leverage technology and our agile creative ability. I have had the opportunity to work with Rob in London, New York and now Los Angeles, and have always found him to be not only an accomplished artist, but a passionate, exceptional creative who can collaborate with anyone. He will be a valuable resource for Preymaker and our clients.”  

This past year, Preymaker has had a strong start; they were part of the team that created Grey London’s Volvo “Ultimate Safety Test,” directed by Ivan Zacharias, just honored with a Cannes Silver Lion. Since opening its doors last fall, Preymaker has worked on content for high-profile brands including Lincoln, Comcast Xfinity, Volvo, Macy’s, U.S. Cellular and Army National Guard, and with agencies such as McCann, BBDO, 72andSunny and Johannes Leonardo. The company also has collaborated with directors Peter Thwaites, Kathryn Bigelow, Guy Shelmerdine and Henry-Alex Rubin, among others. 

  • Friday, Jul. 16, 2021
Framestore promotes Stephen Goalby to head of design, U.K.
Stephen Goalby
LONDON -- 

Oscar and BAFTA-winning creative studio Framestore has promoted Stephen Goalby to head of design, U.K. Based at the company’s headquarters in London, he will lead the design team as the studio continues to expand the division.

Since joining Framestore in 2016, Goalby has played a key role across film, episodic and immersive projects, working with brands and IP such as Coca-Cola, Google, and UEFA. Most recently, he worked on the title sequence for the James Bond film, No Time to Die, and with both Universal Creative and Walt Disney Imagineering on attractions and experiences based in Beijing, Hollywood and Orlando.

“Stephen’s exciting unannounced projects will deliver everything from intricate hand-drawn 2D animation to futuristic technical UI sequences,” said Lottie Cooper, Framestore’s managing director, advertising, TV & immersive. “With his dedication and ability to lead the team both technically and creatively he’s opened us up to new and groundbreaking opportunities and the team continues to go from strength to strength under his leadership.”

“It’s an honour to be working at a studio that is positioned at the forefront of design and I’m excited to be at the helm as we grow as a department,” added Goalby. “It’s been incredible to work with so many brilliant clients and partners and I’m looking forward to continuing to expand our capabilities in this space.”

Goalby has over 16 years’ experience in the industry, and built an impressive portfolio with his work at several leading agencies before joining Framestore. 

  • Thursday, Jul. 15, 2021
Video games coming to Netflix? Latest hiring offers a clue
This Jan. 29, 2010, file photo shows the company logo and view of Netflix headquarters in Los Gatos, Calif. Netflix has hired veteran video game executive Mike Verdu, signaling the video streaming service is poised to expand into another fertile field of entertainment. Verdu's addition as Netflix's vice president of game development, confirmed Thursday, July 15, 2021 comes as the company seeks to sustain the momentum it gathered last year when people turned to the video streaming service to get through lockdowns imposed during the pandemic. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)
SAN RAMON, Calif. (AP) -- 

Netflix has hired veteran video game executive Mike Verdu, signaling the video streaming service is poised to expand into another fertile field of entertainment.

Verdu's addition as Netflix's vice president of game development, confirmed Thursday, comes as the company seeks to sustain the momentum it gathered last year when people turned to the video streaming service to get through lockdowns imposed during the pandemic. 

Netflix wound up adding 37 million worldwide subscribers last year, by far the largest annual gain in its history. But the landscape has changed dramatically now that the easing pandemic has allowed people to return to a semblance of their normal lives. 

The video service stumbled out of the gate during the first three months of this year, posting its smallest first-quarter subscriber increase in four years, and it predicted its springtime gains would also be meager. The Los Gatos, California, company is scheduled to report its results for the April-June period on Tuesday.

Adding video games would give Netflix another way to build upon the nearly 208 million subscribers that it boasted at the end of March. It wouldn't come as a surprise either, given that Netflix co-CEO Reed Hastings has long said the company competes as much against video games for a piece of people's leisure time as it does against other video streaming services offered by the likes of Amazon, Hulu, Walt Disney Co. and Apple.

Netflix didn't directly comment on its potential entry into video gaming, but left little doubt about its intent by announcing Verdu's title at the company. Verdu is joining Netflix from Facebook's Oculus, where he oversaw the virtual reality headset maker's games. He previously worked at video game makers Electronic Arts and Zynga.

Now the biggest questions are when Netflix might start to offer video games and whether it intends to charge a separate fee to play them or include them as part of its video streaming services.

In a research note, CFRA analyst Tuna Amobi called video games a logical complement to Netflix's vast library of TV series and films, helping to set the stage for eventual price increases that most subscribers will accept.

Greg Peters, Netflix's chief operating officer, told investors in April that video games could be another way to engage subscribers already immersed in the stories unfolding in the service's TV series and movies.

"We're trying to figure out what are all these different ways that we can increase those points of connection, we can deepen that fandom," Peters said at the time. Verdu will be reporting to Peters in his new job. 

Investors seemed to be taking a wait-and-see attitude on Netflix's potential foray into video games. The company's stock price dipped by 1% to close Thursday at $542.95. While much of the stock market has been notching record highs recently, Netflix's shares are down by 8% from their peak of $593.29 reached in January. 

  • Wednesday, Jul. 14, 2021
Editor Andrea Mendoza joins Cut+Run
Andrea Mendoza
AUSTIN, Texas -- 

Cut+Run has added editor Andrea Mendoza to its roster. Based out of Cut+Run’s Austin office, Mendoza is available to edit nationwide. Mendoza’s work effortlessly spans many genres, with a focus on comedy borne from utterly relatable moments. Her careful attention to detail and sense of timing are evident in collaborations for Apple, Michael’s, Dodge, Infiniti, Jack Links, and AARP starring Betty White, among many more. 

An Austin native who was raised on a diet of MTV and film, Mendoza discovered editing at Purdue University and fell in love with its impact on narrative storytelling. A fateful meeting led to her first job at Epoch Films, which was a springboard to a career in New York and in Austin, where she met her wife Melissa. Enjoying successful tenures at companies in NY and Austin she built a network of valued collaborators. Prior to joining Cut+Run--with offices in such markets as NY, L.A., San Francisco and Austin--she had been at TBD Post in Austin. 

“Having known Andrea for many years in the Austin ad community, I knew the quality of human we were getting,” said Cut+Run Austin EP Bebe Baldwin. “Besides being passionate and talented, she is also a genuine person with a cool vibe, which is why she has a legion of loyal fans.”

In addition to editing, Mendoza’s creative voice is seen in her still photography where portraits and places are brought to artful and atmospheric life. She got her first camera at 11 and it has been a constant companion. And while editing came first as a craft, it was only after she became a fully fledged editor that she focused on photography with the same level of intensity and passion. 

“I always strive to bring something extra to every project, diving in and going beyond the kernel of the idea or what’s on the page to develop something rich and compelling,” she explained. “Both photography and editing give you insight into what people connect to and how, which makes both endlessly fascinating.”

  • Tuesday, Jul. 13, 2021
Harris Wilkinson promoted to chief creative officer at The Marketing Arm
Harris Wilkinson
DALLAS -- 

Harris Wilkinson has been promoted to chief creative officer of The Marketing Arm (TMA). He was previously SVP of creative at the agency.

Since joining TMA in 2016, Wilkinson has led new business creative and overseen the development, presentation, and production of broadcast and social content for clients such as State Farm, NBA/WNBA, Goodyear, and Advance Auto Parts, for which he led creative for the award-winning relaunch of DieHard® batteries featuring Bruce Willis.

Prior to joining TMA, Wilkinson was creative director at TBWA\Chiat\Day LA. In a career spanning advertising and film and television, Wilkinson has served as a writer and producer, working with studios and networks including Universal, New Line, FOX, NBC, and A&E.

“In addition to his deep experience, Harris brings vision, inspiration, courage, curiosity, and talent to the role of CCO. But ultimately, what matters is the work. He is steeped in the work and loves the challenges, uncertainties, and opportunities that come with it,” said TMA president Trina Roffino. “Harris will champion our creative leaders and continue to build on TMA’s mission to create cultural resonance for brands.”

“What’s unique about TMA is our creativity extends across so many different disciplines—from traditional advertising, to experiential, social, digital, retail, sports, entertainment, and talent,” said Wilkinson who added that he will “help push the work at every touchpoint to deliver creativity that matters to all our clients.”

Wilkinson’s promotion builds on agency momentum which has seen TMA win new business including State Farm creative, Pernod Ricard, Palo Alto Networks, and Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation and score recognition in this year’s Super Bowl for State Farm’s first in-game spot.

  • Friday, Jul. 9, 2021
Goswami, McCann, Sturch promoted to lead FCB/SIX Canada
Priyanka Goswami
TORONTO -- 

Priyanka Goswami, Grace McCann and Rob Sturch are being promoted to lead FCB/SIX Canada. Longstanding members of the FCB/SIX Canada management team, this trio has helped fuel much of the creative data network’s success reflected in such award-winning work as Black & Abroad’s “Go Back to Africa” and PFLAG Canada’s “Destination Pride.” The newly named leaders will report to FCB Canada president Bryan Kane and work closely with Tina Allan, FCB’s recently appointed global head of data science & connections.

“This is a pivotal time in the modern data landscape where our clients are accelerating their focus on their first party data strategy to drive business value. This team will continue to innovate, accelerate and drive performance and growth for our clients’ businesses. They are true leaders, partners, specialists and connectors,” said Kane.

All three leaders will now serve on the management teams of both FCB/SIX and FCB Canada:

  • Priyanka Goswami, SVP, general manager, 1:1 practice lead (four years at FCB/SIX), who brings FCB/SIX Canada 17+ years of experience focusing on digital and CRM to drive digital transformation and delivering tangible value for clients across various categories.
  • Rob Sturch, executive creative director (four years at FCB/SIX), who has been a multifaceted creative leader in his 15 years within the industry, leading award-winning campaigns for clients like Volkswagen, Stella Artois and Cheerios, and who now employs creativity, data and technology to drive meaningful connections.
  • Grace McCann, SVP operations & agency development (five years at FCB/SIX), who has over 20 years of experience in operations and project management and has led FCB/SIX operations in Canada, connecting the functions of project management, resourcing and finance.

FCB/SIX now has teams in New York, London, Toronto, Montreal and San Francisco and--with increased client demand for CRM, data, technology and personalization--is continuing to expand globally as a key part of FCB’s worldwide network of offices. Last month, it was announced that Allan had hired Juliana Vilhena Nascimento as managing director to head FCB/SIX’s newest operation in Brazil.

FCB/SIX has continued earning top industry recognition, with 17 D&AD Pencils in 2020 and 17 Cannes Lions since 2016, as well as earning top honors at The One Show, Goodvertising Awards and Cresta Awards in 2021. 

  • Friday, Jul. 9, 2021
Final Cut promotes Sophie Solomon to editor
Sophie Solomon
NEW YORK -- 

Creative editorial house Final Cut has promoted Sophie Solomon from assistant editor to editor. Solomon has been with Final Cut for six years, getting her start in its New York office as vault manager. Soon after she began working as an assistant editor, honing her craft alongside mentors and friends including Rick Russell, Jeff Buchanan, Dan Sherwen, Patrick Colman, and Ed Chessman.
 
Solomon attended Barnard College at Columbia in Manhattan, where she majored in film studies. Throughout her four years of college she interned at production and post houses around the city, which laid a solid groundwork for her understanding of the industry. Her love for postproduction came out of a passion for the creative process and a realization that telling stories and collaborating with other creatives is inherent to the process in an edit room. 
 
Solomon worked alongside Jim Helton at Final Cut to edit the internationally acclaimed New York Times campaign, “The Truth is Worth It,” made with Droga5 and directing duo Martin + Lindsay. The campaign garnered two Cannes Grand Prix awards and four Gold Lions, Best of Show at the One Club Annual ADC Award, Clio Gold, and a Black Pencil at D&AD, among many other accolades. 
 
Solomon’s work for Kenzo Eyewear is a fun project that speaks directly to so many of her sensibilities when it comes to humor. Known for a certain campy aesthetic, combined with unwavering authenticity, she creates an effortless, modern narrative. Her work on the “Jaded” music video for Ms. White is an example of true collaboration--a labor of love that required all involved to be vulnerable and fully vested. Solomon has also edited for global brands such as Volkswagen, Target, Michelob Ultra, Comcast, Lincoln, and Fox Sports. Her work has earned her an award for Best Editing at the Art of Brooklyn Film Festival and a Telly, for the short film Don’t Go Back To Sleep.    
 
“From the beginning of my time at Final Cut, I’ve had the privilege to learn from some of the best editors in the world, which I’ll never take for granted,” said Solomon. “I’ve found Final Cut to be a place that celebrates individuality and attracts people who hold craft in high regard. I’m honored to have found a home where my best work can shine because I work with people who care so deeply about our projects.” 

  • Thursday, Jul. 8, 2021
Kim Johnson named global CEO of Ogilvy Health
Kim Johnson
NEW YORK -- 

Kim Johnson has been appointed global CEO of Ogilvy Health. Known for her marketing leadership in the health and wellness sector, Johnson has worked at the forefront of global health and science innovation on both the agency and client side throughout her career. She will oversee all aspects of Ogilvy Health’s business spanning brand strategy, advertising, public relations, experience, medical education, HCP promotion, market access, and patient/consumer engagement and be responsible for further accelerating Ogilvy Health’s growth. She will assume the role on July 26.

Johnson has been successfully scaling marketing and technology services in the healthcare industry for nearly two decades. Most recently she served as EVP of global clients at WPP. Earlier this year, Johnson was instrumental in launching the WPP Health Community, a collection of health leaders across WPP designed to use creativity and technology to accelerate growth and innovation in the sector.

Prior to WPP, Johnson was the president of GSW and prior to that PALIO, full-service agencies in the Syneos Health global network where she doubled annual billings and merged the two companies to form the network’s flagship brand. Before her tenure with Syneos, she was a partner at health and wellness agency, The Bloc, where she implemented a digital roadmap that put the company on the course for significant growth during her tenure. Johnson also held marketing leadership roles at Pfizer, including leading a global blockbuster brand in the inflammation franchise. She started her career in client leadership at Wunderman. 

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