Digital agency Amnesia Razorfish has announced a restructure that sees the closure of its social media department and coincides with the departure of its social media manager Karalee Evans.
Evans was hired into the role less than nine months ago, after running a much talked about “Skirt for hire” social media campaign to get a job.
Today’s announcement from the Sydney agency of “plans to redefine the way it undertakes social media projects for clients in 2011” comes a day after it did not respond to Mumbrella’s inquiry about rumours that most of the agency’s social media team had quit. The agency previously said it was the first in Australia to have a full time social media department.
Today’s press release from Amnesia said: “The agency will today launch two new departments; Social Gaming, which will be lead by Brady O’Halloran and Emerging Technology, with new head Stephan Lange. As part of this change, social media will become a mandatory discipline across every role in the agency.”
ECD Iain McDonald had not returned Mumbrella’s call at the time of writing. In the press release he said: “Over the last four years social media has become more and more part of what we do, regardless of whether it is creative or media led, so we’ve decided that it’s time to take social to the next level within the business.
“As an agency we’re in the market of innovating and pushing boundaries and we don’t get results by standing still. We successfully rode the first wave of social, but the next wave looks bigger and better and we need all staff to have social media skills to continue that success.”
The announcement of Evans departure also offered a quote from her saying: “It’s been a great experience being here, and the success of the social offering has led to it being destined for new things within the whole agency.”
Although the agency said in its release that that Evans departure was “part of the new structure”, Mumbrella understands that she had chosen to resign in advance of that.
Amnesia said she would not be directly replaced but that a new position was being “explored”. A social media campaign currently underway is on behalf of Expedia, which sees control of the brand’s Facebook page handed over to consumers as part of a competition.
Ben Hourahine, Amnesia Razorfish’s strategy director, will now take charge of implementing social channel planning, the agency said.
The new Emerging Technology team was behind Amnesia Razorfish’s new sharing platform for users of the Microsoft Surface table which it launched last week.
Meanwhile, the Social gaming department builds on Amnesia’s existing skills, which has already seen it create more than 120 games over the last decade, it said. The department will also produce iPad, iPhone, Windows Phone, Blackberry and Android apps.
Update: McDonald told Mumbrella: “Social has changed and we want to redefine what solcial means.”
Referring to the number of social media leads the agency has been through, including brief tenures from Ian Lyons (five months), Tiphereth Gloria (10 months) and now Karalee Evans (nine months), he told Mumbrella: “While it looks like it’s it’s something unstable, it’s been really good having those people through bringing in different skills.
“It looks like the agency is collapsing but it’s not that at all.”