Brand Loves Agency Contact So Much It Hires Her As CMO

Wyoming-based Taco John's loved its agency contact so much, it hired her away and gave her the title of CMO. After five years as VP of insights and media at Sioux Falls-based Lawrence & Schiller, Billie Jo Waara has joined the Mexican-themed fast food restaurant to focus on growing the chain's awareness in the area. Of the hire, Taco John's CEO Jeff Linville said: "I hired Billie Jo because of her proven results and impressive experience growing sales and transactions. I believe she will play a lead role in helping us achieve both our short and long term growth goals here at Taco John's."

In the wake of the failed Publicis-Omnicom merger, the Mini Holding Company is rising to prominence. Yesterday we learned that Chicago-based private equity firm Lake Capital aims to acquire London-based Engine Group, parent to Deep Focus, Noise and several others. Today, Project Worldwide, the 30th largest holding company according to Ad Age's DataCenter, is acquiring LA-based Pitch which is known for its work on Burger King, Pepsi and Meineke. Of the decision to become part of Project Worldwide, Pitch Co-Founder Jon Banks said, "Life's too short to work with bad people, so when we looked at who we would want to partner with, cultural fit was definitely the threshold."

Like every other agency searching for new business models in order to stay afloat, Dallas-based ad agency Launch has, well, launched a business of its own. The agency has debuted HeadSpace, a co-working space for creative professionals. Of the launch, Launch Principal and HeadSpace Co-Founder Diane Seimetz Duncan said: "HeadSpace is unique in the Dallas marketplace, as it was designed by creative marketing professionals for creative marketing professionals. We want to be a community of ideas, innovation, networking and new opportunities for everyone -- including us."

In what will be a boon for some agencies and a disaster for others, P&G is divesting or shedding or merging half of its brands and will focus on its top 70-80 brands. Of the move, P&G Chairman and CEO A.G. Lafley said: "Today we are announcing an important strategic step forward that will significantly streamline and simplify the company's business and brand portfolio. We will become a much more focused, much more streamlined company of 70 to 80 brands." The 70-80 brands P&G plans to retain account for 90% of company sales and 95% of profit.

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