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Bigballs Media snaps up James Kirkham for chief strategy officer role

Bigballs Media has appointed Holler co-founder and Leo Burnett’s former social and mobile boss James Kirkham to help shape its pan-European business as well as head up the Copa90 YouTube football channel.

Kirkham will report into Bigballs Media's Tom Thirlwall and will lead a team of 50 in the UK office. His immediate focus will be on bolstering the agency’s efforts in mobile and social as well as identifying opportunities for clients on emerging platforms. Another key part of his role will be to deepen relationships with the agency’s advertisers such as Hyundai as well building out its Creator Network of fans worldwide.

It ends Kirkham’s brief exit from the agency world after it was announced last November that he would leave Leo Burnett after six years. He joined the creative shop when Holler, the agency he founded with business partner Will Pyne in 2001, was acquired by Publicis Groupe.

Kirkham was then promoted to head of mobile and social, while the Holler brand was exported from the UK to Leo Burnett’s offices around the world including Dubai, Moscow, Chicago and San Francisco. Holler has worked on campaigns for advertisers such as Channel 4, Mercedes-Benz, P&G and Red Bull.

Tom Thirlwall, chief executive of Big Balls Media, said: “James is a massive coup for this business. He built one of the outstanding agency brands of the last decade in Holler, worked with some of the most progressive global brands and is a leading voice in media and innovation – he is therefore perfect to lead the global expansion of Copa90 and, moreover, the growth of Bigballs Media as the new player in the sports media landscape”

Kirkham added: “I’ve been invited to help disrupt sports media around the world, and to run the most exciting, progressive, football network on the planet which is backed by some of the most respected investors in media and tech. So I’m pinching myself.

“Football has never been bigger, yet a comically old fashioned media model still exists, and it is nowhere near well enough equipped to satisfy a modern fan. Copa90 has changed the game, and I could not be more excited to lead it into the next era.”

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