Karen Costello Named Chief Creative Officer

The Martin Agency announced today that Karen Costello has been named chief creative officer, the first female CCO in the company’s 53-year history. 

Costello, who joined the agency as executive creative director in mid-2017, was charged with leading creative for all Mondelēz business, both global and domestic – a brand portfolio that includes OREO, RITZ, GOOD THiNS and Chips Ahoy!, and will remain on that business in addition to leading the agency’s overall creative efforts.

She and Jerry Hoak, formerly of Droga5, had taken interim lead creative roles in December of last year following the departure of former CCO Joe Alexander. Jerry will continue to have an elevated leadership role with a promotion to executive creative director and managing partner. 

Says Costello of her new role, “To have the opportunity to lead and work alongside some of the smartest, most talented and hugest-hearted humans in this industry is a privilege and an honor. Creating positive impact and change has also always been a huge part of what drives me so the added opportunity to work alongside a change agent like Kristen Cavallo, who shares that drive, just makes me even more excited to get to work.”

“What do Christiane Amanpour, Hoda Kotb, Robin Wright, Tina Smith, Bozoma Saint John and Karen Costello have in common? They are supremely talented women in their fields, who were there all along, ready to lead,” said Kristen Cavallo, CEO for The Martin Agency. “This isn’t overcorrection or an optics play. This is earned. This is preparation. This is opportunity, grabbed. I’m so excited for what’s ahead, I can’t stop grinning.”

Prior to joining Martin, Costello was executive creative director for Deutsch in Los Angeles, where she helped grow their office from 13 people to over 400 in its first few years and more recently had led creative for accounts including Target, Georgia-Pacific and Zillow.

During her 25-plus years in advertising, Costello has launched brands, created iconic, long-running campaigns and touched just about every category in marketing from cars to fashion to music.  

She has always loved a good challenge, and much of her recent creative work involved doing things that hadn’t been done before such as creating the first ever “living catalog” – a 24/7 live streaming event for Target’s Back to College, having kids create an entire back-to-school campaign and making history with the first music video ever created live on TV for Target and Gwen Stefani during the Grammys.

As the recipient of countless industry awards, Costello repeatedly appears on top creative lists, and most notably was named #3 on Business Insider’s list of top creative women in advertising.

Costello is a strong advocate of using creativity as a driver to create social change, inside and outside of the agency world. She has encouraged the creation and support of leadership roles for women in advertising, delivered keynotes nationwide about leveling the industry’s playing field, helped create humane work environments, built volunteer workforces to address local community needs, and worked on political campaigns.

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