NEW YORK: Sharp Communications has named Robert L. Ireland as its new managing director. Ireland was previously an executive at Saatchi & Saatchi, Hampel/Stefanides, and Broadgate Consultants. He has shepherded advertising and PR campaigns for Sara Lee, Paramount, Champion, and The Partnership for a Drug Free America.
Prior to being named MD, Ireland was doing PR consulting with Sharp Communications to aid development of its financial services practice. All account directors and the art director will report to Ireland, who will, in turn, report to James Brodsky, founder and president. "Bob has true brand expertise," Brodsky said.
The firm has also launched Sharp Edge, an agency that will focus on the affluent gay consumer. Sharp Edge will be led by Brodsky and supported by account director James Hewitt, who was most recently PR director at cosmetics firm Kiss My Face. The new agency was the result of a six-month planning project. The agency has not announced a client yet.
"There are plenty of agencies out there that are focusing on the gay marketplace, but we feel that the marketing that is happening now is very pandering and stereotypical," Brodsky said.
Some corporations have changed their brand identity to target the gay marketplace, rather than applying classic branding knowledge with new insight geared to a gay audience, he added.
Hewitt "joined the company to head up new business development and account management," Brodsky said. "He also has classic branding expertise. He has done a tremendous amount of research in the market."
Sharp Communications, founded in 2000, signed 20 new clients - for either retainer or project work - in 2003. Current clients include Paul Stuart, Randall's Island Sports Foundation, East Side House Settlement, and New York City Opera. The company has 15 employees.