Facebook has announced four significant hires to its Creative Shop to support the ANZ business.
Established in 2011, Creative Shop is a team of creative strategists within Facebook and Instagram designed to support Australian and New Zealand brands, businesses and agencies to build the most creative and innovative work on the platform.
The new hires include Andy Simpson as Creative Shop lead, Dan Walton and Karen O’Leary as creative strategists and Lara Andrews who fills the newly created role of creative research lead. They join the more than 150 people in Creative Shop across more than 40 locations.
Prior to his move, Simpson was part of the US Creative shop team. He joined the company in 2013, and head of Creative Shop APAC Fergus O’Hare says he has a wealth of knowledge and a proven history of leading insight-driven creative programmes that are focused on driving business objectives.
Before joining Facebook, Simpson held roles in brand management at Unilever and global gaming developer Ubisoft. He will now lead the local team of five senior creatives, including O’Leary and Walton.
O’Leary’s most recent role was as creative director at TBWA Auckland and she brings with her experience that’s gained her metal from every major global award show, including a Grand Prix at Cannes and a Grand Clio in Miami. Her back catalogue of activities prior to joining Facebook including judging at D&AD to launching, and managing and merging her own social/PR/activations agency. She also regularly creates large-scale public installations for music festivals as an independent artist.
Walton joins from Clemenger BBDO across the ditch where he worked as a group creative lead. He has over 15 years of global experience, having started his career as an art director at McCann Erickson in New Zealand and moving onto roles as an art director in the UK, Kenya, Tanzania and more recently Sydney.
Like Simpson, Andrews is a Facebook veteran having worked for the company for three years. She will now be focused on increasing the data insights available to the Creative Shop team both in Australia and across the wider APAC region. She will work across APAC in identifying projects that will demonstrate the value of data driven creative planning and development, aligning with the global Creative Research team.
The four join the wave of creatives taking up roles in big tech companies, including Special Group Australia’s founding creative partners Matty Burton and Dave Bowman, who earlier this year announced their departure to go and take over the Google Zoo operation across the Asia Pacific region.
About the new Facebook hires, O’Hare explains that the aim is for Creative Shop to be a catalyst for collaboration throughout the creative industry, but especially with agencies.
“We want to be indispensable partners, helping businesses tell the best stories on our platforms and accelerate the shift to mobile. Brilliant ideas are the result of deep teamwork, and we prioritise work centered on collaboration and learning alongside each other.”
The talk of ideas, and no doubt hefty pay cheques that go with it, may seem a strong incentive to move, but DDB chief executive Justin Mowday told StopPress earlier this year that creatives will always be drawn to the places where they have the best chance of seeing their ideas made.
He said the Facebook creatives he’s encountered spend a lot of time talking about the creative potential on Facebook but rarely get stuck into producing anything in the way they would at ad agencies.
“[Facebook and Google] are tech companies, which means that coders are their heroes. Creatives will always serve an adjunct role to the coders. Whereas, at an ad agency, creativity is what our business is built on,” Mowday said.