After spending nearly two decades at AKQA, first in London and the last 10 years in San Francisco, Neil Robinson is moving on from his longtime home and embarking on a “new adventure,” sources familiar with the matter confirm. From what we’ve been told, today is Robinson’s last day at AKQA SF, where he’s spent nearly the last two years as executive creative director. According to sources, fellow AKQA SF ECD Stephen Clements, who’s been with the agency for a dozen years, will continue to lead creative in San Francisco and AKQA is in the process of seeking the right candidate to help lead the department.
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Sources familiar with the matter confirm that come this month’s end, AKQA vet will be leaving the agency. No word yet on where he’s headed to next, but Pullum has spent the last dozen years at the agency, most recently serving as group creative director out of its San Francisco. As GCD, a position he’s held for seven years Pullum first led digital marketing efforts on Visa but has spent the last two-and-a-half years leading digital creative on Audi of America including the redesign of AudiUSA.com.
During his nearly 25 years in the biz, Pullum had stints as an art director at the likes of W+K and Hal Riney before moving up the creative ranks.
We’re pretty big Massive Attack fans here, so we were pretty excited to learn that lead Massive Attack member Robert Del Naja (better known as 3D) composed the music for AKQA’s “Written in the Stars” app for iPhone and iPad.
The app allows users to send their holiday greetings into the sky, to be received by star gazing iPhone/iPad users when they hold their devices up to the night sky. It’s a cool, original way to send messages to loved ones with iOS devices — especially if the recipient is fond of astronomy.
3D’s music is also featured in the online spot for the app (featured above), and it’s predictably great. But then, we wouldn’t expect anything less from Naja. Check out the “Written in the Stars” app and let us know what you think in the comments section.
There’s not a whole lot to go on at this point (sorry), but sources familiar with the matter confirm that AKQA cut “less than 1%” of staff in its San Francisco office last Friday. We’ve been hearing on the Spy line that numbers range anywhere from 10-25 (Facebook posts last week also mentioned a less specific figure of “a whole bunch” being let go) but we don’t have much further info except to say that it was just the San Francisco office that was affected. What we’ve been told by those in the know, though, is that the WPP-owned agency has “many more open positions.” We’ll keep you posted if and when we hear more.
Update: So, sources tell us that last Friday’s cuts were made across departments at AKQA SF, which has a staff count of approximately 440. If our sources are speaking truth, then the numbers are far less severe than what we’ve been hearing via tipsters. Feel free to chime in below if you wish.
AKQA senior art director Andrew Wendling has, in his own words, “decided to finally give in and make the logo bigger” on his new Tumblr dedicated to enlarged versions of famous logos. We’re not sure where the perceived pressure for this project was coming from, but if you’re a design junky, this kind of thing should be right up your alley.
Logos featured on the site include Batman, Playboy, Starbucks, Red Bull, Panda Express, Shell, NBC, and others. So far the project includes two pages of blown-up logos, but check back for updates. Seeing the logos in the zoomed in, larger format does help cast them in a different light. The Starbucks logo, in particular, reveals details you might miss from the regular sized version.
This reminds us a little bit of Nick DiLallo and Doug Zaner‘s project animating the evolution of famous logos, which we covered last month. Check out Wendling’s logo-enlarging project here, and sound off in the comments section with your opinion.
Well, a phone call confirms at the very least that Ian Chee, who’s spent the last three years give or take as director, co-head of strategy/planning at AKQA New York, is no longer with the agency. From what we’ve been told on the Spy line, Chee’s moved over to fellow NYC operation MRY (formerly Mr. Youth), which of course merged with LBi a few months ago, to serve as its head of planning. We’ve been told that Chee assumed his post at MRY this week, but as far as his old position at AKQA goes, no word yet if there are any immediate plans to replace him.
Prior to AKQA, Chee held senior strategic planning positions in both the Asia-Pacific region and New York at the likes of Leo Burnett, McCann (global lead on Intel and Pfizer) and Digitas (on Delta among other clients).
Update: MRY has confirmed that Chee has indeed joined the agency as chief strategy officer and will oversee all planning and strategic output across its U.S. offices (counting NYC, Atlanta, San Francisco and soon, L.A.). With Chee’s arrival, MRY has in turn promoted Matt Rednor, who’s been with the agency since 2010, from chief strategy/innovation officer to simply chief innovation officer.
Hmm, well this little memo purportedly written by AKQA chairman Tom Bedecarre seems to indicate that the WPP-owned agency’s San Francisco managing director Stuart Sproule is moving on from the Bay Area and heading to our home turf. We’re of course trying to verify the matter with said agency, but here’s what we got below, verbatim:
“Anchors Aweigh, my boys, Anchors Aweigh. Farewell to college joys, we sail at break of day, ‘ay ‘ay ‘ay…
After 12 years of loyal and dedicated service to AKQA, Stuart Sproule has made the reluctant decision to pursue a new career and life opportunity in New York City. Fulfilling a long-held desire to return to Madison Avenue where he started his advertising career at JWT, Stuart will be joining TBWA as President of their global Digital Arts Network, which includes a team of 700 digital specialists across 18 TBWA offices.
February 28th will be Stuart’s last day at AKQA and because he has been busy making plans to move his family to New York, he won’t be back in San Francisco for several weeks — at which time I will be hosting a farewell reception so that we can properly send off Stuart with our best wishes and thanks for his many contributions to AKQA.
Until we meet once more, Stuart, here’s wishing you a happy voyage — to your new — home!
Sproule, along with several others, was promoted by AKQA last year and took on the role of managing director, international operations & talent.
Update: It’s confirmed and Sproule joins Digital Arts Network on March 1 and will be based in New York. See statement after the jump.
Well, we were perhaps onto something when we were sent a random image a couple of weeks ago featuring a mini-orchestra lounging in AKQA’s San Francisco office. We threw out the idea that there was some holiday tie-in to this (others had more dire theories) and as it turns out, the musicians in the pic are part of the Pacific Chamber Symphony and were playing the role of “Mobile Orchestra” as part of AKQA’s holiday effort. To experience it in full, you need to gather at least one friend and go here to get in the spirit of things with some “Carol of the Bells.”
We have no idea, but we received this image from a friend who tells us that the staffers at AKQA San Francisco, for whatever reason, were treated to a mini-symphony in their office space today. Is there some symbolism to be had, did someone have some big news to break or was this just something as innocent as a holiday performance? Feel free to fill us in, folks.
Update: Yep, innocuous as we thought. We’ve been told by those in the know that the orchestra was being recorded for a project that AKQA is working on (we’ll try to find out which one). We’d prefer the holiday symphony for staffers story, though.
If the name Rudi Anggono doesn’t ring a bell, let us tell you that the creative spent the last few months on the freelance tip in the Bay Area but a good portion of his time prior as a CD and ACD at AKQA San Francisco. You might remember Anggono from such campaigns as the one that helped console then-injured San Francisco Giants catcher, Buster Posey, or the effort for YouTube’s Politics channel. Anyhow, it appears that our lad has moved overseas, serving as pan-European creative director out of TBWA’s Paris office. During his career, Anggono served as an art director at the likes of Goodby, BSSP and CP+B, where he was involved with campaigns for Sprint, GE, Burger King and Rolling Rock.
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