Creative Realities Taps Major Retail Player with New CEO

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By David Keene


When Laura Davis Taylor joined Creative Realities at the end of last year, I knew CRI was ramping up for a major move in the digital signage and DOOH space. And it got me thinking, in my dealings with CRI–and with Laura in particular– about the state of our industry going into what would probably be a seminal year for the industry.

CRI has been a kind of a microcosm of the retail industry dynamic– an integration company, a digital signage consultancy, an “experiential marketing” company. Looking for the right mix of traditional media, and digital in-store.

Yes, the news was leaked early by Ad Age, this week, because it’s pretty big news: yesterday CRI announced the appointment of a new CEO, Paul Price. Price was most recently at Omnicom’s DDB Worldwide. Price is a major player, with an impressive track record when it comes to integrating digital into retail, and when it comes to cross-platform campaigns.

Digital Signage, DOOH– it’s not about technology. Not the good kind. Certainly not in the retail space. Most digital signage in the retail space out there today: please turn it off, it’s boring, and it’s certainly not helping the consumer (or the retailer). There are few people who understand the decades-old advertising agency, brand, and big retail dynamics and turf wars well enough to introduce a new, unruly, sometimes invasive technology and make it a creative, robust marketing tool for retailers. I know Laura is one of them. I’m betting with Price on board now too, CRI will be the digital company to watch–even as they steer the conversation to “experiential marketing”.

Here is the release:

Paul Price Joins Creative Realities as CEO¬

Creative Realities, a leader in creating innovative brand experiences, today announced the appointment of Paul Price as its new CEO.
Price, 48, most recently served as global president at Rapp. Previously, Price served as Chief Partnership Officer at Omnicom’s DDB Worldwide, where he established a track record for marketing services innovation since relocating to New York from his native Australia in 2001.
Creative Realities is a fully integrated experiential design firm that assists marketers in creating uniquely interactive consumer experiences using innovative combinations of brand insight, creative design and digital expertise.

“In joining Creative Realities, I’m excited to pursue my passion for brands and creative ways of experiencing them,” Price said. “Marketers are hungry for new ways to engage customers. Creative Realities brings a proven reality marketing approach that creates inspiring and actionable brand experiences.”

Creative Realities is owned by an affiliate of Pegasus Capital Pegasus Capital Advisors, LP, a New York-based private equity firm, and retains David Bell as senior adviser. Formerly chairman of IPG, Bell is renowned for his marketing services industry leadership. On Price’s appointment, Bell said, “We’re thrilled Paul decided to join us. We’re sure he’ll lead Creative Realities to even more success.”

Robin Reardon, Creative Realities’ U.S. president, added, “We’re excited such a respected industry innovator is joining us. Paul’s leadership, experience and enthusiasm for creative marketing will propel Creative Realities even further.”

Under Price’s leadership, Rapp gained industry recognition in 2009 as one of Advertising Age's “A-listers” and as one of the world’s largest customer relationship management and digital marketing services agencies.

Throughout Price’s tenure at Rapp, the company experienced global growth due in part to the adaptation of its data-driven philosophy to digital marketing resulting new business wins. These new client gains included leading on Omnicom's behalf holding-company contests for Hewlett-Packard and Humana, digital assignments for Pfizer, COTY and GlaxoSmithKline, and multinational assignments for ExxonMobil, Johnson and Johnson, and Skype.

While at DDB, he initiated the transformation of the agency’s global ExxonMobil retail assignment into an integrated marketing services agreement spanning 80-plus countries. After being promoted to the position of director of network operations in 2004, Price led an overhaul of the DDB 200-plus office network’s multinational client service approach and subsequently led development of integrated marketing services solutions across the DDB group for major clients as its chief partnership officer.

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