Phone: (+1) 415-946-5918
Paul Birks-Hay originally joined VB&P to oversee client services and the agency’s account management team, but within eight months was promoted to Managing Director and is now leading new business efforts. Before coming to VB&P, he served as Managing Partner at AMV.BBDO in London, an agency that was recently named the most creatively awarded (Gunn Report) and largest ad agency in the U.K. At AMV.BBDO, Paul played a pivotal role in helping to evolve the agency’s brand, new business pipeline and performance, and he oversaw the structuring and merging of the agency’s two production departments, re-launching them as London’s largest creative services department. Some of the accounts he helped win, lead and grow include Mercedes-Benz, British Telecom, Sainsbury’s Supermarkets, Capital One, Guinness, Department of Health (tobacco control), Royal Mail, Diageo (anti-binge drinking), London Tourist Board, Wrangler Jeans and Pepsico. Paul’s understanding of great creative advertising and his proven track record of nurturing talent, coupled with his ability to make significant changes without compromising culture, make him a huge asset to VB&P as the agency continues to grow.
If Paul were here talking with you right now, he would surely point out that the agency’s big, sweeping, trademark-able philosophy has nothing to do with buzz generation, media agnosticism or content creation, but is simply “our intentions are good.” Those good intentions – doing right by our people and our clients – have helped Paul and his partners attract about 200 of the nicest, most talented people you'll find in advertising as well as big-time clients like eBay, Audi, Google, ConAgra, Phillips66 and Intel. Prior to opening VB&P in 2001, Paul was Co-Creative Director, Associate Partner and heir-apparent of Goodby, Silverstein & Partners. By the end of his six-plus years there he was running over $400 million in business and had won various and sundry industry awards for clients like Pacific Bell, Discover Card, Porsche, Bell Helmets, Nike, Polaroid, Netflix, HotBot and SBC. Venables was also an Associate Creative Director at Korey, Kay & Partners, a copywriter at McCaffrey and McCall and a telephone receptionist at a small New York agency. He had attempted to start his career as a telephone receptionist at a large New York agency, but failed their typing tests.
Bob founded VB&P in 2001 with the underlying desire to create the agency for the new age and tackle client problems with utter fearlessness and respect. Over a decade later, he's proud of the agency's work that has turned a variety of categories on their heads – from computer chips to automotive to tea – and made VB&P one of the hottest ad agencies in the country. As a guy who believes the creative product is only as good as the culture of the agency that produced it, he is humbled that VB&P has achieved this kind success while nurturing the same culture of good intentions it was founded on. Before he started VB&P, Bob was at AKQA (formerly Citron Haligman Bedecarré). Prior to working at Citron, Bob was an Associate Partner at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners where he worked alongside Paul Venables and somehow managed to blend his disciplined packaged goods thinking with award-winning work. Bob spent the early part of his career in New York gaining the aforementioned packaged goods experience. He helped create effective marketing programs for such big brands as Pringles, Alka-Seltzer and Colgate toothpaste. There seems to be a joke in there somewhere, most likely at Pringles’ expense.
Lucy completed a degree in English literature at Oxford University and was immediately recruited by BMP DDB in London (the birthplace of account planning). During her eight years there she worked on a huge variety of accounts, most notably Volkswagen, for which she helped launch four models in as many years. In addition to helping VW deliver its best sales year ever, the work won three Gold Lions at Cannes, five Silver D&ADs and Best of Show and five Gold Pencils at the One Show. Her experience also extends to a number of English brands. But as they don’t really matter as much in America, we’ll just name the categories: tea, mineral water, margarine, skincare, footwear, banking, travel and charity. Lucy abandoned the mother country in 1999 to become Head of Planning for BBDO’s West Coast agencies (LA and SF). There she worked on EarthLink, Pioneer and Schwab, among other brands. This gave her just enough time to acclimatize (with a z), and to recognize the brilliance of the Venables Bell & Partners plan. As one of the three partners who have grown the agency from a start-up in 2001 to the 193-person agency it is today, Lucy is inextricably part of Venables Bell & Partners’ success story. Overseeing all of the agency’s strategic insights in both brand and communications planning, she has been instrumental in leading Venables Bell & Partners to victory in new business and shaping such brand positioning as Audi’s “Truth in Engineering,” Intel’s “Sponsors of Tomorrow,” the Meth Project’s “Not Even Once,” and eBay’s “When it’s on your mind, it’s on eBay.” These campaigns have all made Venables Bell & Partners not only a creative force, but also contributed to the agency’s eight Effies for marketing effectiveness.
Phone: (+1) 415-946-5929
Will McGinness joined VB&P in 2010 as Paul Venables’ partner and has played a huge role in the agency’s success since that time. He not only helped win, but has led the re-invention of eBay from an auction site to an online shopping destination, grown the ConAgra roster from two brands to now six and launched the Google Fiber Internet service in Kansas City, one of the most talked about initiatives in the search engine’s history. Will came to VB&P after seven years at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, where he was Creative Director, Associate Partner, working across all media as an interdisciplinary creative. There, he oversaw award-winning multimedia and social campaigns for Got Milk?, Saturn, Doritos, Rolling Rock, Comcast, Quaker, Yahoo and notably on HP where he developed the Summit on the Summit, a socially-augmented climb up Mount Kilimanjaro whose objective was building awareness for worldwide clean water initiatives. Will was a force in the agency’s rapid reinvention from a traditional model to a more integrated one. During that time, Goodby, Silverstein & Partners earned the title of Interactive Agency of the Year at the Cannes Festival for its work for clients like Sprint, Doritos and Nintendo. Will has spoken internationally at FITC, Cannes, The London Click Conference, the Cannes of Canada, the OFFF and New Brand Communications Brazil. He’s also a frequent juror on shows such as The One Show, CLIO Awards, Singapore Creative Circle Awards, Art Directors Club, MSN and London International Award Show. In 2008 he served as Chairman of the Interactive One Show and was named one of the top 50 in Creativity magazine. In 2010 he served as Executive Chairman of the CLIO Interactive Jury and in 2011 was the Interactive Chair for the Art Directors club awards. Will has won awards at every major award show, including the highly coveted D&AD Black Pencil for the “Got Milk” campaign. His wife remains unimpressed. In his off time, he enjoys warm baths and organic food.
Phone: (+1) 415-288-1912
A nine-year veteran of VB&P, Kate has played a pivotal role in the growth of the agency. Key contributions include: leading the winning pitches for 2/3 of our roster, driving organic growth among key clients, helping to steer the VB&P brand and internal/external marketing efforts, and developing/scaling core capabilities. As Head of Client Service, Kate currently oversees relationships across accounts as well as our 50+ person account management department. And as a member of the Executive Management Team, continues to help us deliver breakthrough, effective work and have fun doing it. Kate joined VB&P fresh from Paris, where she helped launch the Toyota brand in Central and Western Europe. Before heading off to drink wine, eat cheese and run a car account, Kate was at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, where she helped run another car account - the re-launch of the Saturn brand. Kate had relocated to San Francisco from Los Angeles, where she worked on Apple at TBWA/Chiat/Day and steered nearly every one of Toyota’s models at Saatchi & Saatchi. Kate nearly missed her calling in advertising heading to UCLA Law School after college, but then realized ad people were more fun.