Joe Talcott to set up internal creative offering at News Ltd as Ed Smith takes marketing role

Joe Talcott News LtdNews Ltd is to set up an in-house ad agency for clients, led by Joe Talcott who is moving from his role as the company’s group director of marketing.

Meanwhile, in a second high level move, Ed Smith, currently CEO of content and commercial at News Digital Media, is becoming News Ltd’s new group marketing director.

Announcing the “new creative hub”, News Ltd said that it was creating “a new creative division that will help advertisers build their brands, and better engage with existing and new audiences”.

According to the company, “the division, which will open in early 2011, will provide a service to advertisers far beyond anything that any publisher or broadcaster has previously offered.”  

Like a more traditional ad agency, the new offering will employ creatives and strategists. Talcott told Mumbrella he would be recruiting both internally and externally and the structure would most likely include a creative director who may be hired from a similar agency role.

The new challenge marks a return to his roots for Talcott, who began his career as a copywriter in the USA. He told Mumbrella it marked his career having gone “full circle”. He later became global marketing and creative director of McDonald’s before joining News Ltd five years ago. He also chairs the Australian Association of National Advertisers.

News Ltd CEO John Hartigan said: ““In his 30 year career, Joe has worked at the highest levels for marketers and agencies. Having worked on some of the world’s biggest brands and media outlets, he is perfectly placed to lead the division.”

Hartigan also said: “News Limited has over six decades of experience in creating and executing peerless advertising solutions. It is now time for us to expand and sharpen that expertise for the benefit of our customers.

“Made up of creatives and strategists, this creative hub will be a hot-house of ideas. It will harness the abundance of creativity that runs through this company and use it to help brands connect and resonate with their target audiences. Its purpose will be to provide our customers with world class multi-platform solutions that utilise the strength of our content combined with the unrivalled reach of our media brands.”

Talcott said “I am incredibly excited to lead this new endeavour; to collaborate with advertisers and their agencies in a new and innovative way.”

Talcott acknowledged to Mumbrella: “We’re not first in the market with this.” He said where the division differs to the likes of Seven Group’s SMG Red, PBL’s Powered and Fairfax 360 is “that those offerings are sales led, whereas we will be creative ideas led”. Talcott’s team will report in to Hartigan rather than to the sales department. He said: “We might sometimes recommend assets we don’t own.”

Ed Smith

Meanwhile, Ed Smith’s appointment in the marketing role is part of a rapid ascent within News Ltd, and points to what the company says will be a “major strategic shift in the way the company markets its media brands”.

Describing Smith – who joined four years ago – as “one of our brightest and best young executives”, Hartigan said “In a few short years, we have moved from decades of stable product and customer behaviour to the greatest period of change this industry has seen.

“The rapid development of new and emerging digital channels means we have the unprecedented opportunity of being the single point of reference for readers wishing to stay informed and inspired throughout the entire day. To realise this opportunity we must excel at acquiring, retaining and servicing customers through numerous channels, and develop print and digital products that meet – and exceed – our customers’ needs and expectations.”

Smith will continue to lead News Ltd’s push into digital paid content, with the added responsibility of “building News Ltd’s ’s customer insights, acquisition and retention capabilities.”

He said “This is a great period of change for media and an exciting time to be a consumer; I’m really looking forward to leading the development of a world class retail marketing capability across the business to support the outstanding editorial, sales, marketing and circulation teams we have.”

Smith joined the company in early 2007 as CEO of Later that year he was appointed News Digital Media’s chief commercial officer and in 2009 he was promoted to chief executive officer, content and commercial. Before that he worked in a marketing role at St George Bank and also ran ad agency DMB&B advertising in Beijing.


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