YouTube nabs W+K Portland exec for new brand strategy position
- Tom Blessington, formerly managing director for Wieden + Kennedy Portland, is slated to become the first VP of brand, media & experiences for YouTube, handling brand strategy and integrated marketing campaigns, per Ad Age.
- The newly created position covers the entirety of YouTube including YouTube Red, YouTube TV, music and original series.
- Blessington will report to YouTube CMO Danielle Tiedt, who told Ad Age his iconoclastic nature made him an attractive addition to Google’s video platform. Blessington’s familiarity with TV advertising was also a selling point as YouTube's reach into TV screens increases. The company reported in its Q2 earnings call last month that YouTube has 1.5 billion monthly users watching 60 minutes of content each day, and the fastest growing screen for the platform is “in the living room,” said CEO Sundar Pichai in the earnings call.
With some brands starting to return to YouTube after a boycott over brand safety issues earlier this year, the platform is clearly trying to build better relationships with advertisers. The executive move points to two trends impacting the marketing industry sector. One is that the prestige of traditional agencies continues to display vulnerability against major challenges both on the client side and via competition from new players looking to work more closely with advertisers and possibly bypass ad agencies for strategic and creative work. Google, Facebook and consultancies like Accenture are just a few of the entities looking to encroach on agency territory.
The second trend evident in the YouTube news is that digital video is making serious inroads into the reach of broadcast and cable TV both in terms of viewers and grabbing advertising dollars.
The news also follows YouTube's move to refresh its logo and better optimize viewing experiences earlier this week.
From Tiedt's statements to Ad Age, Blessington’s agency experience and familiarity with TV advertising was a major draw in picking him for the new VP spot as the TV screen becomes ever more important to YouTube. With competition heating up on the digital content front from Facebook, Netflix, Apple, Snapchat and more, Blessington could help YouTube attract advertisers considering a move away from traditional TV but happy to see a familiar face.
At W+K Portland, Blessington had a hand in campaigns such as the innovative approach KFC has taken with its marketing in recent years, like a recent campaign around sending one of the chain's sandwiches into space.