I know good writing never buries the lede, but before I get too into the news that I am joining the DDB family as Director of Social Media and leading the Radar DDB brand in Toronto as well as working within the Tribal DDB team (link to “official” news release), I wanted to take a few moments of your time to recognise some people who have played a truly enormous role in my life for the last 12 months, and to reflect on the successes we have achieved together at com.motion.
First, Sean McDonald. I hired Sean as an account manager in June of last year and he has proven to be an amazing hire. Smart, strategic, creative and an all round great guy. I loved that we could disagree on many many things (iPhone vs. BlackBerry for example) but still work incredibly closely and effectively. I’m delighted that he’s been promoted to Account Director.
Bryan Feheley joined us an intern in May 2010 and has gone on to prove himself an invaluable engagement coordinator with a killer combination of FBML, community management and online listening skills. Bryan should be promoted to engagement engineer (or equivalent) later this year and when it happens, I can’t think of anyone who deserves it more.
Lynn Eastep joined the gang first as an outside consultant and then officially as SVP in September. Lynn really helped us revitalise the practice and anyone who has worked with her before will know what an amazing colleague she is. I am eternally indebted to Lynn for all she has done for me both at Fleishman-Hillard and now at com.motion.
Within Veritas, there are too many (forty-some to be precise) to thank individually but I’d to acknowledge our President, Bev Hammond, who has been a tireless supporter and advocate of the team, the MPR team leads of Kathy Murphy (herself now senior director of PR for Rogers Communications) and her partner in crime, Caroline “no relation” Murphy both of whom trusted my team with their most important clients as did the rest of the management team at Veritas, past and present.
Given the chance, I would work with everyone at Veritas in general and com.motion specifically in a heartbeat. I expect great things from them in the future – per the holding statement on the com.motion Web site:
It has been quite the year at com.motion. We ran the largest social media campaign that this country will see for the foreseeable future in the Make It Seven campaign – which supported Jim Balsillie’s bid to bring the Phoenix Coyotes to Hamilton. We grew by around 250 per cent in the midst of one of the worst recessions of the last century and we did some stellar work introducing social media to some large organizations in Canada – Vincor, Canada Dry Motts, Hershey Canada, Diageo and SUBWAY to name but a few. We did work and set up processes and measurement frameworks which I hope will stand the test of time. I’m very proud of all the models and products we created at com.motion together.
On a personal level, it was also a pretty incredible year. Not only did I see my “baby” at work grow and mature, but I had my own baby in real life – my son, Morgan, was born in October and I challenge you to find a cuter, more adorable baby! It was also pretty cool to make my TV debut and be named as one of the marketers under 30 to watch by Marketing Mag.
With all that great work in mind, and with a stellar team, why am I joining the DDB family as Director of Social Media to lead the Radar DDB brand in Toronto?
Well, after speaking to the team here, I believe that Radar DDB is Canada’s best kept secret in social media marketing: a multi-million dollar social media consultancy based out of Vancouver which is incredibly integrated into Tribal DDB and the mothership, DDB Canada. If you’ve seen the localsknow.ca tv spots for the Canadian Tourism Commission (see below) then you’ve seen the great work that Radar has been lauded for and which landed the CTC the coveted award as Marketer of the Year.
To be honest, since I joined iStudio in 2006, its been very clear to me that I am a much better as a communications guy in a Web shop than I am the Web guy in a PR shop. My last 12 months have taught me that I very much want to focus on social media, but as an integrated discipline. Leading the Radar offering in Toronto means I’ll be reporting into the MD at Tribal DDB, Andrew McCartney which essentially returns me to my Web roots and I’ll also be working closely with the DDB account teams.
I’ve seen traditional media relations campaigns ignite social media conversation. I’ve seen social media drive traditional earned media coverage. But more than that, I’ve seen how important the role of mass media is in starting strategically driven conversations online. Traditional advertising is still the most effective way to ignite the online conversation. Social media purists (and Pepsi) may disagree but realists know that this is the truth and will remain so for many years to come. Just look at the conversations around the Superbowl creative which have inspired some truly colourful conversations.
When DDB offered me a position as someone who can not only work on social media every day (Radar DDB) but integrate social into its digital offering (Tribal DDB) and its traditional advertising offering, it made me stop and think. There’s so much I want to do in this space which I would never be able to at any PR agency, however tightly or deeply integrated digital/social media is. At the majority of clients, brand strategy is led by the planners and creatives from a mass perspective and my firm belief is that social media needs to be implemented on the brand side, rather than on a campaign by campaign basis. So for me to be effective and do the sort of rewarding work I want to do, Radar DDB made and still makes sense.
It does feel weird and counter intuitive leaving the PR space, especially given the flow into PR from the advertising industry on a larger, more senior scale (see: Armano, David and Edelman), but this feels right to me. I’m especially excited about the prospect of working with the brilliant strategic planning team here at DDB as well as the world class creative team.
How brilliant and how creative? Well, DDB Canada was named Strategy’s 2009 Agency of the Year and Top Creative Agency and is the most creatively acclaimed, internationally recognized marketing communications agency in Canada. In 2009, DDB was named Global Network of the Year by Campaign magazine and Tribal DDB was named Digital Agency of the Year by Media.
So, so much more to come in the next few weeks with some awesome clients. Thanks for indulging me in reading this post and please stay tuned!