Full-service creative agency Observatory is already projecting a 2022 in which revenue doubles by naming one of the shepherds of that growth, Brendan Shields-Shimizu, to a new role as president and chief operating officer. The agency also announced new moves within its growing brand and creative teams.
Brendan was most recently managing director and head of the brand team at Observatory where he led work for Chipotle, Marriott, AB InBev, Bonobos, Netflix and Nike, among others. He was instrumental in launching Observatory as a stand-alone entity after its origin as CAA Marketing. Since then, Observatory has made a splash as an agency built for the content era, creating work that attracts and engages rather than interrupts consumers. In both 2020 and 2021, Fast Company recognized Observatory as one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies.
“This promotion is a fait accompli. Brendan is the bedrock of our agency, the glue that keeps us together, and always the grownup in the room,” says Jae Goodman, CEO, Observatory. “This promotion is about so much more than expertise, intellect or work ethic, it’s about Brendan’s super-human commitment to Observatory colleagues, clients and culture. I just can’t imagine this place without him, and can’t imagine anyone else better to help lead us into our shared future.”
Brendan first joined the team as an assistant at CAA Marketing in 2011, an experience he refers to as an “MBA in entertainment,” and has driven much of its signature work. “It’s exciting to continue into my second decade with this team at Observatory, and I’m honoured to help lead us forward,” he says. “We have such a caring, smart and curious group of people who’ve come together from different backgrounds, which lets us create things that few other agencies can even attempt — and it makes for the best possible place to come to work each day.”
With Brendan moving into his new role, Caroline Doyle has been promoted to head of the brand team at Observatory. Caroline currently oversees Netflix, Treasury Wine Estates (who recently launched 19 Crimes’ Martha’s Chard with Martha Stewart), and multiple new business projects. She has 15 years of experience in brand management and entertainment marketing. Past clients include Mazda, MasterClass, Pepsi, Nestle Purina, Bank of America and more.
The agency also welcomes two new creative directors, Hunter Leigh Hall and Ben Majoy.
Hunter Leigh joins the agency after two years of freelancing. Prior to this they worked as a creative group head for The Richards Group and Wieden+Kennedy (alongside Observatory CCO Linda Knight and CEO Goodman). Hunter Leigh’s experience includes campaigns for Kate Spade, Nike, and their personal favourite, the “Hail to the V” campaign for Summer’s Eve.
Ben was previously creative director at Warner Records’ UPROXX agency and brings years of pop culture and copywriting expertise to Observatory’s creative department. A veteran of Deutsch LA, Crispin Porter + Bogusky and Omelet, his work has appeared in projects for brands including Taco Bell, Doritos and Verizon.
Observatory has also hired VCU and Creative Circus grad Lily Groth as a junior art director, and LA-based artist Luisa Lacsamana as a designer.
“We’re on fire right now and just hired a group of creative maniacs to help us burn even brighter,” says Linda Knight, CCO at Observatory. “Ben is a ‘goth boss’ and member of the band Melted Bodies, Hunter a ‘spiritually lit shaman,’ Lily a fresh-out-of-school phenom and Luisa a girl wonder designer. Just as important, they’re super people who’ve instinctively embraced our collaborative culture.”