Observatory taps Linda Knight as new chief creative officer

From left to right: Lucas Potter, Travis McMichael, Erin Schlissel, Sarah Karabibergian, Jae Goodman, Linda Knight, Benjamin Hinamanu, Caroline Doyle, Rod Kashani
From left to right: Lucas Potter, Travis McMichael, Erin Schlissel, Sarah Karabibergian, Jae Goodman, Linda Knight, Benjamin Hinamanu, Caroline Doyle, Rod Kashani

Knight's experience spans Phenomenon, TBWA\Chiat\Day and W+K.

Linda Knight will join Observatory as its new chief creative officer in February.

Knight is replacing the CCO team of Todd Hunter and Tony Fur, who have steered creative at Observatory, formerly CAA Marketing, for more than a decade.

Knight comes to Observatory from a similar position at Phenomenon, a small, Los Angeles-based agency. Prior to joining Phenomenon in late 2018, she worked at TBWA\Chiat\Day in Los Angeles.

The creative veteran was selected by Observatory for her ability to capture cultural moments for brands, noted Observatory CEO Jae Goodman, who worked with Knight on the Nike account at Wieden+Kennedy years ago. 

 "I’ve admired Linda’s work since we were colleagues at W+K — more years ago than either of us is willing to admit," said Goodman in an announcement. "In the (ahem) couple of decades since, she’s led global campaigns and agencies that took me beyond admiration to envy and jealousy."  

In addition to Knight, Observatory announced it was bringing on eight new hires, six of them new positions.

Knight is known for creating uplifting work for many sports-related brands. Besides her early days working on Nike, she has supported adidas and Gatorade. She can claim the sports/advertising trifecta, too, as she has created campaigns for the Super Bowl, Olympics and FIFA World Cup.

Other big-event campaigns include work for The GRAMMY’s. Of course, Observatory, with its deep Hollywood roots at CAA, is no stranger to a global celeb or big entertainment event.

Since becoming independent of CAA in 2017, Observatory has grown by number of clients, volume of work and new hires, which were up 28 percent in 2019, according to managing director, Brendan Shields-Shimizu.  

Some recent campaigns from Observatory include the launch of Marriott Bonvoy and Bonobos’ award-winning "Evolve the Definition" ads.

"I’ve been admiring Observatory's commitment to innovation in our industry for a while now, and couldn’t be more excited to join Jae's team," said Knight. "It’s going to be fun."

New hires joining Knight at Observatory include: Travis McMichael, the former VP of brand marketing at Pollen and previous head of brand marketing at Bang & Olufsen, has been named senior director of creative strategy; Caroline Doyle, former head of marketing for DTC fashion e-commerce brand Inez, and Lucas Potter, former account director of Live Nation, will be brand directors; and Rod Kashani, former senior strategist at TBWA\Media Arts Lab, and Erin Schlissel, former senior strategist from Saatchi & Saatchi will be senior strategists.

Additionally, Sarah Karabibergian, former senior art director from Barton F. Graf, will join a senior art director; and Benjamin Hinamanu, a former copywriter at TBWA\Media Arts Lab, will be a writer at Observatory.   

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