The Internationally Renowned Creative and Chicago-Based Strategic Savant Stitch Together the Art and Science of Creative Media Solutions

CINCINNATI (January 28, 2019) – Empower strengthens its position as The Creative Media Agency with the hire of dynamic duo Chief Creative Officer, Tinus Strydom and Lead Strategy Officer, Karyn Kerner.

“We’re in an era where advertising is trying to define itself,” says Rob FitzGerald, president at Empower. “These two key hires give us a competitive edge by bridging the gap between media and message under one roof. Together, Strydom and Kerner embody the stamina and talent to push forward creative innovation at the speed of hyperfast media,” FitzGerald explained.

By way of Johannesburg, Singapore and NYC, Tinus Strydom plants his roots in the consumer marketing capital of the world, Cincinnati.

Formerly executive creative director at Grey Group in Singapore where he focused on Team GSK’s global communication and digital evolution, Strydom brings international flavor to the independently-held Cincinnati based Creative Media Agency. Among career highlights is Strydom’s creative leadership for Ikea, Vaseline, Chupa Chups and Google that earned Bartle Bogle Hegarty (BBH) in Singapore its first “Runner-Up International Agency of the Year” title from Ad Age. Most noteworthy, Strydom’s satirical parody idea for Ikea’s catalog campaign, “experience the power of a bookbook,” went viral with more than 18 million views and was praised by Time magazine, Huffington Post and Forbes among others for its clever integration of pop culture into a successful marketing campaign. Rounding out Strydom’s portfolio, he also played an integral role in leading digital projects for AT&T and GE while he was at BBDO in NYC.

“Empower’s commitment and investment in advanced data solutions provides a unique platform for Creative that you don’t find at most agencies,” said Strydom. “It’s the opportunity to work alongside a team of data scientists and business strategists like Kerner to develop ownable human truths built on first-party data. That’s what makes Empower so compelling,” he said.

The new CCO hire comes at a pivotal time for Empower as the agency bolsters its strategic chops with the hire of Karyn Kerner who will be focused on threading the strategy needle across five business units.

“Media is where the innovation is happening,” says Kerner. “As the digital revolution evolves with mobile, web, cloud, and content streaming, Empower’s investment in ClearTrade, a programmatic and data management platform is a game-changer because it gives us access to first-party intelligence in real time,” she said.

Kerner’s inventive strategies have earned her Effie, Addy and Cannes Gold Lion Awards. When Kerner entered the advertising business, she worked at DDB on Qwest and the wild-west environs of Silicon Valley start-ups. Most recently, at FCB she was a key strategy partner to Motorla. The mobile tech giant will tell you that Kerner was one of the architects of their sustained momentum in the turbulent technological sea.

Top career highlights also include engineering one of the top-rated restaurants in the country, Ditka Restaurant Group as well as spearheading the socially conscious effort known as “The Unforgotten” with The Chicago Coalition Against Handgun Violence. Kerner will work out of Empower’s growing Chicago office.

About Empower 

Empower is The Creative Media Agency that Builds Trust at Scale. Founded 33 years ago on a foundation of trust and transparency, Empower was named MediaPost’s 2016 Media Agency of the Year. Our award-winning integrated team of experts in audience, media, message and measurement deliver data-driven, tech-enabled and emotionally-charged Creative Media.

Tackling business challenges with the precision of an engineer and the heart of a matchmaker, Empower goes beyond securing impressions and makes those impressions personal. That’s how you build trust in the space between brand and consumer at scale. Some of our biggest fans include Bush Brothers, Wendy’s, Famous Footwear, Ashley HomeStore, Shaw Floors, Gorilla Glue, Dremel, PetSmart, TriHealth and Fifth Third Bank.

Empower is headquartered in the historic Over-the-Rhine neighborhood of downtown Cincinnati. While much has changed over the course of our company history, some things remain: we are an independent, certified women-owned business, and we will constantly challenge the media status quo.

Find us on TwitterLinkedInFacebookInstagram and online.


Media Contact:

Meghann Craig for Empower


O: 513.719.6397