NA Social Media Practice Lead Hired

Duri Alajrami has joined Blast Radius in the newly created role of VP, Social Strategy, North America, effective immediately, the agency announced.

Alajrami will be working with a Blast Radius team dedicated to taking their social media practice across North America to the next level. The team will be working with brands including BMW, BRP, lululemon, Nike and Starbucks.

The social media practice comprises social strategists, community managers and research analysts, and continues to grow due to demand on social from the agency’s clients.

Alajrami was most recently at Colour, a leading Canadian full-service agency, where he established Colour Social, a performance-based social media agency focused on consumer brands. Previously, he was a Senior Partner and Director of Social Marketing at OgilvyOne. Over the course of his career, Alajrami has led the social-media strategy for brands such as IBM, Kraft, Unilever and Government of Ontario.

He has also executed more than 20 highly acclaimed social media campaigns, including one for Tassimo, which became a case study in Scott Stratten’s best-selling book, UnMarketing.

Alajrami is working with Steven Harmer, General Manager for the Toronto offices of Blast Radius, Wunderman and KBM, who said, “Duri takes an all-encompassing approach to social media, and this new role is an essential part of our continued growth. We’ve long admired his work as he has a strong sense of social strategy and how it fits into the digital ecosystem. We are very fortunate to have Duri join the team.”

Alajrami said, “It was an easy decision to join Blast Radius, having previously been part of the WPP global network in social capacities in 2007 for Mindshare and again in 2009 for Ogilvy. I’m especially eager to join Blast given the shared values and goals in connecting brands to consumers in a highly social world.”

New York Strategy Director for Novartis

Alex Yenni has joined Blast Radius New York in the role of Strategy Director, effective immediately, the agency announced.

Yenni will be working primarily with the agency’s portfolio of Novartis brands as well as new business. He will be reporting to Brenda Fiala, Senior Vice President of Strategy.

He was most recently at SapientNitro New York, where he was the lead digital planner for vitaminwater (including the recent #MakeBoringBrilliiant campaign), as well as social strategist on NASCAR, BBVA and other Coca-Cola brands including Minute Maid and Seagrams Ginger Ale. He has also led strategy for large consumer brand portfolios at Mediacom and Vonage.

Fiala said, “Alex brings a wealth of campaign experience as well as deep social knowledge to Blast. We’re keen to bring his new perspective to our work.”

About the move, Yenni adds, “I’m looking forward to Blast’s first class interactive team, and building on the agency’s long tradition of tight integration between strategy and creative.”

Managing Director Wunderman Toronto

Wunderman has named Steve Harmer as managing director of Wunderman Toronto, effective immediately. Harmer will provide global and regional clients with the combined resources of Wunderman, Blast Radius and KBM Group. The move comes in the wake of Wunderman’s service offering realignment announced in March. Harmer will report to Kass Sells, president, Wunderman, North America.

Harmer takes over from Nancy Melcher, who acted as Toronto’s managing director for the past two years. Most recently, he has served as general manager for Blast Radius’ Toronto office, where he will continue to lead a team of digital-savvy professionals to bring high-caliber strategic communications thinking to a wide range of clients. Harmer inherits a client roster that includes Microsoft, Kraft, and BRP, among others, as well as coordinated efforts with Y&R Advertising in Toronto.

“What makes Steve the right person for this intra-agency offering is both a strong discipline background across consumer engagement, branded content and data, as well as expertise in digital for our clients,” said Sells. “Better, he is a leader of people and teams and is hands-on in the work of making great creative that drives strong business results for our clients.”

Commenting on the decision to move forward, Wunderman chairman and CEO Daniel Morel said, “Steve is an assertive, progressive, forward and future-leaning leader. He will bring the full power of Wunderman to our clients and their business. Best of all, he is a Toronto native who loves Canada and has a passion for doing great work for both Canadian and global companies.”

Days of Communication

Blast Radius Paris Senior Strategy Director Branislav Peric will be speaking at the Days of Communication festival in Rovinj.

Days of Communication
“The Economy of Scale in Digital”
Rovinj, Croatia
May 16-19, 2013

The New York Times

Blast Radius SVP of Strategy, Brenda Fiala, comments on the recent Dove campaign “Dove Real Beauty Sketches” in The New York Times.

It hits on a real human truth for women,” Ms. Fiala said. “Many women undervalue themselves and also the way they look.”

Read the full article.

WPP — Leaders in Advertising, Digital, Relationship Marketing.