MindShare hires Simon Willis as it expands AFP offer

MindShare has hired Simon Willis as its head of programming in a bid to build its branded entertainment portfolio.

Willis, who was the director of content at Optimistic Media, is a key hire for MindShare as the agency moves to expand its advertiser-funded programming services. Willis' remit will include expanding the agency's multimedia and audio-visual content opportunities for its clients.

The newly created role is in line with overseas markets such as the US, where Group M is co-producing a TV drama series called October Road. Group M has already launched a European Entertainment division, headed by Kate Marsh.

Willis will report to both Marsh and MindShare UK's chief executive, Jed Glanvill.

Glanvill said: "MindShare sees content creation, together with digital, as central to our future strategy. Simon brings a new set of skills and experience to MindShare that will further enhance our ability to develop audio-visual content that will stand out, as well as reflecting the right values for our clients' brands in a variety of sectors."

Willis was previously a founding executive of Jamie Oliver's company, Fresh One Productions, where he developed local and international programme formats such as Oliver's Twist. He was also an executive producer/producer for BBC Entertainment.

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