Mel Routhier promoted to ECD of DDB Chicago, more


Earlier this week, DDB announced the promotion of popular Mel Routhier to Executive Creative Director from her previous position of Group Creative Director. Routhier and fellow ECD Colin Selikow will both report to DDB Chicago CCO John Maxham. With her promotion to ECD, Routhier will continue overseeing the creative for State Farm, one of the agency’s largest accounts (and doing great creative imo), and driving best-in-class work.

Regarding Routhier’s new role Maxham said, “Mel’s appointment to ECD could not be more well deserved. She has consistently proven herself to be indispensable to State Farm and the agency as a creative leader, and I am delighted to further recognize her achievements with this promotion.”

Over the past several years, Routhier has been an instrumental creative force behind some of the agency’s most successful efforts. In 2016 she was integral to developing and introducing State Farm’s new tagline, “Here to help life go right,” as the agency went on to defend and consolidate the account in 2015. This was the brand’s first new tagline in nearly sixty years. Most recently, Routhier took home a Lion at the 2017 Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity for her work on State Farm’s “Following” campaign.

“I couldn’t be more excited or humbled to continue to play a role in helping build such an iconic brand. We have a lot of great work ahead of us, and operating in this role will be an exciting new step in my adventures with DDB,” said Routhier.

To read more about her promotion, click here.

MERGE hires two

MERGE Network has hired Troy Mastin as Chief Financial Officer and Bob Bernstein as EVP, Media Director.

Troy Masten

Mastin will oversee finance and operations across the company, which has offices in Chicago, Boston and Atlanta, and work closely with CEO, Ron Bess. Mastin spent seven years in key leadership positions at The Marketing Store in Chicago after he was hired in 2009.

As VP, Global Finance and Strategy, he managed a finance team that developed a transformative growth strategy for the company. His duties included budgeting, planning, analysis, key contracts, negotiations and legal activities.

In 2012, he was promoted to SVP, Global Strategy and Operations. In this role, Mastin led The Marketing Store’s strategic planning across six distinct operating units and was actively involved in the oversight and management of key budgeting, planning and staffing decisions around the global network.

“Troy is a hands-on and collaborative finance leader who will help our agency teams strategically drive businesses forward,” said Bess, CEO of MERGE Network, a unified agency with capabilities in strategy, creativity and technology.

Mastin has led the transformation of companies across categories and is especially at home in the digital space. He has been a C-suite advisor to private equity firms, corporations and boards and was one of the original equity analysts associated with the Google IPO. During his decade-long career as an analyst, Mastin was named a Wall Street Journal “Best on the Street” analyst twice for the Advertising and Marketing sector.

“I’m excited to join the MERGE team of seasoned and dynamic leaders — particularly as we enter our next phase of transformation and growth,” Mastin commented.

Bob Bernstein

Bernstein, who has sharp digital media, data analytics and non-traditional media expertise, joins MERGE from the Chicago office of Epsilon where he was SVP, Director of Media and Performance marketing.

Before Epsilon, Bernstein worked at Centro, a digital-technology firm, where he connected paid search, display, social, mobile, programmatic and online video inventory to a range of agencies and clients.

His media experience spans nearly three decades and includes running the media department for eleven years at FCB Chicago. Under his leadership, the department grew from 20 people to more than 100. While at FCB, Bernstein was recognized by Ad Age, as a “Media Maven” among the top media thinkers in the U.S. market.

“We’re excited to have Bob join our team at this point in our new agency’s trajectory,” said Bess, CEO of MERGE. “His talent, knowledge and deep experience will help take us to the next level of media thinking for our clients.”

A former adjunct professor at the University of Chicago where he taught contemporary media for five years, Bernstein was also a 10-year board member of the National Sports Marketing Network.

SRW Agency names Torres Chief Idea Officer

Benny Torres

SRW Agency, today announced Bienvenido “Benny” Torres as its first Chief Idea Officer. Torres brings his diverse experiences as creative director, copywriter, college lecturer, storyteller and stand-up comic to give life to the agency’s newly created role.

He will work across all agency accounts, from Natural Foods household names Simple Mills, Kite Hill and Kitchfix.

“Benny’s role exists to create space for imagination,” shared SRW founder and Chief Creative Officer, Brian Rolling. “He is outlining processes and language to give creative responsibility to *everyone* in the agency, so we all have the tools to bring our ideas to SRW partners. Whether we’re creating a 30-second social media video, or executing a total re-brand, the same amount of creative energy is going into all our projects. When you quit advertising, you quit the creative director model where the ‘big ideas’ are reserved for your ‘big’ projects and the processes for creating them are shrouded in mystery.”

“For the past two years, I’ve worked with the SRW team on a project basis and find the ‘quit advertising’ mindset energizing. The founders have an ultimate respect for ideas and offer the freedom to have fun, fail forward and create work that excites our clients and consumers,” explained Torres. “In my role as Chief Idea Officer, I am folding together my passion for creative thinking and my work as a college lecturer and cultivator of young talent.”

Prior to joining SRW, Torres served as a copywriter for Chicago-based Frequency540 working on the agency’s Nintendo and Caterpillar Foundation accounts. He also worked with Nintendo as a senior strategist and copywriter while at Leo Burnett Worldwide.

Before joining Burnett, Torres served as a junior creative director and copywriter for Denuo, a Publicis Groupe agency, working with brands including Old El Paso and Redbox.

Dobose signs with Above+Beyond Films

Laurel Dobose

Up and coming LA-based production company Above+Beyond Films has signed Laurel Dobose of Gypsy Reps as their midwest representation.

Above+Beyond was founded by Beth Aranda-Hodzic and Ashley Hydrick. The company most recently signed director Sam Ciaramitaro as reported previously here.

Contact Colin Costello at or follow him on Twitter @colincostello10.