Arrivals & Departures

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STW-owned Designworks Wellington has appointed Dan Mercer as Creative Director: Mercer starts on January 5 next year, and will partner with managing director Guy Vasey and head of innovation Chris McDermott to ensure continued growth of the Wellington office.

Vasey said the past 12 months had seen the studio in Wellington significantly enhance its experience design and service innovation capability.

“Identifying a strong creative leader aligned to this strategy and the rapidly changing client needs was critical for success,” Vasey said in a release.

“It’s been an exhaustive search but patience has paid off. In Dan we’ve found a genuine design thinker who shares our passion for creating brilliant user experiences. Dan’s diverse experience will be an exciting addition to the re-energised Wellington team and brings valuable experience for clients across the Designworks group.”

In his new role, Mercer will be responsible for leading the Wellington design team, bringing more than 20 years of experience.  He most recently worked as CD with independent consultancy Purpose in Sydney, and has also been team leader with STW’s Moon Group, head of art at Naked Communications and spent more than 10 years at Seven in Auckland.

His category experience is broad and includes the full spectrum of large corporates, small boutique brands and not-for-profit.

Group CD Jef Wong said: “We see Dan as the total designer, ideas driven, business savvy with a real unique ability to simply capture the essence of a brand with a beautiful aesthetic. It’s great to have Dan as part of the team.”

Mercer said he has admired the Designworks ethos and commitment to not sit still or accept the status quo, and relentlessly craft every job big or small from start to finish.

“Designworks never stops pursuing excellence for brands and embracing innovation and fresh thinking,” Mercer said. “I can’t wait to get stuck in with Jef, Guy and Chris and the whole team in Wellington and the other five offices across the region.”

Designworks has offices in New Zealand, Australia and South East Asia.

Grey Lynn-based Beat Communications has appointed Rebecca Priestley as account manager: She’ll be working across their FMCG portfolio.

She previously worked at Spark PR & Activate on the adidas and Unilever accounts.

House of Travel has appointed Ken Freer to the role of marketing director: Currently the director of global marketing and acting chief executive at Fiji Tourism, Freer was previously responsible for Tourism New Zealand’s marketing in North America, the United Kingdom and Europe.

Freer also has a strong base in digital marketing as a result of a prior role for Westpac in both New Zealand and Australia. His career has been built on running his own agency for five years, where he handled the direct operations for American Express, Jaguar and Citroen among others.

“Ken brings a unique skill set to the role of marketing director with a wide breadth of international experience, and having owned and run his own agency as a base,” says House of Travel ceo Mark O’Donnell.

“House of Travel is currently experiencing its third record year in a row in the New Zealand travel retail market,” O’Donnell said. “It is great to have someone of Ken’s calibre join us as we move into another exciting phase.

“He is going to be focused on ensuring the House of Travel brand continues to resonate with our customers, regardless of the channel they engage with us in. Today’s customers are interacting with us through a wide range of digital mediums as well as face to face, and we want to ensure they get the same premium level of service in every forum.”

O’Donnell says Freer will also look at aligning the House of Travel business behind a “robust and exciting” new marketing strategy based on consumer insights, as well as working with owner operators to ensure the customer experience is a uniquely House of Travel one in every outlet.

Freer says he is looking forward to joining the company on 12 January. “I’ve always admired House of Travel as a business that is at the forefront of the New Zealand retail travel industry,” he says.

“I’m very pleased to be able to return home to New Zealand and get to join the fantastic team during what promises to be an extremely exciting time for the business.”

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