PJDDB restructures

Does a rose by any other name smell as sweet?...

Does a rose by any other name smell as sweet?

Palmer Jarvis DDB is hoping it’ll smell sweeter. The agency has dispensed with the traditional "client services" model in favour of a "brand management" model in an effort to better integrate its various divisions and bring a more holistic approach to its clients’ brands.

Under the new structure, the brand management group will be responsible for developing the overall strategic platform for a client’s brand across all of the agency’s disciplines – including traditional advertising, online communications, database marketing, branding and design and youth marketing.

The brand management concept was initially tested in PJDDB’s Vancouver office and is now being introduced to the Toronto office. The concept will be rolled out to the agency’s offices in Winnipeg and Edmonton as needed.

Frank Palmer, the agency’s CEO, says such an approach is critical to ensuring that a brand’s strategy remains consistent across all disciplines.

He says the agency’s various units – including DDB Digital, DDB Response, DDB Karacters Design and KidThink – will continue to operate as they have been with their individual clients, but in cases where the strategy is conceived by the general advertising agency, the brand manager will have the last word on how it will be handled across all disciplines.

"If you can handle all their business and you can handle it with one smart person across all disciplines – that’s what they want you to do," says Palmer.

That may be so, but some industry watchers believe it isn’t a coincidence that PJDDB began restructuring about the same time that national creative director Chris Staples left the agency to start Rethink Communications with colleagues Ian Grais and Tom Shepansky.

One agency source who asked not to be identified says PJDDB needed to improve its service offering if it was going to stem the flow of clients to Rethink.

Another says Palmer had wanted to put the focus on brand management for some time, but couldn’t as long as Staples – a big believer in the pre-eminence of creative – was still there.

This is the second time that Palmer Jarvis has reinvented itself. Seven years ago, the agency – which had built its reputation as a retail shop – set out to become a creative powerhouse. Last year, it captured Strategy’s Agency of the Year award.

Zulu grows its team and makes a slate of promotions

A director of interactive production for Zulubot is among dozens of new faces and roles at the agency, in response to recent wins.
Zulu Alpha Kilo_New Zuligans

Toronto indie shop Zulu Alpha Kilo had made several new hires and promotions on the heels of new business and also organic growth from existing clients.

Zulu could not officially announce the account wins at this time.

However, it can report that Ece Inan, most recently at Toronto design and tech shop Array of Stars, has been named the agency’s new director of interactive production for Zulubot, the agency’s production arm. In the new role, Inan will lead AR, VR, voice and other digital innovation projects.

Also on the production side, James Graham, who has spent the last 17 years with Grip, has joined the agency as its studio director.

Zulu has also made numerous additions on the client services side, led by Michael Brathwaite, also from Grip, as account director.

It’s also announced a spate of new account supervisors, including Hayley Blackmore (from G Adventures), Risa Kastelic (from BT/A), Kara Oddi (also from BT/A), Emily Anzarouth (also from Grip), Chris Rosario (from FCB/Six) and Sarah Shiff (from Rethink).

In addition to the new hires (pictured above), the agency has also announced several promotions: Alyssa Guttman moves from account director to group account director, while Nina Bhayana, Michelle Fournier, Jenn Gaidola-Sobral and Erin McManus have all been promoted to account director, and Haley Holm to account supervisor. On the strategy team, strategists Carly Miller and Spencer MacEachern have both been promoted to strategy director, while Shaunagh Farrelly, who has been with Zulu for two years in a client service role, moves into a new role as a digital strategist.

In December, the shop also announced that Stephanie Yung would be returning to the agency after a stint in New York as its head of design. Recent wins the agency has been able to announce including work as AOR for the Ottawa Senators, as well as a new arrangement with existing client Consonant Skincare, setting up an in-house team to support growth after taking an equity stake in the company.

Zulu president Mike Sutton says it’s wonderful, in a new year, to welcome new faces and energy to the team and says the agency is fortunate to have had so many people across the agency step up to support its clients.

“Simply put, they were rock stars, and the promotions are very well deserved,” Sutton says.