Chris Apostle of Havas has joined iCrossing, the digital agency owned by Hearst Communications, as chief media officer. He replaces Jeff Ratner, who came to the role last January and recently left iCrossing to pursue unspecified new opportunities.
“I am thrilled to welcome someone of Chris’s caliber and experience to iCrossing,” global president Mike Parker said in a statement. “His client-centric approach, proficiency in managing teams that drive substantial business impact and his extensive background in performance, eretail/Amazon and voice position him well to help take iCrossing to the next level.”
Apostle spent the past three years at Havas Media, where he served as executive vice president, head of innovation. In that role, he established a digital innovation lab focused on voice assistance and visual search while leading the hyper-local search innovation platform and launching an eretail/Amazon practice. He previously held leadership positions at Ogilvy, Razorfish and R/GA and helped advise technology partners such as Adobe, Amazon, Facebook, Google and Microsoft on consumer engagement practices.
Apostle said that conversations with iCrossing began late last year and that it “really didn’t take a lot for me to see that this was the right move and the right place for me to be.”
“What really drove me to iCrossing is that fundamental understanding that digital systems are at the center of so much of the consumer journey right now, and it drives and fuels it,” Apostle said.
He contrasted the agency’s digitally-centered approach with that of many holding company networks rooted in traditional media that have added on digital and search capabilities, calling Heart’s ownership of iCrossing “an incredibly powerful asset to be able to fuel a lot of what we do for our clients.”
“I think where iCrossing sits right now is in a very, very powerful place to be able to leverage the data that we have access to and use that to power those engagements that are going to drive performance,” he added.
Apostle cited “the unpredictable and in-and-out digital aspect of the consumer journey” and “the high level of expectation that brands are going to align to those journeys” as fundamental challenges facing media agencies right now.
“A keen understanding of that journey, how to engage across it and do so in a way that’s relevant and opening that direct feedback loop from consumers so that brands can better understand how to engage with them is going to be critical,” he said.
Their clients include Adobe, Amazon, TDBank, Microsoft, Charles Schwab and Bayer, among others.