Protagonist, A “Brand Energy” Company, Announces Two New Hires

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CEO Matti Leshem Welcomes Howard Kushlan and Michael Seth Prell, Who Will Further Bolster Protagonist’s Strategic and Creative Expertise

Protagonist, a Los Angeles-based creative agency founded by Matti Leshem, today announced the hiring of two new employees that will bolster the company’s strategic and creative expertise for its growing client base. Howard Kushlan will join Protagonist as a Senior Brand Strategist, utilizing strategic and tactical skills, honed over years of working on political campaigns, to lead some of the company’s projects. Michael Seth Prell will join the company as a Creative Manager where he will provide key creative input across all aspects of work including social media.

“Howard and Michael bring a wealth of experience to Protagonist that will allow us to further help our clients engage and catalyze target audiences,” said Matti Leshem, CEO of Protagonist. “After more than eleven years in the industry, it is exciting to be able to continue to grow and work on new projects with some of the industry’s top creative and strategic minds.”

Howard Kushlan is recognized as one of the leading national Democratic political consultants. A veteran of strategic communications for state and federal campaigns in some of the nation’s most critical battleground regions, he’s coordinated message development, media outreach and research strategies for campaigns in New York, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota and Florida, among others. Formerly the Vice President at Ambrosino, Muir, Hansen & Crounse, Kushlan has produced and created dozens of winning direct mail campaigns for political action committees, senators, governors and presidents, including President Barack Obama’s historic 2008 campaign and tough 2012 re-election.

In 2003 Kushlan founded AK&H Group, a political research consulting firm based in Florida. The firm worked on races ranging from a 2004 presidential campaign to the 2005 New York City mayor’s race. His political career began in Trinidad and Tobago on a Prime Minister’s race for noted strategist James Carville.

Kushlan holds a degree in American Studies from Carleton College where he served as Student Body President and later as a member of its Board of Trustees.

Michael Seth Prell brings a storyteller's knack for high stakes emotional connection and narrative cohesion to the world of marketing. He started his career at RED Interactive, a partner of WME, as the executive assistant to the President and CEO, moving on to copywriter and social media manager, developing mobile apps, digital experiences, web campaigns, and brand websites for brands such as ABC, ESPN, Hulu, UFC, A&E, and Disney. Duck Dynasty: Battle of the Beards, a mobile game Michael worked on from concept to delivery, spent over two consecutive weeks as the #1 app in the iTunes App Store.

Michael attended the prestigious Writing for Film & Television program at USC's illustrious School of Cinematic Arts. His thesis screenplay, War Hounds, was a semi-finalist for the 2007 Nicholl Fellowship.

About Protagonist
Founded in 2003 and privately held, Protagonist is a Los Angeles-based creative agency that creates and has executed high-value, high-concept experiences for global blue chip brands including PepsiCo, Weight Watchers, Acxiom and Living Proof. Positioning itself as a “Brand Energy” company – a term coined by founder Matti Leshem, the company is dedicated to developing and executing “big ideas” for brands that truly engage and catalyze audiences.

In addition to creating noteworthy campaigns, Protagonist is dedicated to supporting local entrepreneurs and facilitating independent projects. Earlier this year, the company debuted Life on the Line, a feature film documentary that provides an unprecedented look into the world of professional sports betting. For this project they created a unique digital distribution model, where the film sold at a highly successful rate.

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Kyle Sklerov
Rubenstein Communications
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