UPDATED, 5:30 PM: As Deadline exclusively reported in November, marketing exec JP Richards has officially assumed his new post leading digital marketing at Warner Bros. following a hot run at Universal, where he oversaw strong digital campaigns for Pitch Perfect, the Purge films, and the Fast & Furious franchise. He’ll report to WB’s EVP Worldwide Marketing Blair Rich, who today sent out a welcome memo announcing Richards’ first day on the Burbank lot:
I’m very pleased to let you know that JP Richards has officially joined our team at Warner Bros. as Executive Vice President, Worldwide Digital Marketing, effective today, January 5, 2015.
Reporting to me, JP will lead our international and domestic digital teams, serving as lead digital strategist across all of our pictures.
JP is a born collaborator and an innovative marketer. He has had a spectacular run at Universal Pictures, which he joined in 2003 as a coordinator and served most recently as SVP, Digital Marketing and co-lead of the department.
While at Universal, JP led campaigns for the Fast & Furious franchise that cultivated the largest social media footprint of any other movie franchise and the largest trailer launch to-date with the November debut of Furious 7. Additional recent campaigns under his leadership include the Despicable Me franchise; breakout hit Pitch Perfect; and the award-winning campaign for Ted, which helped propel that picture into the highest grossing R-rated comedy of all time.
JP possesses great expertise and experience – and I know that once you’ve had a chance to meet and work with him in the coming weeks ahead, you’ll agree how fortunate we are that he is bringing all of his talents to our studio.
Please join me in welcoming JP to the Warner Bros. family.
PREVIOUS EXCLUSIVE, NOV. 5: Warner Bros. has zeroed in on Universal marketing exec JP Richards to fill its digital marketing post as the studio fills in its long-range strategy. That includes the previously announced layoffs that chairman and CEO Kevin Tsujihara detailed yesterday as part of Time Warner’s broader belt-tightening. Richards comes from Universal hot off that studio’s successful digital campaigns for hits Pitch Perfect, the Purge films, and the Fast & Furious franchise at a crucial time, just as Warner Bros. heads into an aggressive six-year slate of DC superhero tentpoles.
Richards is coming in as EVP Worldwide Digital and will report to Worldwide Marketing EVP Blair Rich, Deadline hears. This is essentially the position left vacant when 18-year WB veteran Michael Tritter departed in May after spearheading online campaigns for Chris Nolan’s The Dark Night trilogy, The Hobbit, and this year’s LEGO Movie.
That’s a big digital hole to fill on the eve of WB’s ambitious push into the superhero game, starting with Zack Snyder’s Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice next March and continuing with nine more spandex pics through 2020 — not to mention the three additional LEGO-branded movies and Harry Potter spin-off trilogy that Tsujihara announced last month.
Under Digital Marketing EVP Doug Neil, Universal’s pulled off a number of recent digital successes and viral coups. Their Fast & Furious franchise has a huge online presence, including the over 53 million followers that helped score 100 million Furious 7 trailer views in 48 hours on Facebook alone. Campaigns have also earned strong engagement on platforms like Twitter and Instagram, where Beyonce dropped a surprise teaser for 50 Shades Of Grey that went viral this summer. The ink’s not dry yet on Richards’ deal, but he’s expected to take his new post at the first of the new year.
Warner Bros. had no comment.