Childs was drawn to Initiative for “the promise” of what media agencies could become if they offered different skill sets. That includes combining creative thinking with data-driven strategizing and bringing creative talent closer to the analytics that fuel media planning and buying today.
“There’s a strategy behind it that leads to briefing creatives toward creating better success for brands, clients and campaigns,” Childs said. “Through understanding programmatic, data and analytics, we’re able to connect better with the audience in the smartest way.”
Many creatives haven’t been exposed to programmatic, data and analytics at various agency functions, according to Childs.
“You learn what is going to work best and you start to understand what you can create for different platforms and, most importantly, why you would create it,” Childs said.
For that reason, creative leadership is starting to trickle down from the holding company level to individual agencies, he added. The strategy is not to create silos of creative talent at each agency, but to appoint a creative lead who can work with other chief creative officers across a holding company.
“The key word in my job title is ‘global,’” Childs said. “In my case, this is a role to come in and travel to distinct offices to work with those teams.”
That core, global group will therefore be tasked with fostering a cohesive creative strategy that’s informed by data and spans across IPG agencies.
Childs joins Initiative following a five-year stint at FleishmanHillard, a New York City public relations firm under the Omnicom umbrella. He previously served as head of content development at Grey New York.
Initiative’s roster of clients includes Unilever, SAB Miller and BMW. The agency’s roughly 2,500 employees work from offices in 73 countries around the globe. Childs reports directly to Initiative Global CEO Jim Elms.