The Lambesis Agency, a high-profile San Diego advertising agency opened in 1987 by Nick and Vicki Lambesis, has closed its doors. The innovative and creative agency known for turning brands into icons, served a host of international clients, including Coca-Cola, Airwalk Footwear, SKYY Vodka, Gold Peak Tea, Tacori, Bebe and Campari.

Following Lambesis’ closure, two ex-Lambesis execs, Chad Farmer, 52, and Brian Munce, 46, have launched a new agency called Gestalt Brand Lab.

Gestalt, which opened on Dec. 1, was recently named as the agency of record for San Diego-based Luna Grill, a fast-causal, Mediterranean cuisine restaurant chain with 50 outlets in Southern California and Dallas-Ft. Worth.

“We are focused on creating something fresh and new as an agency. Opening Gestalt is an opportunity for us to further a vision that we have been wanting to explore for some time,” said Munce, who worked at Lambesis for 12 years. Farmer had been at Lambesis since 1993. Titles at Gestalt will be managing director for Munce and creative director for Farmer.

According to Farmer, the Gestalt name was selected because of the word’s definition, “something made of many parts that is more than the sum of its parts.”

“We will bring the powerful sum of simple and emotional brand strategy, story and aesthetic together to build brands with deeper connection and purpose,” said Farmer. “We believe in the power of the whole, which will carry through to our partner relationships, allowing us to build brands holistically.

“The world doesn’t need another advertising-only, or digital-only, or social-only agency. But, what the world needs desperately is the power of many inspiring talents contributing to the greater good. The best brands have the ability to do make a meaningful impact in the world. This is what we are focused on building.”

Munce said he and Farmer previously knew Luna Grill owners Sean and Maria Pourteymour, who introduced them to Rich Pinnella, recently named as Luna’s first-ever chief brand officer. Previously, Pinnella was an executive with Taco Bell for 20 years, serving the last seven as a VP and GM.

“We connected well with Rich who wanted to grow, refine and scale the Luna Grill brand in the new year,” Munce said. “We’re looking forward to being an integral part of the restaurant’s evolution in the coming years.”

Pinnella said, “We have an amazing story that people have yet to hear and a clear brand purpose centered around inspiring good food choices. With Gestalt, we have a great partner to help tell that story. Gestalt’s methodology of bringing together emotional brand strategy, story and aesthetic to build brands with a deeper connection fits perfectly with our long-term goals for Luna Grill.”

Munce said Gestalt will help develop Luna’s brand strategy, direct and design every consumer touchpoint and brand experience, including communications, activations, sales touch points and environment so that the entire brand narrative will flow seamlessly and holistically together.

“Luna Grill is the epitome of what you look for in a brand partner,” said Munce. “The food is delicious and they have a unique and intriguing brand story that has yet to be told. And, if that isn’t enough, the people of Luna are all really good humans, genuine, authentic and bright.”

 

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