While it’s not quite the “rash of people” that doomsday tipsters over the weekend led us to believe, we did receive confirmation that a handful of staffers (less than six, we’ve been told) did indeed leave the Barbarian Group last week to “pursue other avenues.” No specific names were disclosed, but we’ve been told that internal announcements were made last week and those who left had actually given their respective notices over a period of time, with a couple of them just deciding to relocate to other cities (one staffer who left is still working with TBG on a freelance basis). From what we’re hearing, the move was “not unexpected.”
The Barbarian Group
Yes, those who inquired via the Spy line, there are certainly “things happening” at The Barbarian Group, as we’ve received confirmation that the Cheil-owned agency is undergoing “business restructuring” across all departments. As a result, 15 positions were affected, 12 in its NYC headquarters and three in SF. In addition, the Barbarians are eliminating the executive creative director position, as co-founder/CEO Benjamin Palmer will continue to lead work across the agency as chief creative officer.
A TBG spokesperson says, “2012 was an important year in terms of acquiring new talent as well as building new client relationships. We’re taking the necessary step of restructuring across all areas of our business in order to be leaner and more flexible in 2013. Onward.”
As for the San Francisco office, which tipsters say the Barbarian Group was shuttering, sources familiar with the matter tell us otherwise, though they note that TBG SF will be moving to a smaller place in the “near to medium term.” Our sources add that the Barbarians’ Bay Area branch is “in the midst of bringing some new business,” though we’ve yet to divulge what that is at present time.
Well, that didn’t take very long. A week after reporting that Jonathan Isaac was leaving his gig as global head of planning/creative strategy at LBi, we’ve received word this morning that he will be joining The Barbarian Group as executive director of strategy. Isaac will assume his new position on Jan. 14 and work out of TBG’s New York headquarters. Along with focusing on growing strategy/planning offerings for the Barbarians, he will work with existing clients including GE, Pepsi, Samsung, and Bloomberg.
Isaac’s soon-to-be boss, Barbarian Group president Sophie Kelly, says in a statement, “Jonathan is a creative-minded planner that is the critical last hire in the TBG leadership team. Following our recent Head of Production and Head of Business Development hires, Jonathan will catalyze more strategic input with our core clients, help win new business, as well as develop and nurture our existing strategic talent. Great planners are hard to find, and we are delighted to have him.”
As we’ve told you before, prior to LBi, Isaac spent a couple years each at Anomaly and Goodby, serving as strategy director and planning director, respectively.
Well, that didn’t take long. A day after reporting that Madison Wharton was parting ways with IPG-owned shop Momentum, the Barbarian Group (which throws one hell of a rooftop party) announced that she’s joined up with the Cheil-owned shop’s New York office as executive director of production. Here’s a quote from TBG president, Sophie Kelly:
“I’m delighted to announce that Madison Wharton is joining us as Executive Director of Production.Madison’s extensive experience, which ranges from digital to broadcast to physical installations, combined with her considerable background in training, building and growing departments across multiple cities, will be invaluable to TBG as we look to expand our production team over the coming months. We’ve been on the hunt to fill this role as we build out our leadership team, and Madison comes about as highly recommended as we’ve seen in the industry. Welcome Madison, we’re excited to have you on board!”
Channeling their inner Al Gore we suppose, the folks at The Barbarian Group have unveiled a complete online redesign for C40 Cities, which is a network of the world’s “megacities” (including New York, London, Mumbai, Sao Paulo and Amsterdam) that is taking action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Not only did the Barbarians overhaul the C40 website itself, which includes some nice data visualization on the landing page, but the digital shop offers a nifty, animated infographic which lets you scroll down and get a nice visual sense of how big cities and climate change affect each other. You can get an idea of what the infographic looks like below and get some more background from TBG’s blog here.
Within the last 15 minutes, we’ve received scores of anonymous tips from different IPs telling us that the Barbarian Group is closing its office on South Street in Boston, which was opened way back when in 2001. Here’s a statement from a spokesperson at the digital shop, which is offering paid relocation for everyone left in Boston who wants to move to either TBG’s New York or San Francisco office (the majority of staffers including senior leadership all migrated to the NYC branch a few years back).
“We’re sad to say we’re closing TBG’s 10-person Boston office. Put simply, there’s no strategic reason for us to keep it open.
By now, you’ve perhaps heard of yet another Barbarian Group online experiment called “Is Pinterest,” which asks the question if the latest social networking phenom is the next Facebook among other things (well, that answers our question according to the image above). The dev team over at TBG happened to send us over some stats for the effort, which will provide you with an answer once you fill in the blanks. Surprisingly, Whitney Houston cracked the top 10. See the stats below:
Total Page Views: 7012
Total Unique Visitors: 1605
Total Word Submissions: 3474
Total Tweets: 106
Total Likes: 61
Top Word Submissions:
210 Virtual pinboard
75 Big thing
57 Etch a Sketch
47 Whitney Houston
40 Celebrity sex tape
27 Catalogue of interest
22 Visual bookmarking tool
12 Collaborative moodboard
10 Barbarian Group
SXSW Interactive 2012 went out with a bang this year, as Tumblr and the Barbarian Group took over one of Austin’s most famous indoor/outdoor venue, Mohawk.
Aside from holding claim to maybe the best venue in Austin, the Barbarians were able to bring SXSW Interactive’s most-impressive musical lineup to the show, with the bill including the likes of Japandroids, Kool Keith, Bear in Heaven, Matthew Dear, and Wavves (pictured above). While advertising industry concertgoers schmoozed in the upstairs VIP era, the standing area near the stage was at a constant level of intensity, featuring relentless moshing and body-passing, especially during Wavves’ set.
Outside, the waiting line snaked around the block. But, a lucky few had access to the R/GA Shuttle, a double-decker bus that carted around R/GA employees and their clients throughout the course of the conference. Why wait in an hour-long line when you can peer over the fence from the comfort of a party bus?
The “Robotrip” party (I don’t know what’s up with the name, either) served as the perfect transition from SXSW Interactive to the Music portion of the festival. Sure, you could’ve celebrated across town at GSD&M’s “Industry Party,” or you could’ve rocked out with some Barbarians and a ton of non-industry, non-badge-holding music fans dancing feverishly to their favorite bands. To be frank, I’m happy I picked the latter. Now, on to Music!
Who knew the Barbarian Group would have such a busy hiring week? Along with Adam Lau coming aboard, the Cheil-owned digital shop has confirmed that it’s also hired the New York-based creative team of Thom Woodley and Stephen Petronis as senior copywriter and senior art director, respectively. It looks like facial hair came into play as part of the hiring process as TBG tells us, “These guys are a top creative team and they both have very nice beards. Their magic is real and we’re excited to add them to our growing arsenal” (FYI, that’s Woodley pictured sans beard).
Thom and Steve as they’re known have been working together for years, joining forces on digital campaigns for Dos Equis (example), Lacoste and The Atlantic while at Euro RSCG NY/4D and most recently at Publicis NY on accounts such as Pepto Bismol. Check out their portfolio here.
And while we’re on the Barbarian topic, to follow up on yesterday’s Ryan McManus update, NYC design/strategy shop Hard Candy Shell confirms that the former TBG senior AD will be joining up with its production team in a few weeks.
Two weeks after reporting that Ogilvy’s Adam Lau was leaving the agency, we’ve received confirmation that his next destination is The Barbarian Group. Lau officially joins the digital shop’s New York hub tomorrow and will serve as a creative director.
As previously mentioned, Lau spent five years at Ogilvy NY before joining up with TBG, serving on the former’s IBM account as group creative director/copywriter. Prior to O&M, Lau held senior creative jobs at the likes of AKQA and McCann Erickson. Regarding his agency’s latest hire, Barbarian ECD Jay Zasa says, “Adam is one of the best creative leaders in the business, with a long record of success stretching back to digital’s earliest days. We’re psyched he’s bringing his considerable talents and experience to TBG.”
Update: While Lau joins up with TBG, we’ve received word that senior art director Ryan McManus is leaving the digital agency after nearly six years of service. The Barbarian camp says, “Ryan is a super-talented guy and we look forward to seeing what he makes next!” From what spies tell us, McManus is staying local in NYC and heading to a design/strategy shop called Hard Candy Shell. Still waiting for confirmation on that.
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