Makovsky taps Sutherland as digital branding practice lead

NEW YORK: Makovsky has hired Ross Sutherland as EVP of digital branding, the agency's growing interactive practice, effective April 14.

NEW YORK: Makovsky has hired Ross Sutherland as EVP of digital branding, the agency’s growing interactive practice, effective April 14.

Reporting to the firm’s president Kenneth Makovsky, Sutherland is tasked with leading and growing the practice to complement the PR side of the agency’s business. He will work with technology, financial, pharmaceutical, and consumer clients to define their brands and design their "digital ecospheres," said Makovsky.

Sutherland, who most recently ran his own agency named Silver Fern Advertising since 2012, will oversee the five staffers in the firm’s digital branding practice.

Previously, Timothy Kane, who founded the digital branding practice, held the role at Makovsky for six years. He left the firm last November to join YouGov as global CMO, explained Makovsky. While searching for Kane’s replacement, the agency brought on a consultant, Marc Lucas, to lead the department on a contract basis.

"More and more we are working on integrated programs that involve a combination of branding and digital type activities that [Sutherland’s] department will service," said Makovsky.

He added that if a client is going to launch a PR campaign, it needs to make sure the company website is in sync with the initiative, and the firm often finds "that enhancements are required to make that happen."

Makovsky said if an agency doesn’t have a digital branding department, then it cannot completely fulfill a client’s mission.

"Agencies are still mired in an old-fashioned business model, conveniently ignoring the fact that people trust their friends more than they trust advertisers, yet they still produce masses of corporately driven dogmatism through print, outdoor, Internet, and TV advertising, so there has never been a better opportunity for a relationship with the public," said Sutherland.

Before founding Silver Fern Advertising, Sutherland served as CCO at Corbis.

He also previously served as managing partner and creative director at Young & Rubicam, and creative director at Ogilvy & Mather for 21 years, where he managed campaigns for clients including Rolex, Chubb, and Fiat.

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