Some more wins of the week
Smashburger named Partners & Napier as its creative and media agency of record, following both a review and some project work the agency did for the brand, Ad Age’s Jessica Wohl reports. The review was led by Scott Johnson, VP and head of marketing at Smashburger, who joined the fast-casual burger chain in August. A January campaign from the agency, which hyped Smashburger’s new fried chicken sandwich as #Comfort4All and included a buy one, get one offer, boosted sales. A new Smashburger brand campaign is set to launch in March.
Joan was named agency of record for Virgin Hotels as it expands its chain of “lifestyle” properties in the U.S. Miami-based Virgin Hotels, launched in 2010, has locations in Chicago, San Francisco and Dallas, with plans to open more in Nashville, New York and New Orleans sometime in the “near” future, according to the company. New York-based independent shop Joan was tasked with leading Virgin Hotels’ strategy as well as video production, audio, design, experiential and digital creative for the brand and local locations. The appointment followed a multi-agency review. The companies expect to debut new work together in the second quarter of 2020.
Hood River Distillers, a maker and marketer of spirits in the Northwest, appointed Portland, Oregon-based shop North as its lead brand agency. North will be responsible for brand positioning, creative and communications strategy for the Hood River, Oregon-based company brands Batanga Tequila, Easy Rider Bourbon Whiskey, along with a new vodka brand that is expected to launch later this year. Hood River Distillers, founded in 1934, says music will play a big role in its upcoming marketing.
Furniture retailer Havertys hired EP+Co and sister shop Trilia as its creative and media agencies of record, respectively, following a review run by Hasan + Shumaker Consulting. The two agencies will handle media, creative and digital planning efforts under the partnership. EP+Co says specifically that it will be tasked with developing an integrated marketing strategy and helping evolve its current brand positioning. “Every step of the way, EP+Co showed a genuine enthusiasm for this opportunity and for our business,” says Helen Bautista, VP of marketing at Havertys. “We were in awe of the amount of research, planning and work they did in such a short time—but, more importantly, how they strategically tied it all together to consider the furniture shopping journey in its entirety. We weren’t just looking for an ad agency but for a true partner, and that’s what we’ve found.”
Independent shop GYK Antler was named lead agency for Wahlburgers, the Boston-based chain of casual dining burger joints and bars owned by chef Paul Wahlberg and his brothers, actors Donnie and Mark Wahlberg. The agency says its first campaign will feature a fresh brand platform to support the chain as it looks to expand domestically and internationally. Work is expected to debut this month. Wahlburgers has more than 34 restaurants in North America, the U.K. and Europe, and recently ended a 10-year run as the subject of an A+E reality TV show.
The hires, moves and promotions
Kaylin Goldstein joined Publicis Groupe’s Leo Burnett Chicago as executive VP, strategy director. She is tasked with leading strategy for MillerCoors. Goldstein previously spent more than 12 years at MDC’s Crispin Porter + Bogusky, where she helped create campaigns like American Express’ “Small Business Saturday” and Kraft Mac & Cheese’s “World’s Largest Blind Taste Test.”
Syzygy Group in London’s Phil Stelter has been promoted to CEO of North America, a new position, from global chief media officer. The move comes as the agency, founded in 1995, looks to further expand its operations in North America in 2020. Stelter, who joined Syzygy in 2010 as client services director, will relocate to New York from London to head up the new position. He will report to Syzygy CEO Lars Lehne.
Following the win of Kimberly-Clark adult care brand Plenitud, FCB Brasil appointed Pablo Manzotti as creative director, Bibiana Saldanha as content editor and Fabio Freitas as chief growth officer. Manzotti returns to FCB Brasil, where he worked in 2013, after a creative stint at FCB Lisboa in Portugal. Saldanha joins from the Avon hub, Mutato, where she was content director. Freitas has been serving as media VP at FCB Brasil since 2016.
Jay Dettling became CEO of independent global marketing agency Ansira on Monday. Laurie MacLaren, who previously served as CEO in addition to chief financial and chief operating officer will keep her other two titles. Dettling was VP of global partners at Adobe, one of Ansira’s partners. Prior to that, he was a managing director for Accenture Interactive.
Peter Vandre was appointed as Dentsu Aegis Network’s Carat’s first chief analytics officer. Vandre was serving as the senior VP, global data science leader at Merkle, the data-marketing operation that Dentsu acquired in 2016. In the new role, he will work to align the capabilities of the Carat and Merkle brands to create one data-driven, tech-powered solution for clients. In addition to his Carat remit, Vandre will oversee the entire analytics offering across all of Dentsu’s media agencies.
MDC’s Forsman & Bodenfors hired Elias Kakomanolis to lead creative operations in its New York office. He will work with F&B’s creative, production, project management, account service and finance teams to foster further collaboration across the agency. Kakomanolis was the chief operating officer of Publicis’ Power of One agency team for client USAA.
Co:collective hired three new strategy leads: Athena Diaconis, who will specialize in experience design; Jessica Lehmann Ash, who will focus on brand and experience strategy; and Marilyn Markman, who will be responsible for brand and business strategy. The agency’s Aude Broos was also recently promoted to strategy lead. Diaconis most recently was running her own studio, collaborating with brands like Spotify, Foursquare and Google. Lehmann Ash joins from Fitch and Markman hails from Wolff Olins.
Marisa Giannini joined Laughlin Constable as director of paid search and social. Before coming aboard, Giannini was on the media team at Cramer-Krasselt and has worked with brands like Estee Lauder, Edward Jones, Craftsman/Kenmore and Procter & Gamble, among others. At Laughlin Constable, she will identify new opportunities within search and social to improve client’s overall performance and ROI.