Talent quest continues apace on The Strand

If you believe the Saatchi & Saatchi email footers, optimism abounds this year: ‘2010: Nothing is Impossible’, they claim. And the new planning and production talent added to the arsenal this week has put a bit more wind in the sails of ‘The Lovemarks Company’.

Peeyoosh Chandra (PC) will take up the role of digital planning director. He joins the team from DDB Sydney where he led strategy on Telstra and Tourism Australia and developed the agency’s social media marketing unit. His previous roles include executive director and general manager interactive at Ogilvy Auckland.

“PC is quite simply one of the best digital strategists in Australasia,” chief executive Nicola Bell says. “For Telstra, he developed a new youth brand platform based on social media and a world class business marketing programme on YouTube, now used by Google as a global case study. He also led social media strategy for Tourism Australia, growing their Facebook community from 150,000 members to 400,000 in just twelve months.”

Tamsin McDonnell has been appointed as senior brand strategist and has considerable experience as a ‘hybrid’ communications and channel planner. Her previous role as communications director at Naked New Zealand saw her developing innovative communications strategies for Coca-Cola’s entire brand portfolio in the New Zealand market.

“Our goal is to provide strategic thinking that will inspire our creative teams of all disciplines to execute ideas that are irresistible to New Zealanders. PC and Tamsin bring new experience, perspectives and energy to the agency.  We’re really excited to get them started,” says Murray Streets, director of strategic planning.

Jane Oak will also be welcomed to the fold to take the reins as head of content. Oak has considerable experience in both the New Zealand and UK markets, working at TBWA London and also setting up the department at BMB London.

Saatchi’s executive creative director Dylan Harrison says it’s great to have someone of Oak’s calibre on board.

“Jane’s a top-notch producer; her experience is vast and varied through managing production for Lion Breweries, Goodman Fielder, Glassons and Panasonic. She’s got the right mix of vision and expertise to make world-changing ideas happen.  And most importantly, she has a real appetite for generating irresistible content for every screen.”

Oak starts on the 24 May, McDonnell starts on 31 May and Chandra starts on 8 June.

As well as these three additions, Saatchis recently signed up top London creative Angus Wardlaw and ex-DDB suit Simon Wedde.

Unsubstantiated rumour alert: a mysterious source whispered into the ear of StopPress a few nights back that Saatchi’s might be looking at moving offices, in both Wellington and Auckland. The response: “We’re definitely not moving!”

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