In Brief: Salt XC buys a fellow commerce-focused agency

Plus, Hill+Knowlton names new leader in Toronto and Mint hires a new group strategy director from Sid Lee.

Salt XC acquires Brika

Experiential and commerce agency Salt XC has bought fellow retail-focused agency Brika.

Founded in 2012 by Jen Lee Kloss, Brika specializes in retail design and pop-up commerce experiences. In addition to its home town of Toronto, the agency has also run pop-ups across the U.S. – one of the driving factors of the acquisition was to drive growth across North America, according to Koss, who will remain with the company. Salt XC, founded two years ago, has offices in Toronto, Chicago and Los Angeles.

“As brands continue to grow rapidly online, they are also realizing the critical need to connect with consumers in the real world as well,” says Jeff Rogers, president of Salt XC. “Our branded Brika locations, combined with brand specific pop-ups, will allow for reduced cost and risk for brand owners to round out their omnichannel efforts.”

H+K names new GM in Toronto

Hill+Knowlton Strategies has promoted Lindsay Finneran-Gingras to SVP and general manager of its Toronto office.

She will work with deputy GM Allison Dewhirst to lead the agency’s head office. Kristy Payne, the agency’s previous Toronto GM, was named H+K’s chief operating officer in 2020, and had been filling a dual role until last year.

Finneran-Gingras first joined H+K in 2017 as VP of digital and social, before taking the lead on the agency’s content, publishing and digital planning efforts in 2020.

H+K has grown its headcount in Toronto by 60% since the end of 2020. New senior additions in the time have included Beatrice Politi, VP of earned media; Caroline Dunnet, VP of consumer markets; Emrul Hassan, VP of citizenship and sustainability; and Greg Gray, CD at in-house creative and design division The Studio.

Mint hires new group strategy director

Elliott Altilla has joined Toronto independent agency Mint as its new group strategy director.

Altilla is coming off of more than seven years at Sid Lee. First joining the agency’s strategy team in 2014, he was named director of strategy for the Toronto office in 2020 before taking over duties for the agency’s U.S. operations the following year. During his time with the agency, his client list has included Molson Coors, The Canadian Olympic Committee and Subway.

Growing the strategy offering and bringing senior leadership like Altilla is a key strategic priority at Mint, having transitioned from an experiential and PR focused shop to a more holistic agency in recent years. As part of that effort, the agency hired Kelly Deuster as executive strategy director at the beginning of 2021, though she left for the same role at Ogilvy in December. Also as part of that shift, Mint hired Laura Rothstein as creative director last fall.