Troika Design Group, a multidisciplinary brand strategy and design agency for clients in entertainment media, announced that Whit Friese has joined the company as its newest creative director. Friese is a 17-year alum of Leo Burnett and most recently was a producer and consultant on the TNT show "Trust Me," which was based on some of his life experiences in the advertising world.
"Whit joins us at a time when clients are looking for more out of their communications partners - they want comprehensive solutions and new levels of support in marketing, branding and advertising," said Dan Pappalardo, executive creative director and partner, Troika. "He brings sharp creative focus, fun and clever creative solutions and an impressive understanding of branding and connecting to audiences through all forms of media. We're very excited Whit is calling Troika his home."
Friese will be working closely with Pappalardo and Troika Partner Chuck Carey on spearheading three key areas of focus increasingly driving Troika's business. These include Entertainment Media Branding, which services all phases of a brand's life cycle, from brand and creative strategy through design, production and brand stewardship; Promotion and Advertising Campaigns across all media; and Advertising Integration, which incorporates brands seamlessly into and around entertainment content in new ways.
Whit Friese boasts an almost two-decade-long career at Leo Burnett, first as a creative director and art director in the Chicago office, and then as executive creative director, where he also co-managed the agency's 320-person Tokyo office, Beacon Communications. During his Leo Burnett tenure, he's led departments of 70 creatives on brand, advertising and transmedia campaigns for global companies such as Nike, Coca-Cola, McDonald's and Major League Baseball -- work that resulted in numerous industry accolades, including recognition from D&AD, The Clios, ADC, The One Show and The Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions.
Friese's experience in advertising was most recently fodder for the TNT show "Trust Me," which he produced and acted as technical consultant. The series was the brainchild of two Leo Burnetters, which Friese worked with for over a decade in Chicago, and chronicled the inner workings of a fictitious Chicago ad agency. Friese created all brand integrations for GM, Anheuser Busch and Unilever within the episodes, wrote and oversaw all on-air promotions, created digital integrations of brands into the show, and designed the logo and title treatment for the series.
"The ad industry has been constantly challenged to forecast what's next," said Friese. "And for a while it's been 'what's going to replace the 30-second spot?' Audiences are increasingly fragmented. The plethora of ways people consume media - online, DVR, social, mobile - can stretch a brand to places it's unfamiliar with. But whether or not a brand is running a 30-second spot, the real challenge is how to design a brand to feel, act and connect in all of these spaces. These are the challenges that clients are coming to Troika to help solve. Troika has long been providing clients with the kind of solutions-oriented strategy and design that ad agencies have been known for. But it's Troika's experience in the world of entertainment and its savvy about how brands translate across all platforms, that makes a company like Troika so relevant right now."
Since joining Troika, Friese has been instrumental in developing the integrated brand strategy and creative launch materials for The Hub, Hasbro and Discovery Channel's new children's TV network premiering this fall. In addition to Friese joining Troika, Holly Eddy has returned to the company as executive producer after serving as executive producer of !mpossible Pictures in Denver, Colorado.