NBCUniversal and Target Choose Essence for Digital Duties

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New Accounts Grow Agency’s Billings to Nearly $ 3 Billion; Bring New Executive Talent and Offline Media Credentials

Essence, a global digital-first agency, announced the addition of NBCUniversal and Target to their North American client roster.  NBCUniversal will transition from sister agency Maxus, while Team Arrow and the Target account will become part of Essence’s expanded structure. Essence had previously been collaborating with Maxus and Team Arrow on assignments for both of these clients.  Essence’s total agency billings will grow to almost $ 3 billion as a result, furthering its momentum as one of the fastest-growing agencies worldwide.

Pamela Sullivan
Pam Sullivan,
Managing Director at Maxus LA

This news follows the recent announcement of GroupM’s increased investment in Essence and the addition of non-digital capabilities to the agency.  This includes an influx of executive talent to Essence, most notably Pam Sullivan, currently Managing Director of Maxus Los Angeles and Jason Harrison, currently CEO of Team Arrow, who have managed the NBCUniversal and Target accounts for their respective agencies.

Jason Harrison
Jason Harrison,
CEO at Team Arrow Partners

Sullivan will continue to lead the NBCUniversal account at Essence. Joining her in the move to Essence will be over 230 people from Maxus to work on the account out of LA, MinneapolisNew York, and Toronto.  Maxus began working with NBCUniversal in 2011 when they won the traditional media responsibilities for 18 film and television business units across North America and Canada.  In 2014, the partnership broadened when NBCUniversal added digital media to Maxus’ remit.  Earlier this year, Essence began working alongside Maxus on NBCUniversal’s Universal Pictures account, driving data planning and strategy.

During her five years at Maxus, Sullivan has served as the North American relationship manager on the NBCUniversal business. She also opened the agency’s LA office, quickly quadrupling its size and more than doubling overall billings.  Sullivan previously served as Managing Director at DDB, specializing in entertainment advertising including motion pictures, home entertainment, theme parks and entertainment venues.

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“The challenges and opportunities of this new world require that we embrace bold new approaches,” said Josh Goldstine, President of Global Marketing for Universal Pictures. “I know I speak for not only Universal but all the NBCU marketers when I say how excited and optimistic we are about the promise of combining the class-leading digital work of Essence with the proven creative media solutions from Maxus to deliver a truly integrated, data focused approach, that transcends platforms.”

Target’s account will continue to be run by Harrison at Essence.  There are upwards of 100 people from Team Arrow working on Target’s account– who will transition to Essence and be split between New York and Minneapolis offices–to service the brand, which spends $570M+ in media billings annually.  Team Arrow was formed as a custom solution for Target by GroupM in 2016; it married strategy, creative, media planning, digital and analytics. Essence has been a key component of the bespoke service for Target since the beginning.  The integrated team has provided strategy, integrated planning, digital, social and measurement for Target’s marketing campaigns, driving significant innovation along the way.

As founding CEO of Team Arrow, Harrison established the Minneapolis-based agency as an innovative shop that combines best-in-class analytics with creative media thinking.   Previously, he was the founding CEO of GroupM’s Gain Theory, a global marketing foresight consultancy.  Prior, he served as Global Chief Information Officer at Maxus and, previous to that, Universal McCann.  Harrison has also held roles in management consulting (Ernst & Young), eCommerce and corporate technology; he’s advised Fortune 500 clients on how to successfully navigate the intersection of marketing and technology.  Earlier, he spent time client-side at Johnson & Johnson.

Sullivan and Harrison will report directly into Essence’s global CEO, Christian Juhl.

“We are privileged to be working with such highly regarded, forward thinking clients.” said Juhl. “Our ability to drive lasting change and enduring value is predicated on our clients sharing our belief that investment in data, measurement, and platforms can create higher returns for brands and better experiences for consumers. With the addition of NBCU and Target, we have significant scale in the market to negotiate change, both online and offline.”

Target and NBCUniversal have begun the migration process and are expected to be fully integrated into Essence by January 1, 2018.

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