- EL SEGUNDO, Calif.
David&Goliath has appointed Blake Winfree to serve as its chief of social impact and promoted Ben Purcell from executive creative director to chief creative officer. The moves are designed to expand the agency’s purpose-driven footprint by establishing a creative impact hub dedicated to inspiring greater social responsibility and sustainable impact within the industry, and ultimately in the world.
Winfree and Purcell will report directly to D&G founder and chairman David Angelo. Winfree’s specific responsibilities include leveraging the agency’s deep cultural insights to identify social deficits and the audiences negatively impacted by those deficits. The resulting creative output will serve as a bridge between the two. In addition to working on D&G clients, Winfree will also provide social impact insight for nonprofit clients including the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts (LACHSA) and the global nonprofit Today, I’m Brave.
In addition to managing and developing creative directors alongside Winfree, Purcell’s specific responsibilities include steering the work to a higher creative standard that goes beyond solely creating ads, fostering relationships with senior clients, and working closely with D&G department heads to ensure the overall narrative of the agency adheres to the creative impact goals set in place.
“Our goal is to build on our existing purpose-driven agency model, by reimagining or creating a new standard for our industry. A standard that breaks the creative barriers of industry sameness and is laser focused on authentic, sustainable impact,” said Angelo. “This is a watershed moment for our industry. And as responsible creative problem solvers, we have an even greater responsibility to inspire even more sustainable change in the world. If last year taught us anything, it taught us that challenges are inevitable and what matters the most is how we, as global citizens, can (and did) band together to make a difference by leaning into empathy and purpose. Establishing a creative impact hub represents our commitment and action towards significant change and it starts with ‘casting’ the best people. I can’t imagine a more fitting creative leadership duo than the immensely talented and dedicated Ben Purcell, who has been by my side since we opened our doors more than 20 years ago, and the incomparable change agent Blake Winfree to lead the charge.”
Angelo added, “Evolving the agency is the natural next step for us. Living our brand purpose has been our north star from the beginning and has helped guide our culture and creative over the years. As well, we established the Conscious Creative Movement in partnership with the 4A’s to spotlight the creators doing social good and four years ago, founded the global nonprofit Today, I’m Brave to unlock bravery in the youth of today, so they can take on the biggest challenges of tomorrow. And most recently we hired our first director of empathy, Tiffany Persons.” Persons joined D&G to help recruit underrepresented talent and lead agency-wide workshops to unlock empathy and activate compassion and cultivate depth as storytellers.
“I feel honored to step into the role of chief creative officer and work alongside Blake to help build out our creative impact hub,” said Purcell. “I’ve been a part of the growth of D&G since the beginning, from a shop of five to the thriving creative agency it is today. For us, purpose has always held a greater meaning. It comes from an innate value that is within us.”
Purcell joined D&G as a senior writer when the agency opened its doors in November 1999 and was quickly promoted to ACD. From ACD to ECD, Purcell helped guide the agency’s founding client, Kia Motors from the number 12 import in U.S. sales to number 5. For Kia alone, Purcell worked on six Super Bowl campaigns including the Cannes Lion-winning film “Hero’s Journey” with Melissa McCarthy, a campaign that’s among the highest-rated of all time. And most recently, the Josh Jacobs “Tough Never Quits” campaign that helped raise over a million dollars for youth homelessness.
After many years on Kia, Purcell focused on growing other accounts at the agency. He has managed and created award-winning work for accounts including Universal Studios, Vizio, HBO, Jack in the Box, Bacardi, Mammoth Ski Resort, Mattel Hot Wheels, and a portfolio of Frito Lay products including Stacy’s. His awards include Cannes, The One Show, D&AD, Clio and Effie, as well as his coveted first place trophy win from D&G’s mixed doubles table tennis tournament.
Before D&G, Purcell freelanced for four years at Band of Gypsies, BBDO West, Fallon McElligott, TBWA\Chiat\Day and Wieden+Kennedy, respectively. Also, he has been an adjunct professor at the USC Annenberg School of Business.
Winfree shared, “I’m an individual who loves new opportunities, particularly when the chewy chocolate center is filled with purpose and intention which this incredible opportunity is. That’s as good as I can hope for. And excited to work with Ben to activate this new creative and social impact offering.”
Winfree joins D&G from Havas Chicago where he worked on clients including Mikes Hard Lemonade and Autozone, as well as new business. Prior to Havas, Winfree was VP, creative director at MullenLowe, leading creative for American Greetings, Hyatt, and Facebook. His work on American Greetings’ “World’s Toughest Job” garnered the distinction of most organically shared video in the world the month it was released, as well as PRWeek’s top PR campaigns of the past two decades.
Winfree founded the 25Forty Project at MullenLowe, an initiative to increase diversity in the ad industry, served as a part of Havas North American DE&I committee and was a featured speaker at the 3% Conference in 2018. His awards include Cannes, The One Show, D&AD and the Grand Effie.