NEW YORK: Porter Novelli has hired former Chobani experiential marketing director Ted Sabarese as regional creative director for North America, a newly created role at the firm.
Sabarese stepped into the position last month and reports to Megan King, global director of PN Creative. Based in New York, he leads the North America creative team, which includes 24 staffers across the country.
He is tasked with delivering content strategy, development and production, brand identity and expression, advertising, experiential marketing, and design.
"Porter CEO Karen van Bergen asked me to win a Cannes Lion, so no pressure," said Sabarese. "My main objective is to help push our clients to understand that if we do just a little bit more, and think about PR in a slightly different way, there is a huge opportunity for them to create content that is more shareable and engaging and performs even better for them."
To do this, he will be building a creative team across North America, and he said he is specifically looking to bring in more writers and art directors.
"What we are seeing more of from clients is they desire these big, fresh ideas," Brad MacAfee, president, North America, told PRWeek when asked why Sabarese’s role was created. "More clients want to engage with consumers and stakeholders in meaningful ways that get a conversation going, gain engagement, and elevate the brand."
Prior to Porter, Sabarese served as director of experiential marketing and digital creative director at Chobani. He joined the yogurt brand in February 2013 and departed last June. The company has not hired a replacement for his role, Sabarese said.
"There was a shift in priorities from marketing back to manufacturing at Chobani, so a lot of our marketing budgets were cut to zero," he explained. "I left that role because there was not a whole lot of work left to be done; the budgets were slashed on projects I was working on."
Before that, Sabarese owned a photography company for nearly eight years, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Along with Sabarese, Porter recently hired Adam Scholder as an SVP based in Chicago, where he is responsible for the growth of that office’s client roster. He reports to MacAfee. Scholder joined the firm from Olson Engage where he was SVP and GM.
Christine Cea, former senior director of marketing communications at Unilever, also rejoined Porter as global consumer practice leader earlier this year.
The new hires come on the heels of several internal changes at the firm since December. The agency recently promoted Fred Shank to EVP and head of West Coast consumer, based in Seattle, and Erin Osher to EVP, deputy MD of the New York office. In Atlanta, Porter appointed Melissa Taylor as deputy MD.
Porter is owned by Omnicom Group, which reported that its PR revenue jumped 8.5% organically in the fourth quarter of last year, compared with Q4 2013, to $368.1 million. For full-year 2014, Omnicom’s PR group saw 4.1% organic growth to nearly $1.4 billion.
Van Bergen did not provide Porter’s specific financial performance numbers, but cited momentum going into 2015.
"Porter Novelli saw more big wins in Q4, including T-Mobile and Dow Corning, contributing to our strong performance this quarter," she told PRWeek via email last week. "We rounded out the year with an influx in new business opportunities."