Movers & Shakers: Taco Bell, McDonald’s, Chili’s, Uber and more

This week’s agency news, people on the move and brand buzz.

In the pitch room 

Johnson & Johnson named MDC Partners’ Doner as creative agency for its U.S. baby brands, Johnson’s Baby and Aveeno Baby.

Dating app Match tapped Mojo Supermarket for a new brand positioning and creative.

Behr selected UM as its media agency of record, leading media strategy, planning, buying, and data and analytics for the Behr Paint DIY, Professional and KILZ brands.

HBO Max selected ENGINE as its social media agency of record.

Credit Sesame tapped Colle McVoy as its lead creative agency.

Olli Brands Inc. named Mint it's agency of record, leading brand strategy, brand design and content production for the company’s cannabis products in Canada.

Twinlab Consolidation Corporation selected Circus Maximus to lead brand strategy, marketing, ecommerce and media buying for the company’s Twinlab, Reserveage and ResVitále brands.

Carrier Global Corporation tapped Seattle-based agency PB& to lead Supra’s first brand campaign.

Agency news

Omnicom's DDB is expanding its gaming and esports division, DDB FTW, with more than 20 officers across Latin America, Europe and APAC.

Acceleration Community of Companies partnered with Todd Garner’s Broken Road Productions on creative production.

Dawn added co:collective to its portfolio of independent agencies, and EX.CO acquired video tech company Cedato.

Carat US partnered with creative and social agency Hero Collective to help brands create purpose-driven media approaches.

On the Move

The Richards Group tapped Nikki Wilson as its new chief talent and culture officer. She will rebuild the agency’s culture after founder Stan Richards made racist comments in a pitch six months ago, leading to a mass exodus from the agency.

Havas Media Group appointed Meghan Grant as chief strategy officer in North America.

Droga5 global chief strategy officer Jonny Bauer stepped down to join investment firm Blackstone, and Harry Román-Torres was promoted to chief brand strategy officer at the agency.

Nerf named Sophie Jamison its first chief TikTok officer. Jamison has more than 1.8 million followers of her @Nerfers101 account.

Alexis Nasard stepped down as CEO of Kantar after only four months in the job.

Benjamin Blank was appointed as Warner Music Group’s first president of media to lead its digital advertising and creative content division.

Telemundo named iHeartMedia vet Federico Garza as SVP of research strategy and insights.

Publicis’ Hawkeye tapped Jill Lyons as EVP of delivery, Mike Chung as SVP, strategy director, and Brendon Volpe as SVP, strategy and marketing.

Black Glass added Jason Moyer as its newest partner, leading marketing strategy and organization design. Christine Cifra was also appointed to managing director, operations, and Clay Jones was named managing director, organization design.

FCBCURE appointed Debra Polkes as creative partner and co-managing director, and Mojo Supermarket tapped ex-Droga5 vet Ryan McDaid as group strategy director.

Chemistry hired 36 new staffers including Christy Bates as VP client lead and Marcello Figallo as VP consumer experience in Pittsburgh.

Crispin PorterBogusky vet Kelly Rowntree joined independent agency Griffin Archer as co-CEO. CPB also welcomed Abbie Baeh as chief strategy officer, Danielle Tarris as head of production and Jason Perce as head of creative diversity.

Sean Greene joined RTB House as VP of U.S. agency sales.

WorkInProgress hired creative directors Kelly McCormick and D’Arcy O’Neill to lead the Domino’s account.

United Minds named Kate Bullinger as CEO, Tai Wingfield as EVP, DE&I, and Courtney Jones as SVP, DE&I.

Google vet James Cashmore joined DoubleVerify as its SVP of global client and agency partnerships.

Jackman promoted multiple people, including Sandra Duff to president, Stefan Read to SVP engagement advisory & strategy practice lead, Mladen Svigir to SVP engagement advisory & business development/performance lead, Hilary Hayes to VP of finance, Tammy Van Eck to VP people & operations and Beverly Vaters to VP design and activation practice lead.

SYLVAIN named Michael Ian Kaye, founder of Mother Design, as the consultancy’s first-ever chief design officer.

Dentsu media Americas appointed Kedma Pognon Brown as chief operating officer.

Wunderman Thompson tapped Jenny Harris as executive director, account management in its Midwest region.

The Bloc, an independent health creative agency, promoted Antoinette Bobbitt to EVP, integrated strategy.

Brand Buzz

Free food alert: McDonald’s is giving away free McFlurries to people who mistook its spoon for a straw. Taco Bell is giving away free tacos on May 4 to celebrate the moon looking like a taco during its waning crescent phase. Auntie Anne’s gave away free pretzels in honor of National Pretzel Day.

BBC America rebranded its on-air look, including its new tagline, “Brit-ish,” which celebrates its dual British and American roots.

Wall Street Journal launched its new brand platform and campaign, “Trust Your Decisions,” to grow subscribers.

Tostitos introduced its new limited-edition chip, Sweet Lime and Sea Salt.

Chili’s is hosting “Hide and Cinco,” a scavenger Hunt on Cinco de Mayo across five U.S. cities, where participants search for piñatas stuffed with exclusive brand merch and a $500 Chili’s gift card. 

Goldfish is debuting Frank’s RedHot crackers, and Smartfood introduced a Krispy Kreme doughnut-flavored popcorn.

Schlotzsky’s is offering a BOGO sandwich promotion through May 2 for people who sign up for its loyalty program.

For good

Uber is donating 10 million rides to help people get to their COVID-19 vaccine appointments.

Unilever’s Love Beauty & Planet has committed to making its packaging 100% recyclable, refillable or compostable and to net zero emissions by 2030.

El Pollo Loco launched its “Strong Like a Madre” grant initiative to help moms who put their dreams on pause due to the pandemic. Twelve winners will receive a $5,000 “Madreship” grant that gives them resources to get back to pursuing their dreams.

PepsiCo launched “Team of Champions,” a $1 million equitable soccer program that will fund 11 local organizations with field time, equipment, mentoring, coaching and training.

Tequila Don Julio established the Tequila Don Julio Fund with a commitment of $1 million in aid to charities whose missions help the community.

Puma will release a special-edition T-shirt on May 1 with 100% of proceeds, up to $15,000, benefiting LGBTQ+ advocacy organization The Trevor Project.

Maggi and Dorina Nowill Foundation for the Blind launched the first sensorial culinary guide for visually impaired people.

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