T1 names three new business leaders

Carlos Garavito, Ryan Hughes and Catherine Mass join the agency to keep it competitive.

The summer has brought changes to Toronto agency T1, where Carlos Garavito, Ryan Hughes and Catherine Mass have been hired to lead important aspects of the agency’s business.

These additions will shape the further evolution of an agency born “below the line” that is evolving to keep pace with agency competition.

Carlos Garavito

Carlos Garavito

Garavito has been named VP and creative director, and will take over the responsibilities of Graham Lee, who is now the creative leader of T1 Motion, the agency’s fledgling content and production arm.

T1′s president and CEO Mark Harrison had worked with Garavito previously on a cross-agency project for the Coca-Cola brand. “Some very tough people” at T1 who had also worked with Garavito gave him “glowing reviews” and named him a strong candidate to replace Lee (who led the agency’s 2015 rebranding from TrojanOne.)

Garavito has held senior creative roles at several agencies in the Cossette/Vision 7 network, as well as OgilvyOne.

Ryan Hughes, meanwhile, joins in the newly created role of director of business strategy. Formerly a marketing manager with Nestle, he oversaw work in its ice cream and healthy aging portfolios.

Ryan Hughes

Ryan Hughes

Harrison says he could have put “Made Up Job” on Hughes’ T1 business card. The two first met last year when “I wasn’t looking to hire him, and he wasn’t looking for a job,” he says. But the CEO has been doing vision planning since that time and saw Hughes as an ideal person to help evolve the business. “We literally made up his job.”

Being a former marketing manager, Hughes has begun consulting on client pitches, but has also been studying what types of new clients should pursue and looking for high-sponsorship-spending, low-competition markets to grow into.

Catherine Mass joins as a senior hand on the account team as account director. A 15-year veteran of agencies such as GMR Marketing and Inventa, Mass has led successful shopper marketing and experiential programs.

“She’s really helping drive our Ontario Lotteries business,” one of T1′s largest clients, Harrison says.

Catherine Mass

Catherine Mass

Founded as Trojan Sports Marketing and going on to build credentials in the broader experiential and shopper marketing space under the name TrojanOne, T1 now finds itself in a market where more large-scale agencies offer those services. The trio of new hires is meant to keep a step ahead of that enlarged competitive group.

“Looking back at the old above-the-line/below-the-line world, lots of my comrades said ‘the ad agencies are getting killed by digital and they’ll never figure our space out,’” Harrison says. “But I started going to award show after award show where the ad agencies were winning everything we were pitching.”

Lee was initially hired to help build T1′s creative credentials to keep the shop competitive. Garavito will carry that forward while Hughes and Mass attend to clients’ evolving demands.

“Ad agencies are higher up the food chain that we are, they’re earlier in the planning process than we are,” Harrison says. As those ad agencies face new, large-scale competitors such as consultancies like Deloitte and Accenture, Harrison expects they’ll march further into his territory to find new business.