IPG’s Initiative Hires Creative Talent To Win Pitchapalooza

CCOThe ongoing media reviews have created inroads for agencies to use creative, informed by data, as a strategy to win new business.

In a bid to take advantage of this growing opportunity, Initiative, the IPG Mediabrands-owned agency, hired Nick Childs as its first-ever global chief creative officer on Sept. 1.

“As a lot of media goes into review, media agencies, creative agencies and PR agencies are all chasing a bigger circle of overlapping accounts,” Childs said. “Considering how much media was transferring hands this summer and into the fall, this is an opportune time to come in and be additive to good teams already tasked with getting some of that business.”

Earlier this month, IPG Mediabrands also brought on Mat Baxter as global chief strategy and creative officer, another newly created role, which could signal the holding company’s efforts to marry its creative and analytics efforts.

With new business up for grabs, clients expect to see big strategic ideas from various agencies, Childs said.

“My job is not to make a media plan more creative, or make a data and analytics presentation more creative, it’s to learn and import that thinking from existing teams and use it to spur ideas,” he said.

Childs was drawn to Initiative for “the promise” of what media agencies could become if they offered different skill sets. That includes combining creative thinking with data-driven strategizing and bringing creative talent closer to the analytics that fuel media planning and buying today.

“There’s a strategy behind it that leads to briefing creatives toward creating better success for brands, clients and campaigns,” Childs said. “Through understanding programmatic, data and analytics, we’re able to connect better with the audience in the smartest way.”

Many creatives haven’t been exposed to programmatic, data and analytics at various agency functions, according to Childs.

“You learn what is going to work best and you start to understand what you can create for different platforms and, most importantly, why you would create it,” Childs said.

For that reason, creative leadership is starting to trickle down from the holding company level to individual agencies, he added. The strategy is not to create silos of creative talent at each agency, but to appoint a creative lead who can work with other chief creative officers across a holding company.

“The key word in my job title is ‘global,’” Childs said. “In my case, this is a role to come in and travel to distinct offices to work with those teams.”

That core, global group will therefore be tasked with fostering a cohesive creative strategy that’s informed by data and spans across IPG agencies.

Childs joins Initiative following a five-year stint at FleishmanHillard, a New York City public relations firm under the Omnicom umbrella. He previously served as head of content development at Grey New York.

Initiative’s roster of clients includes Unilever, SAB Miller and BMW. The agency’s roughly 2,500 employees work from offices in 73 countries around the globe. Childs reports directly to Initiative Global CEO Jim Elms.

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