Andy Berndt, co-president of Ogilvy & Mather in New York, is departing the WPP Group agency after eight years to head up a new global marketing unit at Google (NSDQ: GOOG), AdAge reported. The new unit is described as a lab focusing on “innovation” and dedicated to finding ways advertisers, agencies and entertainment companies can intersect.
Before his tenure at Ogilvy, Berndt helped create ads for Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) at Weiden & Kennedy. After that, he went to TBWA/Chiat/Day and was the account executive on Apple’s (NSDQ: AAPL) “Think Different” campaign.
— Adweek: Citing a Google representative, the new unit is called Google Creative Lab and Berndt will be its first managing director. As described in the Adweek article, Berndt will oversee the marketing of Google’s brand and services, and strike deals with agencies to use Google’s products as part of their campaigns.
— WSJ: Berndt’s hiring is likely to unnerve some on Madison Avenue, who may worry that Google intends to get into creative services (the task of designing ads), which is the ad industry’s bread and butter. A Google spokeswoman said the company was “not moving into the ad agency business” and wouldn’t work with marketers directly.
In related news, Google will provide tools for advertisers to run widget (Google insists on calling it Gadgets) ads in Google