Advertising-Industry Legend Ari Merkin Joins Chameleon Collective
Fernand Fernandez, Rob Gonda and Ben Way also join the Collective that is designed to disrupt the linear hierarchy of the traditional agency and consulting business models
Chameleon Collective, a company founded to drive marketing, business development and innovation across the media, retail and technology sectors, today announced that Ari Merkin, an inductee of the Advertising Hall of Achievement, has joined the team as its newest partner and an Executive Creative Director. Over his more than 20-year career, Merkin has created some of the most legendary and viral brand campaigns.
A world-renowned creative leader who has been featured in almost every trade publication that follows the advertising industry, Merkin was named one of Advertising Age’s “40 Under 40”, and is a member of the American Advertising Federation (AAF) Advertising Hall of Achievement. His work has received hundreds of accolades for creativity and effectiveness and “best-of-show” honors at virtually every major advertising-award competition. This includes AdAge’s “Top 15 Ad Campaigns best of the 21st Century” and the prestigious The One Show, wherein 2003, he became the only creative to ever take home 13 Pencils in a single evening.
“I’ve spent over five awesome, independent years working in a model that gives my clients the attention they need, the access to senior talent they want, and the time and money efficiencies they pretty much can’t do without,” said Merkin. “Yet, as a boutique, the one thing I couldn’t offer was unlimited bench strength. With Chameleon Collective, I can offer that in spades, all while holding onto my independence. We’re divided by skillset and united by a mindset. I think that’s a pretty cool thing to be a part of.”
Chameleon Collective provides entire teams of highly qualified staff, including senior leadership, subject-matter experts and experienced specialists that its clients need to accelerate growth and create market agility. Clients gain access to a dynamic and flexible network of experienced talent that can immediately address their most pressing needs for growth, innovation and change. The Chameleon Collective leadership team is a group of visionaries, innovators and operators that have founded or worked at the highest levels of respected companies, who see an opportunity to create a new type of company.
“Think of it like assembling the ‘Mission Impossible’ team for every assignment with just the right mix of strategy and execution,” said Freddie Laker, Founding Partner at Chameleon Collective. “We represent the future of professional consulting with our uniquely flat organization, a wide range of specialized skills and flexible engagement model.”
Joining Merkin as Chameleon Collective’s newest Partners are Fernand Fernandez, Rob Gonda and Ben Way.
Fernand Fernandez is an experienced marketing and customer-experience executive with more than 20 years in leading multinational, marketing, customer experience, food and beverage, and loyalty organizations. Recently, he was named as interim CEO and President of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, which serves more than 4.4 million Hispanic businesses nationwide, and is the voice of the Hispanic business community. Fernandez is the former Vice President of Global Marketing for American Airlines.
Rob Gonda has started and sold five digital businesses and served in CIO/CTO/CDO/CXO roles for companies ranging from small startups to Fortune 100 enterprises. As Executive Vice President and Chief Digital, Technology, and Product Officer for Catalina Marketing, and Vice President of Global Digital and Data for McDonald’s, he has led multiple digital transformations with stellar vision and strategy, modernizing technology departments, driving new customer experiences, and evolving companies’ core DNA down to organizational design, financial models and streamlining business processes.
Ben Way a best-selling author, leading futurologist, technologist, inventor and entrepreneur, has joined Chameleon Collective as an adviser. Currently, Way serves as the CEO of Digits, a payment company that turns virtually any credit or debit card into a cryptocurrency card. Prior to Digits, Way was CEO of The Rainmakers, one of the world’s leading innovation and incubation companies, and one of the first incubators in Europe. As a leading voice on the challenges and benefits of tomorrow’s technology, he has advised some of the world’s leading institutions, including the White House, regarding technological preparations for the future.
Chameleon Collective was founded in 2015 with the goal of reinventing the traditional company by removing traditional hierarchies, unnecessary costs and business models that breed inflexibility. The company’s Collective solves challenges across business, brand, product, executive recruiting and technology. They have developed a flat, flexible and efficient model that allows them to support their clients by providing top-down leadership that drives change and accelerates growth, subject-matter experts that can execute challenging tasks, and the ability to find and help build top-tier, in-house teams through their network.