Huge makes two big additions

A new general manager and group director of creative join the growing agency as it expands it service offering.

Huge Toronto has hired Emily Bond as general manager and Vassilios “Vass” Alexiou as group director of creative, both new roles at the agency as it grows its team, areas of expertise and its “fully connected” offering for clients.

Bond joins from Razorfish, where she has been managing director of its Toronto office. She had retained a leadership position at the agency when Nurun – where she had been general manager since 2010 – merged with Razorfish in 2015.

Alexiou comes to Huge from the U.K., where he was head of experience design at retailer Marks & Spencer. Prior to that, he was known for a number of creative leadership positions at agencies across London, including BBH, Dare and Less Rain, which he founded in 1998.

Paul Burns, managing director of Huge Toronto, says the new roles bring an added level of seniority and operational knowledge to the existing talent on its client service, strategy and creative teams as the agency has been taking on bigger roles with its clients.

“When we engage with c-suite executives and create the next ten years of their business, it requires a bench of talent that can rise to that occasion,” he says. “We have amazing teams already, but doing things that are transformational are never easy. These roles give us the operational foundation to do some of these big projects.”

Huge established its Toronto office in late 2014, and at the outset was primarily doing project-based digital work for clients. Over the last two years, the agency’s work has evolved to larger-scale work and digital transformation projects, which requires deeper strategic thinking, more of a long-term view of the business and exploring the ways new technologies, such as AI, may impact it.

“We’re essentially being asked to design a client’s future, which is much different than developing an app or website or product,” Burns says. “The need for these new roles was felt as we saw the acceleration and growth in both the team and the requests from clients. In order to help us scale and build the business, these roles felt like fundamental linchpins in moving forward.”

Huge now also has more than 100 employees in Toronto, with clients including Canada Goose, Four Seasons, Nike, Google and MEC.

In February, Huge launched a new global physical design practice based in Toronto and led by former Jacknife partner Matt Hexemer. The new practice moved what has traditionally been a digital-focused agency into design work for things like packaging, products and retail environments. However, Burns says the idea of “digital transformation” has always been very holistic at Huge, as it includes everything from pricing to user experience to the purchase journey. The new practice is not only bringing that approach to physical design, but examining and design the ways those two realms interact with each other.

“Being able to connect the physical world with the digital world in a unified, beautiful way is a real priority for our clients,” Burns says. “Two and a half years ago, I’d say that was maybe a priority, but it was still a bit on the fringe. Today, we hear that from every client we talk to. We’re trying to be the architects of a truly, fully connected brand experience.”