Creative marketing agency Public Label has announced the appointment of Erica Calhoun, who joins the agency as Senior Vice President and Head of Experiential, working across the agency’s highest profile accounts such as Moët Hennessey, Ford Bronco, adidas, BRP and Progressive, among others.
Reporting to Brian Kittelson, Public Label’s EVP Brand Strategy and Commercialization, Calhoun will oversee the agency’s experiential practice in the U.S. and Canada. Her responsibilities include managing client relationships to drive retention and growth; leading, managing and mentoring project teams; and providing integrated solutions for IRL, digital and hybrid experiences for B2C and B2B clients. She joins as a member of the agency’s leadership team where she will play an instrumental role in the development of Public Label’s business and culture as well as helping lead DE&I initiatives.
“Erica’s passion for motivating teams paired with her impressive track record working with iconic brands on breakthrough creative experiences is an unmatched skill set,” said Kittelson. “She is our Captain of Experiential, a leader who is able to empower others, influence change and achieve actionable results. We’re incredibly lucky to have her on board.”
Calhoun has over 20 years’ experience leading strategic, best-in-class marketing strategies for clients. Prior to joining Public Label, Calhoun was Vice President of Account Management at MKTG, a global lifestyle marketing company and part of the Dentsu Aegis Network, where she also served as the Experiential division’s Chairperson of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Council. Throughout her 14 years at MKTG, Calhoun was consistently recognized as a top achiever, while earning industry awards: Ex Awards, Pro Awards, and Sports Business Journal Awards amongst others. She has designed multi-million dollar marketing strategies, and provided leadership to a large portfolio of top brands and properties including DAZN, Bvlgari, Amazon, Facebook, PepsiCo, Wells Fargo, Major League Soccer, AT&T and Canon.
“It is such an exciting time for experiential marketing and navigating how we, as marketers, will create the fertile space for brands and consumers to connect post-Covid,” said Calhoun. “I love to build and grow and I see enormous opportunities to do both at Public Label. Once I met this team of passionate creatives, innovators and tinkerers, I became even more energized. I look forward to working with our portfolio of client partners to create the kinds of disruptive, creative experiences that motivate consumers to act.”
Calhoun started her career on college campuses, deeply involved in the realm of collegiate events and sports marketing as she was completing graduate work at both Missouri State University and Arizona State University. From there, she was recruited to be one of the founding contributors of launching the WNBA during the league’s inaugural season (1997) and made history by becoming the Phoenix Mercury’s first Public Relations Director. In her role, not only was she building a new future for female athletes everywhere, but she was touching all aspects of marketing from sponsorship, media relations and community relations, to consumer journeys, merchandising and retail. She learned how to build a community, which she would go on to leverage throughout her career.
Calhoun later joined Mauldin Brand Agency out of Atlanta, GA. While there, she helped establish the branding division and led marketing efforts for major clients, including NASCAR, Nextel, Craftsman, BET, So So Def Entertainment, Atlanta Worldwide Touring, Wendell Scott Foundation, Columbia Records, Def Jam Records, and AEG.
Calhoun attended Missouri State University as a Regent Scholar and Track & Field scholarship athlete, and received a BA in Public Relations/Communications and a Masters in Communications/Rhetoric while also serving as Assistant Track & Field Coach and Chair of the NCAA Campus Compliance Committee. Calhoun was named Athlete of the Decade for the Gateway Conference and inducted into the Missouri State University Hall of Fame for her tremendous success in Outdoor and Indoor Track & Field. Calhoun then went on to pursue a 2nd graduate degree, Masters of Social Work (MSW) from Arizona State University.
Currently, she serves on the Board of WISE NYC Metro (Women in Sports and Events), a nonprofit organization focusing on networking, education, industry thought leadership and career growth for women in the business of sports, and also serves as its Chairperson for Program Events, overseeing key events and working with the Board to ensure the organization’s objectives are met.
Calhoun added: “I am blessed to be a strong storyteller and I can thank my Mother and Father for that. In this business, we are building experiences and creating memorable moments for brands, but it all starts with a story.”