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MDC Partners

Here’s Some Clarification on MDC’s Media Moves in Atlanta

So, this morning, we received a tip that raised our eyebrows regarding the Atlanta operations of a couple of familiar MDC shops, namely Doner and KBS+–specifically the latter’s spinoff unit, Media Kitchen. The tip we received said verbatim, “MDC shaking up Atlanta presence, shifting from KBSP to Doner in the market. Staff told today.”

Well, according to sources familiar with the matter, the situation doesn’t seem as dire as what our spy’s words lead us to believe. According to our sources, after taking a look at the collaboration of MDC’s Maxxcom Global Media group (which was formed earlier this year) and work on shared clients among its media agencies, the holding company thought it best that Media Kitchen Atlanta and Doner’s media clients “would benefit from even greater alignment of the two groups.” Well, consider it done as Media Kitchen Atlanta is indeed being aligned with and will be managed by Doner.

MKA was launched in spring 2010 following MDC’s decision to expand KBS+P into the 404 area. We’ve been told that no cuts are planned as a result of this latest move.

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Chuck Porter on MDC’s Acquisition Strategy and Life with Miles Nadal

As we teased a month ago, we had the chance to sit down and chat with MDC Partners chief strategist/Crispin Porter + Bogusky chairman Chuck Porter, who discussed everything from his beginnings as a creative to recruiting to his most recent activities within the MDC fold. In part I of our Media Beat interview with Porter, the ad exec (though he doesn’t really take to that term) discusses his holding company’s acquisition strategy and what it’s like working alongside MDC CEO Miles Nadal. According to the ad vet, creativity is key when determining the right acquisition as he says simply, “My criterion is the work.”

This and all MediabistroTV productions can also be viewed on our YouTube Channel. Be sure to check out Part II and III of our chat with Porter tomorrow and Wednesday, respectively.

MDC/KBS+P, Faris Yakob Are Indeed Parting Ways

Well, looks like the Adweek report from earlier this afternoon was true, though our sources stop short of confirming anything related to contract renewals, etc. But yes, we have received confirmation from those in the know that MDC/KBS+P chief innovation officer Faris Yakob is indeed leaving the agency. No timetable has been set for his departure, but Yakob’s duties will be absorbed by the management team. From what sources familiar with the matter tell us, Yakob’s departure marks a new phase at MDC/KBS+P, which now believes it’s everyone’s job at the agency to “drive the culture of innovation.”

During his time within the MDC/KBS+P fold, Yakob also founded its in-house creative technology boutique, Spies & Assassins.  Prior to his most recent gig, the departing exec/regular speaker served as EVP, chief technology strategist at McCann and has worked at the likes of OMD and Naked during his career.

Anomaly Opens Doors in Amsterdam

Another day, another MDC Partners-related item. Days after merging Vitro and Skinny, the agency holding company announced the opening of Anomaly Amsterdam. Back in February, MDC acquired a majority stake in the New York/London-based shop, which last picked up the NBC Sports Network account according to sources.

Anyhow, back to Amsterdam. The new Anomaly office will be led by managing director Hazelle Klonhammer, who spent over a decade at W+K Amsterdam and has also worked at 180, Modernista! and Amirati Puris Lintas in Sydney. Joining Klonhammer at Anomaly’s new digs is one Richard Mulder, a former Nike brand communications manager who will now assume the role of agency partner at Anomaly Amsterdam. With Anomaly’s Euro bases seemingly covered for the time being, the agency and its parent are setting their sights on the booming Brazilian market in 2012 according to a statement from Anomaly CEO/partner Carl Johnson.

A Pair of MDC Shops Unite

 

It’s official that two MDC-owned agencies have bridged the gap between West and East Coast as we’ve received confirmation that NYC-based Skinny has now become Vitro New York. Now, with the merger and re-branding, Vitro San Diego and NYC will house a combined total of just over a hundred staffers (we’ve been told there were no layoffs as a result of the alignment).

The new leadership at Vitro consists of creative chairman Jon Vitro, CEO Tom Sullivan, and Liron Reznik and Jonas Hallberg (Skinny’s co-founders) as CCOs. Meanwhile, the updated client roster at the full-service, bi-coastal entity includes ASICS, Newcastle, Nokia, Target and P.F. Chang’s.

MDC Takes Majority Stake in Laird+Partners

It feels like a six-degrees game, but nonetheless, Miles Nadal and his MDC crew have taken a majority interest in NYC-based, fashion-focused shop Laird+Partners, which handled Gap at one point as did CP+B of course, so we’re sure you get the connection. Anyhow, Laird, which was founded in 2002 by Trey Laird, counts clients ranging from Donna Karan to Vera Wang but has also stepped out of the fashion box by working with the likes of Hilton and Dr. Pepper.

Laird’s namesake and founder sings his new parent company’s praises in a statement, saying, “”They have an entrepreneurial independent spirit that greatly mirrors our own vision. Our success in blending strong strategic brand building with high impact visual style for our clients can be significantly enhanced through this partnership with MDC. Additionally, we now have the appropriate firepower behind us to continue to deepen our capabilities beyond the luxury and fashion categories to create a formidable presence abroad.”

 

MDC’s ‘Million Dollar Challenge’ Winner to Run New Institute

Eight months after MDC Partners rolled out its “Million Dollar Challenge,” the holding company announced that its winner, Kip Voytek, will head up a new, New York-based non-profit focused on digital arts and science education called the Digital Works Institute. What was Voytek’s winning idea, which beat out 200 others? To expand digital arts and education, and to realize his vision via DWI, he will leave his post as SVP, communications planning at digital shop Rapp.

The exec is no stranger to digital education programs as he’s served as an advisor to Boulder Digital Works, which was co-founded by CP+B and the University of Colorado, since its inception. Crispin chairman and MDC chief strategist, Chuck Porter, says in a statement, “The vision of The Digital Works Institute is to be a powerful resource for learning and innovation. Our expectation was that the Million Dollar Challenge would go to a new business start up, but this not-for-profit initiative was the most compelling idea we saw. Hopefully, it will help to enlarge the pool of digital talent and enhance the quality of digital innovation across a broad array of businesses. It’s not really a business investment for MDC, it’s more of an investment in the future of the industry.”

MDC Acquires Majority Stake in Anomaly

Miles Nadal & Co.’s acquisition spree continues as MDC Partners has now nabbed a majority partnership stake in Anomaly, the seven-year-old New York/London shop that counts clients such as Converse (recent work here), Umbro & Cole Haan, Budweiser, Sony, P&G, Pepsi, Motorola and Diageo.

With the acquisition, MDC plans to establish Anomaly bases in China, Brazil and mainland Europe. The latter shop’s co-founder, Carl Johnson, explains the reason for the deal in a statement, saying, “Given the degree of independence we have all become used to, it was essential that we are ‘fuelled’ not ‘controlled’ – MDC not only understands this but embraces it. Their ability to help foster growth while maintaining an entrepreneurial spirit is incredibly important to the culture of Anomaly and consequently, makes MDC the perfect partner for us.”

MDC Adds 72andSunny to the Fold

Well, this is a doozy to end the day. It looks like Miles Nadal‘s acquisition spree continues as his MDC Partners has announced that it’s acquired a majority interest in Los Angeles/Amsterdam agency 72andSunny, which counts clients including HP, RIM, Nike, CKE Restaurants and 2K Sports.

In a statement, John Boiler, 72andSunny CEO and one of its three founders, says, “We started 72andSunny with a set of ideas that we believed were the most modern and relevant to doing great work far into the future. The partnership with Miles and MDC allows us to test and expand on those ideas more quickly which will ultimately benefit our culture, our people, and our clients.”

Currently, 72andSunny is a 150-strong operation that’s added some notable creatives in 2010 and, let’s not forget, had Kenny Powers shill for K-Swiss.  According to comments made in the announce by MDC chief Nadal, the shop is “the agency of both today and tomorrow” and has “deep global experience and understanding, and their clients recognize the amazing combination of digital expertise, and creative prowess with the component of measurable results.”

MDC Offers a Cool Million for Best Agency Start-Up Plan

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With all its acquisitions over the past several months, it appears Toronto-based MDC Partners still has money to spare, so what’s another million bucks? That’s the offering from Miles Nadal & Co. for some lucky entrepreneurial person or persons who can conjure up the best start-up idea. According to a statement from Nadal in the NYT, the main goal of the challenge, which was actually conceived by CP+B chairman Chuck Porter, is that “you do brilliant work, you want to make brands famous and you want to drive results for clients.”

Sounds pretty much like all agency creative recruitment ads, but nonetheless, we shall most likely be speaking with Miles Nadal on Monday to pick his brain and get more insight into this project, which was announced today at a seminar in Cannes. Of course, the $1 mil doesn’t come without some interest of sorts as MDC will take a 51 percent stake in the winning shop. If being a minority owner is your cup of tea, you can start emailing your proposals here.

More: “AdAge: McCann Suing MDC Over Alleged Employee/Client Poaching

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