Jacknife hires its first president

Cameron Wykes joins to help the design agency shift to a more holistic and strategic approach.

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Jacknife has brought on someone to the president’s role for the first time, hiring Cameron Wykes to help grow the agency’s existing design offering into something more holistic for clients.

Wykes is likely best known for his digital leadership roles at creative agencies. He founded digital agencies Mighty Digital (which was acquired by Bensimon Byrne in 2004) and Push Interactive (which merged with Zig in 2008), and was ECD of digital at Zig. He later joined KBS Canada, where he was chief innovation officer and president of social, web and digital divisions Attention and BabyRobot.

After leaving KBS, Wykes moved to consulting, and was chief experience officer at PWC until earlier this year. It was as a consultant that Wykes met with Jacknife co-founders Mikey Richardson and CEO Marawan El-Asfahanito help develop the next stage of the agency’s business plan after being created in 2013. Shortly after that, Wykes was asked to join the agency permanently to help operationalize and implement the new plan.

“I think I was done with advertising,” Wykes says. “I come from a graphic design background, so it felt like a good fit to come back into that space. Jacknife is such a unique opportunity because your creative ability ebs and flows depending on what creative teams you have at your disposal. The great thing about Jacknife is Mike [Kelar] and Mikey are the creative engine here, on top of all the other talented designers here. So I know there’s bigger things still to happen here.”

In addition to growing Jacknife’s brand and business, the major part of the new plan Wykes will oversee is growing the agency’s service offering to what he calls a “brand engagement” philosophy. Instead of just focusing on design and having creative at the forefront of its offering, the agency will aim to take a more strategic approach and look at everything the brand touches, namely things like experiential, branded environments and technology. Wykes also says he would like to build on Jacknife’s digital team and take “a deeper dive” into that area, allowing the agency to explore more possibilities when it comes to infusing those disciplines into its existing expertise in design.

“It’s not a full agency approach, per se,” Wykes says. “But we are taking a more holistic approach to strategically look at all the brand interactions with the customer, seeing which ones are the most potent at engaging consumers and leveraging our existing creative and design chops against those. It’s not a mandate to go super different, but there is a lot of room in the areas Jacknife already had creative success to really blow it up into something fun and interesting.”