MindShare strengthens comms planning line-up

Blayze part of senior strategist trio hired to work on network's Unilever business.

MindShare Worldwide is bolstering its communications planning capabilities on Unilever with the appointment of three senior strategists, including the head of planning at Nitro, Chris Blayze.

Blayze, who held senior positions at McCann Erickson, TBWA\ and GGT before Nitro, joins MindShare as the worldwide head of communications planning, Unilever.

He will work with Nicky Owen, who joins MindShare from the brand consultancy Dragon as the communications planning director for Dove. At Dragon, Owen set up a consumer consulting team, following a move from Naked Communications, where he was a senior strategist.

The new trio is completed by Nilufar Fowler, who joins MindShare as the communications planning director for homecare and ice-cream. Fowler currently leads the Honda business at Starcom, and previously ran the L'Oreal account at Optimedia.

MindShare said the moves are part of an ongoing drive to deliver ideas-led communications plans and innovative strategies for Unilever.

Unilever is a strong believer in communications planning, and retains Michaelides & Bednash on its roster. The agency works on the Persil and Blue Riband brands.

The trio will report to Marco Rimini, MindShare's head of worldwide communications planning. He said: "These moves show that both Unilever and MindShare are serious about the role of communications planning.

"This is an area that continues to evolve, and we will continue to evolve, too. This means broadening the gene pool of our talent. It's about reuniting the skills of account and media planning, and applying an understanding of them in this digital age."

Last week, MindShare promoted its managing partner, Paul Rowlinson, to the newly created role of investment director, audio visual media.

Rowlinson will report to Andy Zonfrillo, MindShare's investment director.

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