Cashmere makes leadership moves

(Ryan Ford, Rona M

Today, Cashmere announced Ryan Ford was promoted to President and Chief Creative Officer, he formerly was the Executive VP and CCO. Rona Mercado was promoted to the newly created role of Chief Marketing Officer.

Previously, she held the position of Senior Vice President of Accounts, and managed nearly all departments in the agency. Mercado joined the agency in 2005, and has been instrumental in the early success and growth of the agency, and is celebrated in the creative and advertising community. 

Last year, Mercado was named one of Ad Age’s 2020 Women to Watch and this year she is a Campaign US 2021 Championing Change Female Frontier Honoree. Mercado will lead the marketing, advertising and strategic communications initiatives for the organization’s brand and entertainment clients with a focus on client health and growth. 

Seung Chung, Cashmere’s previous President and one of the agency’s Co-founders, has taken on the role of Chief Executive Officer. Chung’s new role will focus on the agency’s strategic vision and financial health.

“At Cashmere, we’re on a mission to move brands forward by moving at the speed of culture. That’s our superpower and what sets us apart from the competition.”

Ryan ford

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Under Ford’s leadership, the agency garnered industry accolades including landing a coveted spot on Ad Age’s 2020 A-List Agencies to Watch list, being named Ad Age’s 2019 Multicultural Agency of the Year and winning a 2019 Cannes Lions award for the Google Pixel 3 campaign featuring Donald Glover.

Ford also led many of Cashmere’s most successful programs and campaigns, including Netflix’s Strong Black LeadBen & Jerry’s Justice Remix’d, BMW’s diversity efforts and more.

The agency has also worked on some of the most culturally relevant film and television projects including: Warner Bros. Judas and the Black Messiah, Netflix’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and Jingle Jangle, HBO’s Watchman, Euphoria and Lovecraft Country, Starz’s P. Valley and Power and Disney and Pixar’s Soul to name a few.

Ford was also instrumental in leading the agency’s efforts to drive Black and Brown voter turnout during the 2020 elections. Through the agency’s civic engagement arm Get Louder, Cashmere and Cashmere Originals, the agency’s content creation arm, partnered with VICE to present the 2020 Brown & Black Forum, a presidential forum which brought presidential Democratic candidates, including now President Joe Biden, Senator Bernie Sanders and more together for a discussion about issues affecting Brown and Black voters.

The agency also worked alongside the Biden-Harris campaign to engage key multicultural voices in entertainment to encourage Gen Z and Millennials to vote during the 2020 presidential election.

Ford notes, “We’re razor focused on using data and strategy to quantify how brands show up in culture and we continue to take a social-first approach to our work. That’s been the foundation of our agency and further proved to be a winning formula when we found ourselves in the middle of a global pandemic.” Ford continued, “Our goal is to change the way the marketing industry thinks and connects with consumers. We’re doing that every day with new tools and strategic innovations. We’ll continue to do just that so we can bring our clients to the next level.”

Ford will lead the agency’s strategic agenda, creative vision, enhance the agency’s financial performance and cultivate and expand the agency’s diverse portfolio of clients. 

In the past year, Mercado oversaw the launch of Nice Sweater, a digital events division, that focused on taking client experiences virtual as the pandemic began to alter the way brands connected with consumers. This new focus is dedicated to creating undeniably dope digital events by taking every thread from IRL parties and performances and weaving them into culture in a virtual world. 

“When I joined the agency, the first employee, the vision was to become the go-to agency for brand and entertainment clients. Over the years, we’ve seen that vision come to life and in 2020 we experienced explosive growth,” said Mercado, Chief Marketing Officer, at Cashmere Agency.

She adds, “Now we’re a mid-size agency  made up of 75 percent people of color and 55 percent women. There’s a high demand for our knowledge and expertise that’s socially-driven and deeply rooted in culture. That’s why we’re working with some of the biggest brands in the world and we look forward to continuing that growth in 2021.”

In the midst of a global pandemic, Cashmere was able to grow by 40-percent in the last year due to  the agency’s foundation of social and culture-first marketing expertise, along with several new offerings. Over the past year, Cashmere was able to quickly pivot to new circumstances and launched the agency’s digital division Nice Sweater, to produce immersive virtual experiences for clients and consumers.

Cashmere also launched Dope Data Systems (DDS), a proprietary service designed to measure cultural impact and data to provide brands with incomparable decision-making power. In June of 2020as the US was experiencing extraordinary civil unrest , the agency formed OneOpp, a coalition dedicated to eradicating police brutality.

The group is made up of partner agencies, including Quincy Jones ProductionsDavid & Goliath and civic organizations,Color of Change and the Center for Policing Equity. The agency also launched a content studio arm, Cashmere Originals. The Originals division  is currently developing NBA All-Star Chris Webber’s ‘Fab Five’ limited series based on the retired basketball player’s memoir, By God’s Grace.

“Ryan Ford and Rona Mercado are trusted members of the agency and have been instrumental in Cashmere’s growth. We started as a passionate group of five in a Venice, California loft and have expanded to over a hundred visionaries across the country. Now, with a national footprint, Cashmere is working with the most iconic brands in the world — we wouldn’t be here without Rona and Ryan’s leadership, love, and dedication,” said Ted Chung, Chairman and Founder, at Cashmere Agency. 

Reel 360 wishes Ryan and Rona the best of luck in their new roles.