Joe Nanni returns to Community Agency

After leading creative at III Inc. (formerly Lemonade) for the past two-and-a-half years, Joseph Nanni has returned to Toronto-based Community Agency as executive creative director.

“We’re going to continue what we started before,” said Community’s president and chief creative officer Art Mandalas of Nanni’s return. “Joe and I worked very well together, and we always talked [during the time he was away] and it was a perfect time for him to come back and for us to move forward.”

Established in 2000, Community Agency has grown to nearly 100 people and counts Bacardi, Honda, Crime Stoppers, Intuit and 241 Pizza among its clients.

Nanni’s skillset and outlook are highly complementary to Community’s worldview, said Mandalas.

“What I love about Joe is that he has a strong entrepreneurial spirit, he looks for opportunities that don’t necessarily exist,” said Mandalas. “He brings that spark, and we work very well together.”

Nanni first joined Community in 2016, and played a key role in building and leading Community Studios, a division created for the sole purpose of addressing clients’ growing content needs.

The agency’s previous ECD, Paul Giannetta, has moved into a role that Mandalas said will see him “laser-focused” on content and production, while Nanni will oversee the creative department.

“It’s kind of a good balance,” said Mandalas. “We found that we have so much work that it was too much for just one person to handle. We now have double the firepower.”

“The great thing about Community is they’ve always been able to take multi-discipline skillsets and blend them together,” said Nanni. “I was very accustomed to a traditional creative team approach, and that was the first time I had an XM person, a designer at the same table from the onset, as equal contributors.

“That to me is a point of difference for the agency… and I’m glad to see that’s not only been preserved, but has flourished.”

Nanni spent most of his time with III Inc. working remotely from his farm near Owen Sound, but is now working full-time from the Community office, with a specific focus on creative strategy and ideation.

His career includes stints with several agencies, including Harrod & Mirlin, FCB Canada and the former Young & Rubicam.

Nanni said he also welcomes the opportunity to mentor Community’s younger creatives. “During the pandemic, we as an industry lost that [mentorship component], and I think it’s important that all senior leaders take an active role in ensuring that the people coming into the industry are getting the mentorship that was lacking during the pandemic.”

Chris Powell