Double act to push ATG brand strategy

Ambassador Theatre Group, which now operates close to 50 venues in Britain, North America and Australia, has announced two new appointments to its marketing team.

The recruitment drive follows the death of arts stalwart Pat Westwell, aged 54, in December 2016. The Stage described Westwell as ‘one of the outstanding arts marketing professionals of her generation – a pioneering and respected figure in the industry with a career spanning West End and regional theatre in the UK and internationally.’

Hervé Hannequin joins ATG as group customer officer (and member of the senior leadership team), whilst Oliver Clark joins as group marketing director (and member of the operating committee).

Commented Mark Cornell, ATG’s chief executive: ‘The sad death of Pat Westwell, ATG’s marketing director was a tragedy. I’m sure that everybody who had the privilege to work with her misses her. She was a talented and dedicated group marketing director. I am confident, though, that she has worthy successors in Hervé and Oliver. As a new chapter well and truly opens in the history and leadership of ATG – one that should be positive for producers and audiences alike – I am excited to see what this formidable double act will bring to the company in this important, fast-changing and complex domain.’

Hannequin, who has 25 years brand management experience, will take on a strategic role heading up a newly created division ‘client services’, where he will be responsible for ATG’s products and services across theatrical production and theatres to ticketing, branded merchandise and food and beverage. Client services encompasses six different departments: operational marketing; ticketing (ATG and TMG); retail and customer experience; digital and e-commerce; external communications; and business intelligence.

Said Hannequin : ‘I’ve always thought of myself as being in the storytelling business: the business of telling carefully crafted stories about brands, stories that generally resonate at least as much at an emotional as a rational level. It’s an exciting business to be in.

‘It always was but the recent explosion in the number of tools and techniques at our disposal has made it even more so. Theatre is a storytelling business, too, of course: one of the very oldest and, at its best, surely the greatest. That’s why I am so looking forward to this job. Live theatre is storytelling royalty; and ATG is the king of live theatre companies. ATG and live theatre, live theatre and ATG…: two amazing brands with amazing potential.’

As group marketing director Clark will head up operational marketing, external communications and business intelligence.

Clark and Hannequin are an established duo, having worked together at advertising agency Abbott Mead Vickers (AMVBBDO), on the Mars Petcare account, where Hannequin was global strategy director and Clark a senior executive.

Between them they have worked for a broad range of major consumer brands, including Unilever, Stella Artois, Innocent Smoothies, Lloyds Pharmacy, Kia, Magners Cider, Procter & Gamble, Saatchi and Saatchi and Brand Genetics, to name but a few.

Said Clark: ‘The digital world has changed the marketing business out of recognition: created fresh challenges and opportunities; and radically new ways of thinking and communicating. And yet, there are some things digital hasn’t changed. Live performances have something – an authenticity, an emotional energy, and a place at the heart of human experience – that digital can’t replace any more than film could. It’s difficult to think of a sector I would rather serve.’

At the latter end 2016 ATG announced Tony Ball as chairman; Michael Lynas as group content and creative director; Adam Kenwright as group commercial director; Nick Potter as group international venues director; Stephen Lewin as CEO, North America; Kristin Caskey as EVP, content and creative, North America.