- SAN FRANCISCO
Independent agency Venables Bell & Partners’ (VB&P) in-house production unit, Lumberyard Productions, has expanded its leadership team. Raquel Bedard, whose role has recently evolved to director of operations, is being joined by creative lead and director Tyler Hampton, production lead Sasha White, and client services lead Kristin Obi. Hampton, White and Obi come from VB&P, where they led general advertising efforts and award-winning work for a number of the agency’s clients. In their new roles, they’ll continue to elevate Lumberyard’s creative product, and handle production and postproduction assignments for VB&P clients including Audi, Reebok, Chipotle, and 3M, in addition to expanding their work to include new partnerships with tech and new economy companies.
“As the market and media landscape continue to evolve, our team can take on new opportunities with clients outside of our agency relationships,” said VB&P partner and COO Kate Jeffers. “Our new team leaders will help us step up our game, work smarter and more efficiently, and better serve the needs of new clients who may not work with agencies, but have multiple content and production needs. We know these businesses can benefit from our passion and expertise, and it’s the perfect time to bring on more creative firepower in this new chapter.”
As Lumberyard’s creative lead and director, Hampton will spearhead the team’s creative development. Recently, Hampton directed four online films for Reebok’s “Zig the Runway” campaign, a subversive take on high fashion events which moves the fashion runway to people’s driveways. Shot from the POV of a security doorbell camera, these films starred pro-basketball player Montrezl Harrell, comedian Desi Banks, Bay Area dance troupe Project Level, and other influencers. In addition to Hampton’s directorial duties, the Lumberyard team produced and finished these films, and handled editorial and FX work. Hampton joined Lumberyard after several years as a creative director at VB&P, where he led outstanding campaigns for brands including Audi, Intel, PlayStation, eBay, and Chipotle. Hampton’s agency-side work has earned accolades from several top creative shows, including The One Show, Cannes Lions, D&AD, Communication Arts, Effie, and TED Ads Worth Sharing.
Bedard now steps up her role at Lumberyard as director of operations, overseeing the development of all Lumberyard disciplines and workflow systems while ensuring the nimble delivery of production in the COVID-19 era. In her new capacity, she will also lead business development and recruitment for the group. Bedard joined Lumberyard in its early days in 2012, when the team’s primary focus was handling non-billable projects for the agency. Since then, she’s been a driving force in expanding Lumberyard’s services to deliver on the needs of a variety of clients, from massive productions for global brands to quick-turnaround, highly cost-efficient solutions for emerging businesses. Under her leadership, Lumberyard has produced work such as Reebok’s “Be More Human” women’s campaign and “Zig the Runway” campaign, and REI’s #OptOutside effort, which earned the Titanium Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions. She’s also launched and grown VB&P’s social media division, and developed a thriving team culture where each individual is challenged in their work endeavors and supported in their personal lives.
As production lead, White will focus on building out Lumberyard’s production department and capabilities. Beyond her client duties, and in response to new world coronavirus challenges, White and her team recently led the production of Facejar, a virtual face-touching “swear jar” that lets people turn beard rubs and nose itches during video meetings into money for masks, gloves, and gowns for medical professionals on the frontline of the pandemic. Lumberyard also produced the Facejar promotional video and wrote its custom soundtrack. Throughout her career, White has produced a range of work, including commercials and branded content for VB&P clients Reebok, Westin Hotels, and PlayStation as well as feature films, documentaries, and music videos. She especially enjoys cause marketing efforts, or financially strapped jobs that require creative problem solving. In her free time, White worked with director Paul Rice to produce his recent documentary about the LGBTQ community living underground in Russia, A Worm in the Heart. The film premiered at the 2020 Santa Barbara International Film Festival.
Obi is Lumberyard’s new client services lead, focused on ensuring the firm is a valued partner to its clients. Like her peers, Obi brings extensive experience developing brands on the agency side. Most recently at VB&P, she led Reebok’s much-heralded “Sport the Unexpected” campaign and led work for 3M’s consumer brands. Prior to VB&P, Obi was an account lead at Crispin Porter + Bogusky in L.A., where she was instrumental in developing brands, including Old Navy and PayPal. At Lumberyard, she and her peers will bring their unique perspective and high creative bar to a range of partners and assignments, from live-action productions to sale videos and social content.
“The time is right for a production company with a strong creative perspective,” said Bedard. “Our model is particularly relevant because of the current crisis. Brands still need content, but large-scale productions have been curtailed. We can get creative with how we produce new work without shooting out in the world. We are truly grateful to be open for business--we realize many aren’t so lucky. But as long as clients need work done, we want to be there to help, and we’re uniquely positioned to handle any type of production.”