XA Names Ron Burkhardt as Executive Chairman

NEW YORK and CHICAGO,– XA, Inc., (XA), a premier national branding and experiential event marketing firm that serves many Fortune 500 companies, reported today that it has named New York branding expert Ron Burkhardt as Executive Chairman, effective today.

In making the announcement, Jeff Devlin, CEO of XA’s parent company CMG Holdings, heralded the innovative entrepreneur’s many blue-chip successes and noted, “Ron is a high-powered, creative superstar and visionary with a rich history of making big things happen for his clients. The fusion of Burkhardt’s brilliant brand and business building expertise with this cutting edge experiential branding agency will be a potent force indeed.”

The addition, which includes a seat on the CMG board for Burkhardt, is intended to quickly expand the agency’s reach, resources and upside potential in the surging experiential/events space. Working with senior management, Burkhardt plans to rapidly grow XA’s client base and ramp up new opportunities via new clients and acquisitions. XA currently has offices in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles.

Ron observes, “This is the hottest segment in the ad industry. Modern corporations are focused on finding new ways to engage consumers and the brand experience is vital for today’s marketers. So our thrust will be to empower client brands with an arsenal of unconventional tools that fuse dynamic concepts with the fast-paced, imaginative engine that is XA.

“The agency has created spectacular, ground-breaking results through experiential engagement, unique venues and social media to achieve its clients’ goals, and we plan to build on those strengths while generating new excitement in this arena.”

Burkhardt has won over 200 awards for creative and marketing excellence and produced scores of high-profile commercials, including a Super Bowl spot that won acclaim from the Wall Street Journal, Ad Age, and The New York Times. Ron is the creative force behind dozens of success stories for clients like Merrill Lynch, BellSouth, Kodak, Minolta, Coke, Philips and Olympus.

Most recently, as CEO/Creative Director of New York’s Burkhardt Ltd, Ron created TV, online and brand campaigns for Heineken, Town & Country Real-Estate, Plaza-Athenee, BellSouth, Cohiba, The Mann Group, Vikingfjord Vodka and the Outdoor Life Network. He also conceived and produced a uniquely ambitious 7-city, national summer beach tour event for Volvo/NA that included 30-foot sand castles, banner planes, seaside DJ’s and new Volvos parked on the sands with Swedish models explaining features and collecting buyers’ data.

One of the first to embrace integrated marketing campaigns in his role as Founder/CEO/Executive Creative Director at New York-based Burkhardt & Christy Advertising, Ron won blue-chip clients like BMW Motorcycles, Sony (he named and launched the Handycam), Falcon Jet, Time-Warner Music, ABC Radio, Bogner, NY Hilton, Soho Soda, Madison Square Garden, Paramount, Bulova and the New York Yankees, Rangers and Knicks, and helped them build enduring brands.

Prior to forming his own agency, Ron had varied roles as Senior Writer, Creative Supervisor and VP/Creative Group Head for multi-national agencies DDB, Young & Rubicam and Lowe in New York. He began his career at Campbell-Ewald in Detroit and later wrote for Kraft, Dial Soap and the Sears Diehard battery while with Foote-Cone-Belding in Chicago.

Ron has been featured as an industry expert on CNN, NBC, CBS, Inside Edition, American Journal, WVVH-Hamptons and PBS-TV/Aspen and was Executive-Producer of independent films for the Independent Film Channel and the Palm Springs International Film Festival. He’s also a noted abstract artist who originated the Notism and EarthScape genres of contemporary American art.

Ron also served seven years as Branding and TV Chair on the Board of Directors of the Miss America Organization in Atlantic City and Las Vegas, where he implemented changes and brought in key people that reversed prior Pageant TV rating declines and achieved new rating records.

He’s been involved in numerous charities over the years, including Southampton Hospital, CCBF, and the US Marines’ “Toys for Tots.” He sits on several boards, including a stint on the New York City Mayor’s Office advisory board, where he created a powerful branding campaign that raised $2 million and built the Korean War Veterans’ Memorial in Battery Park.

Burkhardt, who grew up in Michigan, graduated with a BBA in advertising from Western Michigan University and later studied at the National Academy of Fine Art and the Art Students League of New York.

XA has offices in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles, from which it provides leading corporations and high-profile brands a unique platform for comprehensive branding experiences, event marketing, design and production services. Since 1989, the XA team has been the creative force behind prestigious, national projects for clients such as Disney, NBC, Bloomberg, Michael Kors, Unicef, Belkin, Guinness, Singapore Airlines, Bravo, Ritz-Carlton, USA Network, Tag Heuer, Universal Pictures, The NBA, McDonald’s, British Telecom, Song Airlines, Olympus, Salvatore Ferragamo, Vogue, Vimeo, Marc Jacobs and Emirates Airline. XA has been ranked one of the “Top 50 Powerhouse Event Companies in the World” by Special Events Magazine.

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