The move, which comes days after another top digital media executive--Executive Vice President-Media Insights, Planning and Analysis Greg Smith--left Carat Fusion, signals part of an exodus of top talent to more entrepreneurial and creative digital agencies. Recently, the 60-person Real Branding raided Bob Johnson, the former head of West Coast operations for Agency.com and a founder of Ketchum Interactive as its head of account services; and Susan MacDermid, former head of Asia-Pacific operations for Modem Media, who joined as its head of strategy.
The raids come as Real Branding is breaking out of the mold of endemic Web advertisers and expanding into a wide range of consumer goods and services--with recent wins that include Coca-Cola Co. and Unilever, and media accounts such as HBO and Warner Home Video. Other major clients include spirits marketer Diageo, Estee Lauder and AOL.
"Over the last three to five years, we started to get really serious about going after CPGs," says Mark Silva, principal and founder of Real Branding, referring to the acronym for consumer packaged goods advertisers.
Now Silva says Real Branding, which also has operations in New York, is getting serious about media, and not just the conventional platforms associated with online media, but all of the emerging digital media platforms that grow from or are connected to it. That's where Treffiletti comes in.
Treffiletti, who also is also a regular weekly columnist on MediaPost's Online Spin, will expand Real Branding's portfolio beyond conventional online platforms such as Web design, banners and search, to include more emerging platforms including mobile media and digital TV.
"We're already doing some of that," said Silva, estimating that "probably 5 to 10 percent" of its clients spending involves emerging digital platforms. He declined to estimate how much more money would be diverted into new platforms, noting that it would vary client by client, and would ultimately depend on the how consumers embrace those new platforms.
"Our clients want someone who knows about it and can provide thought leadership in that area," he said, emphasizing that the addition of Treffiletti wouldn't necessarily remake Real Branding's focus on media, but would make it more of an equal part with creative, strategy and planning.
Treffiletti will be based in Real Branding's San Francisco headquarters.