Movers & Shakers: Duncan Channon, NBCUniversal, The Richards Group, Messenger, Twilio

This week’s agency news, people on the move, campaign launches, tech and media must-reads.

For Thurs Oct 15

HED: Duncan Channon, NBCUniversal, The Richards Group, Messenger, Twilio

This week’s agency news, people on the move, campaign launches, tech and media must-reads

Agency news

Duncan Channon was named creative and media AOR for Covered California, the country’s largest state-run health insurance marketplace under the Affordable Care Act.

Havas Media Group was the first agency holding group to join the Conscious Advertising Network, a coalition that helps advertisers be more conscious about their societal impact.

In other AOR news, M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment will be the agency of record for wellness brand Ned, The Many was selected as creative AOR for Nestlé Dreyer’s Outshine and Utz appointed VaynerX-owned agency The Sasha Group as AOR.

Creative non-profit The One Club for Creativity merged with global typography organization Type Directors Club.

On the move

NBCUniversal elevated Linda Yaccarino to chairman of global advertising and partnerships, expanding her remit to data strategy, local and regional sports, and strategic initiatives.

After a senior talent exodus that included its global diversity, equity and inclusion lead, R/GA has promoted Jai Tedeschi to be its first VP, global executive director of culture and operations.

Merkle’s in-housing unit, Filter, named former Deloitte Digital managing director Todd Paris as CEO.

Angela Barber has been hired as SVP of content production at Wunderman Thompson in North America.

FCB New York named Michael Aimette co-CCO, alongside Gabriel Schmitt.

Kasia Bannon was promoted to group EVP of Design Bridge, and Tim Perkins was elevated to group chairman.

The Many brought on Vanessa Shanahan to lead its data and analytics practice.

Doner hired Stacie Lydia to run the Johnson & Johnson business.

Indie agency Tinuiti brought on 360i vet Kolin Kleveno as first-ever SVP of addressable audiences.

Location data company GroundTruth named former president Stephen McCarthy CEO.

Creative intelligence platform VidMob appointed former CAA exec Jeff Filiberto to lead its new marketing transformation practice, and former Amazon exec Susan Naci to lead global sales and partnerships in the luxury and beauty vertical.

Election run-up

Facebook said it will suspend political ads on U.S. election day, and Twitter will slow down retweets heading up to the election to make it harder for posts to go viral.

Joe Biden resumed attack ads on President Donald Trump after pausing in response to his COVID-19 diagnosis; Dr. Fauci criticized the Trump campaign for featuring him in a political ad that used his comments out of context and without consent.

Kanye West released his first campaign ad with a focus on faith, family and prayer.

Sony Music Group’s latest spot features famous artists urging people to vote as a way to use their voice and claim their power.

Beauty brand Alleyoop will give away free products to customers who register to vote.

Huge launched the “Sick OF IT day” campaign in partnership with, encouraging people to vote early.

The work

Facebook’s Messenger got a rebrand after more closely integrating with Instagram.

Shine, a self-care app for BIPOC people, rolled out its first national TV spot, by Droga5, to spread awareness for the app and Global Mental Health day.

AMC enters the streaming wars with a new spot by London-based Bigsmall.

Today in celebrity tie-ups: A new Xbox campaign featuring Daniel Kaluuya, a Nike spot voiced by Cristiano Ronaldo and a Drizly and Dos Hombres partnership that had Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul deliver tequila to people for their missed 2020 birthdays as socially distant bots.

Two beer brand campaigns this week: Heineken’s alcohol-free 0.0 brand gets people to celebrate Sober October on social media, while Budweiser continues its “Be A King” campaign with a new spot featuring Halsey.

Wieden+Kennedy released a launch campaign for Oda, home speakers that deliver original live performances to the home, with cartoon animation.

Two consumer tech spots this week: Dell takes viewers on a CGI journey that highlights key features of its UltraSharp monitor, and Microsoft positions its Surface Laptop Go as the ideal distance learning tool in a spot by Blk Ops.

Verizon and Mint Mobile are out with celebrity-driven campaigns promoting 5G, the former starring Chris Rock and latter starring owner Ryan Reynolds. And T-Mobile teamed up with Betty Crocker on a ... 5G layer cake?

Amazon Web Services is out with a spot by Little Hands of Stone featuring NFL player Deshaun Watson breaking down complex stats from the game, powered by AWS.

360i developed an AI bot for Kroger to help people shop.

Kraft pulled its “Send Noods” campaign after receiving backlash from consumers.

A new campaign for Behind the Record aims to raise awareness for the people behind the scenes of our favorite musical artists and performers in a new spot by TBWA\Chiat\Day LA, and launches an artist petition to give credit where it’s due.

Tech download

Facebook is (very) slowly but surely removing heinous content from its platform, including Holocaust denials and ant-vax ads.

Software platform Twilio acquired martech company Segment for $3.2 billion, lending credibility to the burgeoning customer data platform (CDP) category.

Busy week for ad tech M&A: IT giant Infosys acquired digital consultancy Blue Acorn iCi; privacy compliance platform Sourcepoint bought UK-based privacy platform RedBud; and video ad network Vungle bought app performance optimization platform AlgoLift.

Brand safety is getting hot in the CTV space. DoubleVerify and Pixability both launched solutions this week, with the latter focused on YouTube and YouTube TV.

AICP launched ABID, a platform for commercial producers to manage bids more easily and transparently.

YouTube is stepping up its ecommerce game through an integration with Shopify and is asking creators to tag products included in their clips to track conversions through Google Shopping.

On D&I

Motel 6 fired The Richards Group, its agency of 34 years, after founder Stan Richards made racist comments that a new campaign was “too Black” and would not jive with the brand’s “significant white supremicist constituents.”

Facebook launched its #BuyBlack Friday campaign, in partnership with US Black Chambers, to encourage people to support Black-owned businesses this holiday season. The campaign includes toolkits for businesses, a curated gift guide and a live weekly show through November featuring Black business owners, artists and creators.

Yelp will ban pages of business owners who have been accused of racism.

Oreo launched “Proud Parent,” a film in partnership with PFLAG that celebrates the role of family in the coming out process for LGBTQ+ history month, and will release limited edition rainbow Oreos.

SheaMoisture’s new campaign celebrates Black beauty, identity and culture in a spot produced and created by an all-Black team.

Pony Malta and MullenLowe SSP3 used TikTok’s dub feature to allow young girls to share the words of prominent women throughout history on the platform.

The ANA Alliance for Inclusive and Multicultural Marketing elevated John Dillon of Denny’s, Alicia Encisco of Nestlé and Paul Alexander of Eastern Bank to its leadership team.

In the media

WarnerMedia will cut thousands of jobs in a massive restructure to cut costs by 20%. Disney also announced a major restructure this week to reorganize its business around streaming.

The New York Times launched an ad platform that allows marketers to access its customer insights.

CBS unveiled its first-ever brand refresh to be more relevant to today’s consumers. 

Spotify will roll out its self-serve Ad Studio buying platform in Spain and Mexico, its first launch outside of English-speaking markets.

Snap’s First Commercial ad unit is out of beta.

Emarketer revised its U.S. digital ad spend forecast upward from 6.2% to 10% growth in 2020.

For good

Esports company Skillshot and agency the community teamed up to launch Gamer Therapy to break gamer stereotypes in time for World Mental Health Day.

MullenLowe Group created a limited edition clothing line to raise funds for plastic pollution on World Octopus Day. Proceeds will be donated to Plastic Oceans International.

Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain will give away one million bars to teachers across America.

Comcast is offering thousands of grants, equipment and other marketing and technology resources to small businesses hit hardest by COVID-19.

Agency Colle McVoy partnered with nonprofit Little Free Library to launch the Read in Color initiative, which aims to bring more diverse books by underrepresented voices to global communities


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