DDB North America announced today that the network has strengthened its innovation and experience offering with three senior hires; head of experience Christine Lane, group director, experience Melissa Hochman, and group executive producer, experience Rock Darlington. Reporting into DDB North America’s chief integration officer Lucia Grillo, all three bring creative curiosity and an exceptional dedication to craft that will push DDB North America’s commitment to work beyond the traditional.
Lucia, who joined the regional leadership team last June, has been tasked with evolving DDB’s creative product to be more insight-driven and immersive, delivering platform ideas, with content and executions in more spaces and places.
Lucia said: “DDB North America has been on a journey of creative product transformation over the past year, beginning with the arrival of our CEO and president, Justin Thomas-Copeland and his vision for the agency as a future-forward integrated creative powerhouse. I’m so excited we are taking another step in our journey, as we continue to expand and invest in experience and innovation. Christine, Melissa, and Rock are some of the best at what they do, and we are thrilled to have them at DDB.”
Christine Lane joins DDB North America as head of experience. Christine comes to DDB with an impressive resume, with the last six years spent at McCann as SVP, executive director of innovation. There she was responsible for some of the agency’s best-known non-traditional work, including award-winning ‘Fearless Girl,’ a bronze statue of a young girl, installed on the eve of International Women’s Day, to stare down Wall Street. A true innovator, Lane has dedicated her career to architecting world-class production teams from the ground up to create works for clients such as AT&T, GE, Mastercard, National Geographic, Pfizer, Reckitt and Verizon. In 2018, she was named to Adweek’s Creative 100, a list of gifted professionals who inspire current and future generations with their work and their passion for creativity. Lane will work with teams across DDB North America to drive ideation and lead education and awareness of the latest platform innovation and technology.
Christine said: “I’m at my best when inventing new, unexpected forms of experience, and I feel so at home with the entrepreneurial spirit and way of thinking at DDB. There is a lot to be said for the openness, desire, and drive that DDB has and is putting towards working differently. I’m looking forward to surrounding myself with extremely talented people and matching their creativity with how we can best serve the consumer in order to make the creative output even stronger.”
Partnering with Christine to drive education and serve as a liaison for the social and digital space to bring the best of what the innovation world has to offer is Melissa Hochman. A multidisciplinary strategist by trade, Melissa will help drive digital strategies for experience and social as DDB North America’s group director, experience. She’s worked on a variety of clients including P&G, IBM, Campbell’s Snack Brands, National Down Syndrome Society, and Pizza Hut. Hochman began her 10-year career in media, moved to digital strategy at Ogilvy and most recently, held the role of VP, Digital Strategy at Saatchi & Saatchi. She is fascinated with what makes a consumer’s mind tick and pairing that with knowledge of media behaviours to solve the business challenge at hand.
Melissa said: “There is incredibly strong creative DNA in the DDB brand. The culture feels collaborative and intentionally entrepreneurial which is key to making fully-integrated work. There isn’t a formula for creativity, but DDB is reimagining what it looks like to operationalize and enable it, from the client brief to how it shows up in the world. I am excited to collaborate with Lucia, Christine and Rock as a cross-network team. Plus, I have an absolute crush on DDB’s ground breaking work for Skittles.”
Rock Darlington brings over 17 years of award-winning digital production experience to his role as group executive producer, Experience. He hails from Leo Burnett, where he spent over 12 years leading and executing all forms of integrated production. Rock worked on a number of different projects while at Leo Burnett, but cites using AI to help take bias out of hunger for client Feeding America as a career highlight. Prior to Leo Burnett, Rock spent time as a Producer at Domani Studios, Draft FCB, and Pixel. At DDB, Darlington will work closely with teams across the North America network to vet ideas outside of traditional content and will be a key partner to make the work even better, faster, and smarter.
Rock said: “I’ve always been jealous of the type of work DDB is doing. Unexpected projects, like a Skittles Broadway Show and Miller Lite’s Cantroller, are the kinds of work consumers really enjoy when engaging with brands. I can’t wait to dive in with the teams and continue to find new, interesting avenues to connect brands to their consumer and to help inspire this kind of out-of-the-box thinking.”
DDB North America CEO and president Justin Thomas-Copeland said: “We are strategically strengthening our experience and innovation capabilities and Christine, Melissa, and Rock are all exceptional hires, at the top of their fields, who live and breathe our Unexpected Works philosophy. They will be instrumental to our creative product transformation in taking the briefs to new heights! I cannot wait to see what is to come! ”