Independent Agency Periscope Expands Its Creative and Strategy Departments With Several New Hires

(L. to r.) Rhea Hanges, Jen Stocksmith, Brian Boord, Renae Hermen and David Hahn

Periscope announced several new senior-level hires in its creative, strategy and media departments as it moves to reposition itself as an “agency of the future.”

The Minnesota shop, one of the country’s largest independent agencies, added nine names to its lineup, as people from as far afield as Atlanta and Kansas City made the move to Minneapolis.

They include group creative director Brian Boord (formerly of DDB Chicago), creative director Rhea Hanges (BBDO Atlanta), Jen Stocksmith (New York’s VaynerMedia), creative David Hahn (Barkley of Kansas City), associate media director Caitlin Curran (BPN Chicago) and senior brand strategist Tony Smith (FCB Chicago).

Newly hired group director of integrated media strategy Renae Hermen and strategy director Maggie Summers join Periscope from fellow Minneapolis agencies Novus Media and Peterson Milla Hooks, respectively, while Erik Jacobs leaves area shop Olson to become the director of Periscope Creative Studios, the agency’s in-house content unit.

Hanges called Periscope “one of our industry’s best-kept secrets” while Boord, a former Periscope art director who spent five years at DDB working on such brands as Skittles, State Farm and McDonald’s, said, “I am excited to come back to an agency that has grown and changed into an industry leader.”

The phrase “agency of the future” is not unique to Periscope. But what does it mean?

According to CEO Liz Ross and chief creative officer Peter Nicholson (who joined from McKinney just over a year ago), independence and an integrated, full-service business model are key differentiators.

“When I came here a year ago, my vision was to evolve Periscope from a regional leader to a top creative shop,” Nicholson said in a statement, citing such recent work as the Trolli Beardsketball campaign. Ross added, “We have so much we can offer not only to clients but to our teams by being an independent and integrated agency. The collaboration is easier, and bigger, bolder ideas are free-flowing.”

At last year’s Advertising Week, the two told AdExchanger that Periscope has been able to unite its media and creative departments more completely because its leadership doesn’t have to answer to a holding company. Senior innovation strategist Carter Jensen also discussed Snapchat, location-based mobile beacons and other digital initiatives in a recent Adweek profile.

“The advertising industry, particularly those with holding companies, is playing catch-up with this full-service integrated model,” Hermen said of her new employer. “It was a no-brainer to join a team that’s leading in that method.”

Periscope’s clients currently include Target, Best Buy, Walgreens, ExxonMobil, Petco, UnitedHealth Group and Autotrader, among others.


Toronto Web Design Agency Launches “Refugee to Entrepreneur” Program to Offer Free Web Development and Marketing Services to Refugees

The program will help refugees who meet the minimum requirements stated on the company’s website, such as a good command of the English language (or French for those based in Quebec), proof of company registration (preferred but not necessary), education or proof of expertise in their field, proof of refugee status, a minimum of 2 references and certifications or accreditations if those apply. “We have limited resources so obviously we cannot help everyone, especially those that cannot speak the language or those without proper paperwork and education, but for those refugees that meet our criteria, this could be a great opportunity.”

“When refugees get to work, they win, and their community wins. Many refugees are highly educated and skilled people. Also some of them were already running successful businesses in their home country before war and political turmoil pushed them to leave everything behind and flee their homeland. It only makes sense to help them recreate their businesses here whenever possible,” said Ms. MacGillivray.

For refugees that meet the criteria, Little Dragon will offer a free package which includes:

  • Free website design (up to 5 static pages).
  • Free logo design.
  • Free web hosting for 1 year.
  • Free domain name for 1 year.
  • Free training on how to update site and use back-end features
  • Free Google My Business Account Setup & Optimization
  • Free Social Media Channels Setup (Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn).
  • Free Citation Profiles Creation & Optimization on 5 Local Directories (e.g. Yelp, Yellow Pages, etc…)

Amine Rahal, founder and CEO of the company, adds, “Giving back to the community is one of the core principles of our agency, and right now there is a huge need to help thousands of refugees settle and make a new life for themselves in this country. These people represent a tremendous workforce for our country if we give them the chance. Also, at the end of the day, we’re all newcomers. Whether you’re a 5th generation Scottish, 3rd generation Italian or 1st generation Syrian, it’s pretty much the same thing. This is the new world and opportunities are available for everyone. The inspiration behind our company’s name, Little Dragon, comes from Bruce Lee, who in China was called Xiao Long (Mandarin for “Little Dragon”). During a famous interview he did in the seventies, Bruce Lee was asked:  do you consider yourself Chinese or American, to which he answered: I consider myself a human being. Under the skies, under the heavens, we are but one family. It just so happens that we look different.”

For more details on the Little Dragon Media’s “Refugee to Entrepreneur” program, email [email protected], or contact Penny MacGillivray, 647-348-4995, [email protected]


Uber Driver Is Employee, Not Freelancer: Swiss Agency

Uber Driver Is Employee, Not Freelancer: Swiss Agency
An Uber driver is an employee for whom the company must pay social security contributions, a Swiss insurance agency has ruled, dealing a blow to the U.S. ride-hailing platform that says drivers are independent contractors.

The California-based startup whose cab service has expanded worldwide vowed to challenge the ruling, the latest clash with regulators that have accused it of bypassing national labour protection standards and shunning collective negotiation with drivers who work on freelance terms.

In October, a British tribunal ruled Uber should treat its drivers as workers and pay them the minimum wage and holiday pay.

Suva – which as a provider of obligatory on-the-job accident insurance in Switzerland helps decide which workers are freelance – found an UberTechnology driver was staff because he faced consequences if he broke Uber rules and could not set prices and payment terms independently, broadcaster SRF reported.

A Suva spokesman confirmed the report but said it concerned a particular driver who had sought to clarify his status, not a general ruling on Uber’s business model. “For us it is not about the company but about the person involved,” he said.

Nevertheless Rasoul Jalali, general manager at Uber, took issue with Suva, which he said had classified independent drivers as employees in other cases before Uber arrived in Switzerland, triggering other challenges.
“Taxi dispatchers have had exactly this issue for years and yet today there is not one driver employed by a big dispatcher in cities such as Zurich or Geneva. So this is nothing new in Switzerland and we will challenge it, just as others have,” he said in a statement.

“Drivers using the Uber app are independent contractors who enjoy all the flexibility and freedom that come with being self-employed.”

Founded in 2009, Uber has taken the world by storm but come up against opposition too.

Various services it has proposed have been banned in some countries and it faces numerous battles in US courts over labour standards, safety rules and pricing policies that trigger fare surges at peak times.

© Thomson Reuters 2016

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