At a time when the client is shifting its consumer-marketing strategy from a regional to a global approach, OMD has tapped Patrick Gunn to manage Levi’s global digital activities. He replaces Cari Weisberger, who left the agency in December.
Gunn brings a diversified background to the new assignment, including stints at Procter & Gamble and technology firm HP. Most recently, Gunn was a marketing executive at Disney Online Studios, where he led a $120 million global marketing effort consisting of a portfolio of online virtual worlds, including the kid-targeted Club Penguin.
Prior to Disney, Gunn was with digital game marketer Electronic Arts, where he created numerous games for Apple’s iOS platform and developed EA’s sponsorship program for mobile games.
Commenting on the hire, Greg Castronuovo, president of OMD’s West Coast operations, where the Levi's business is managed, described Gunn as “the new face of the media professional today,” with a background that includes a blend of media experience and broader marketing disciplines.
Castronuovo said that Gunn would be orchestrating a new digital approach for the client. When OMD won the estimated $100 million global media assignment from Levi's in 2011, “the mandate became much more holistic and looking across the marketing spectrum,” said Castronuovo. “They want to apply deep marketing insights and strategies to market for them around the globe.”
As part of the change in strategy, Levi's is looking to present “a single face to consumers around the world,” said Castronuovo. Previously, the client had embraced an approach that differed by style region.
A key element to Levi’s new global marketing plan is social media, said Gunn. While the client has understood the importance of social media in the past, its implementation is being taken to a new level, he said. “Social expression and dialogue is very important to the Levi's consumer,” Gunn said.
“We're helping them to bring global partnerships to life to enable consumers to have a strong relationship” with the client. “There's a passion for the brand,” and the social piece is “something we’re tackling right away,” he added.
Gunn said that he’s had an interest in joining a media shop since his stint at EA, where he worked closely with Apple and its agency Media Arts Lab, part of OMD sister shop TBWA. “They were innovative and strategic and it was the first time where I found the agency leading their clients.”
Castronuovo said he was aware of Gunn and his work through colleagues who had worked with him. “When we had the chance, we couldn’t pass up” the opportunity to hire him, he said.
While online is important to Levi’s new strategy, it does not lead it, Castronuovo said. But neither does off line. What does lead it is the consumer, who flows seamlessly between online and offline throughout the day. “It’s one line,” he said.