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R/GA

Another R/GA Office, You Say? Well, Why Not

It’s been in the works for a while now, but R/GA has now officially opened its doors in Sydney, making this the 12th office in the IPG-owned agency’s network. The news comes just a month after “the agency for the digital age” set up shop in Austin to focus on its mobile and social business capabilities.

As for the office Down Under, R/GA’s initial plan is to hire six full-timers by February and build staff count to nine by end of Q1. The Sydney branch already has three in the bag, though, including R/GA vet/managing director Ameer Youssef as well as new hires, ECD Gavin McLeod (we know you’re humming The Love Boat theme as we speak) and creative director Joshua Rowe. The aforementioned Aussie natives previously served as creative director at Whybin TBWA / Integer and ACD at M&C Saatchi, respectively. As for Youssef, the R/GA camp says the MD will help build the office and once it’s in place, he will find a long-term replacement for this position.

R/GA Sydney will initially stay local on the client front, servicing the likes of Qantas and Rip-Curl.

R/GA Sets Up Shop in Austin, Creates Cable-Dissing ‘Meme-Maker’ for Verizon FiOS

The self-proclaimed “agency for the digital age” continues its expansion as R/GA has now opened its doors in downtown Austin. The new office, which by our count marks the tenth in the agency’s global network, currently houses 15 staffers and will focus on R/GA’s mobile and social business capabilities. Leading the team, though from afar at R/GA’s NYC HQ, will be Richard Ting, who’s been with R/GA for over a decade and was most recently bumped up to EVP, global ECD, mobile and social platforms.

Joining Ting in overseeing the new Austin office are fellow R/GA cohorts Kyle Bunch, who’s been with the agency for over five years and serves as group director, mobile and social platforms, ECD Paul Dery, Katrina Bekessy, director, technology and design, and last but not least, Peter Kim, managing director, business transformation. After setting up the new Austin branch for the last few weeks, R/GA officially opened up shop within the last. The expects to grow the office, located in downtown’s Littlefield Building, to between 30 and 50 staffers by end of 2013.

While we’re on the R/GA tip, we got a link to a rather amusing effort from the agency, which would not officially comment on the matter, that lets people “Break Up with Cable” via a meme-maker. It’s part of a campaign for Verizon FiOS and we’ve posted a couple of our fave ones created after the jump. You can also customize your own and have fun at Time Warner or some other provider’s expense. We think Patrick Stewart would probably get a kick out of this. Maybe you will, too.

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McCarthy Leaving R/GA Chicago

Sources familiar with the matter confirm that Sean McCarthy, who has spent nearly three years as VP, managing director at R/GA’s Chicago office, is leaving the “agency for the digital age,” though we’ve yet to hear word on exactly where he’s headed to next. McCarthy has been with R/GA since the IPG agency officially set up shop in the Windy City in early 2010. Prior to R/GA, the exec spent 18 months as SVP/group account director at DDB Chicago, where he oversaw direct, digital and mass efforts for AT&T’s B2B business.

McCarthy spent the majority of his advertising career, though, at Draftfcb, working on the account side in both London and Chicago before finally spending six years as VP/management director at the latter office. From what we hear, McCarthy turned in his resignation at R/GA last week. We’ll keep you posted if and when we hear more.

R/GA NY Welcomes Pair of Aussie Creatives

The “agency for the digital age” recently brought on a pair of Aussie ad guys, namely John McKelvey and Hannes Ciatti (pictured l-r), who have both spent the last two years as senior creatives at Whybin\TBWA. The lads from Down Under join R/GA’s New York hub as creative directors working across the agency’s Nike and Google accounts.

Before their TBWA days, McKelvey and Ciatti, whose creative foundation lies in copywriting and art directing, respectively, worked at different agencies with the latter serving as digital CD at Saatchi Australia as well as a creative partner at Droga5 Sydney while the former served as senior art director at M&C Saatchi’s Mark division. The new hires will report R/GA EVP/global CCO and fellow Aussie native, Nick Law.

Whittier Leaving R/GA

We’ve received confirmation that after just 11 months into his role as group executive creative director on the Nike account, among others, at R/GA, Steve Whittier is leaving the “agency for the digital age.” No further details have been provided, but during his brief stint at R/GA, Whittier also worked on Nike-owned Converse, Verizon and new business. The creative exec joined R/GA from Y&R, where he spent 18 months as North American integrated CD and worked on the Airwalk as well as the global Land Rover launch. We’ll keep you posted if and when we hear more on his last day, next venture, etc.

Jack White–Yes, That Jack White–Loses Head of Design to Digitas

The Third Man Records HQ in Nashville has been a little emptier as of late as Matthew Jacobson, most recently head of design at the aforementioned label owned by Jack White, has been tapped to do the same at Digitas Chicago and San Francisco. Jacobson spent a year as design head at Third Man, working on packaging and vinyl production as well as record art for the likes of Beck and of course, The White Stripes and Raconteaurs. The new Digitas exec, who officially assumes the title of VP/group director, design lead, is no stranger to the agency world, though, having served as an art director at Cramer-Krasselt and SVP/group creative director at JWT/Team Detroit during his career.

Along with Third Man and his various agency gigs, Jacobson runs his own imprint called Le Grand Magistery and has freelanced for the likes of Pentagram and indie stalwart, Merge Records. In his new role, Jacobson will work out of Digitas’s Chicago office.

We Hear: ‘Innovative Thunder’ Co-Founder Out at R/GA?

Word on the Spy line has been building over the last two days that Leif Abraham, creative director at R/GA New York for the past three years who’s perhaps best known for his Cannes Cyber Lion-winning “Pay with a Tweet” project (above), is leaving his day job and heading to the West Coast. Abraham, along with partner-in-crime and fellow R/GA CD Christian Behrendt, forms the dynamic creative duo of “Innovative Thunder,” which is also behind efforts such as “Track Me”, the “Social Interview” as well as various campaigns for DJ Hero. No official word back yet from the R/GA camp and/or where Abraham’s headed to, but we’ll keep you posted.

R/GA, A&E Start a Public Duck Hunt

A&E is one great reasons why people think Americans are insane (not to sell you short, TLC). We have a network of  shows like Billy the Exterminator. Gone are the days of  Lizzie McGuire; our kids are watching hoarders cry as they throw away soggy coasters and 10-year-old receipts. And, of course, the latest WTF A&E news: tonight is the season two premiere of Duck Dynasty.

As far as I can gather, this “reality show” is about three generations of bayou duck hunters. They run a business called Duck Commander (high-end duck calls, decoys, etc.) that is now a multimillion-dollar “sporting empire.” They race lawn mowers and wear camo tuxedos.

To launch the new Duck Dynasty season, R/GA New York and A&E have created a social media duck hunt dubbed “Duck Call.” Users follow one or all of the six Twitter handles associated with the show. Then, when one of those handles tweets #QUACK or a little duck says #QUACK on the show, the first person to tweet back with #DUCK wins. They get Duck Dynasty swag or a $100  e-gift card. Fingers crossed for the latter, unless you’re stoked on bandanas and bearded Chia pets.

During tonight’s premiere, a social response lab will also produce customized Duck Dynasty imagery featuring users (#JointheDynasty). Finally, you too can live the true American Dream. It’s all about the pursuit of happiness, and blowing up beaver dams. Feel free to join the “dynasty” here.

R/GA: The Best-Dressed Agency…Er, Well, At Least on One NYC Block

We have to say we’ve seen better-produced “Backstage” clips from R/GA (where’s the sequel to “Retro-Tech”?, but hell, on a day like this, why not pretend we’re on E! and judge its New York staffers’ fashi0n tastes. Here’s the latest Backstage entry from the R/GA NY camp, complete with French-accented VO courtesy of ACD David Trumpf. Sure, these cats may be the most fashion-forward folks on one specific block of Hell’s Kitchen, but looking at the bigger picture, fellow agencies like BBH New York might give them a run for their money.

R/GA Staffs Up in San Francisco

R/GA has found a new partner-in-crime for executive creative director Rob Smiley (you know, this guy) in its San Francisco office, as “the agency for the digital age” has tapped Frog Design alum Michael Jefferson to serve as co-ECD and c0-lead creative efforts in its Bay Area branch. Jefferson (pictured) has spent the last six years as creative director at the global Frog Design, working with a client roster that included Microsoft, GE, Visa and AT&T. Prior to Frog, the new R/GA ECD spent time working as an an interaction designer/producer at the likes of Verizon and SF shop Eleven. He replaces Mark Shewmaker, who left R/GA back in July.

Along with Jefferson’s hire, R/GA SF, currently 65-strong in terms of staff, has tapped Ari Nave and Matt Nelson to serve as group planning director and director, mobile & social platforms, respectively. Nave most recently served as SVP, group planning director at Deutsch and has worked on the planning side at other agencies such as McGarryBowen, O&M and Grey San Francisco during his career. Nelson, meanwhile, joins R/GA SF from Tribal DDB SF, where he worked as director, digital and social strategy.

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