Global digital agency Wunderman has appointed Kat Gates and Jeffrey Castellano as group creative directors in its flagship New York office. The two will oversee day-to-day creative strategy for agency clients, including United Airlines, Danone, Coca-Cola, Isle of Capri, E*Trade and the Major League Baseball Players Association, and will report directly to chief creative officer Sami Thessman.
The hirings are part of Thessman’s plan to expand Wunderman NY’s creative offering. Arriving from Facebook and Google, respectively, where both served in creative director roles, Gates and Castellano were recruited specifically for their expertise in mobile and experiential marketing, digital, data and UX.
In her previous role, Gates managed the development of digital brand experiences for Facebook and played a key role in the rebrand of Facebook for Business. Castellano specialized in interactive experiences, product design and branding for Google.
“Kat and Jeffrey both have a deep understanding of social media, mobile UX and technology and are motivated by big, insight-driven ideas,” said Thessman. “These qualities are very much aligned with the future of Wunderman and our industry generally.”
A savvy brand strategist with extensive global experience, Gates was previously a regional creative director for Pampers and Iams at Saatchi & Saatchi in Germany. Prior to that she was a global creative director on Always at Leo Burnett, where she was part of the team behind the multi award-winning ‘Like A Girl’ campaign.
Prior to Google, Castellano was J. Walter Thompson’s director of creative technology in New York where he managed the agency’s digital creative studio and lead multidisciplinary teams in UX, technology and production for clients including Rolex, J&J, Energizer and Nestle. An advocate for greater technical exploration within the creative community, Castellano also develops new digital products such as Empath, an artificial intelligence storytelling framework that utilizes data to generate consumer profiles and deliver personalized experiences in real-time. He has served on the 4A’s Creative Technology Committee and is the digital chair for the Global Fine Arts Awards.
“Data is a fundamental part of today’s creative process,” said Castellano. “Wunderman excels at delivering creative ideas and strategies fueled by data and I’m excited to help this team develop the kind of meaningful experiences that drive our clients’ businesses forward.”
Gates added: “My passion is helping brands create deeper relationships with their customers. Wunderman in uniquely able to educate and inspire brands about their consumers and then bring them to life on the platforms that make the most sense for their audience. I’m excited to help further their data-driven approach.”
The appointments follow Wunderman New York’s significant business wins, including becoming the direct agency of record for E*TRADE, responsible for creative strategy, direct mail and data and analytics. In September, Wunderman New York also became responsible for all of Isle of Capri’s direct marketing and is leading digital and branding initiatives for the Major League Baseball Players Association as well as branding, tools and services for USTA.