The National Basketball Association (NBA) has named Starcom Mediavest Group (SMG) as its media-buying and planning agency. Previously, the league worked with Media Storm. SMG will work with Translation, which won the league’s creative agency account in December. The NBA's ad budget was $135.8 million in 2014, up from $93.6 million in 2013, according to Kantar Media.
FCB has been selected for global advertising duties by the Hero Group, a Swiss-based international food company after a formal review. The company’s brands include Betty Crocker, Cake Mate, Organix, Beech-Nut and others, although FCB will work on just the Hero "masterbrand" products. It operates in over 30 countries where it markets jams, food and milk for babies and toddlers, and other products. The account will be run out of the agency’s Zürich office, which led the pitch. “FCB Zürich and the entire FCB network not only convinced us with their strategic vision and creativity regarding the Hero masterbrand, but also with their way of working and collaborating with us,” stated Sandra Echecopar, Marketing Director at Hero Group. (This item has been updated).
Zurich-based Aryzta, the owner of Otis Spunkmeyer, the food service and fundraising cookie brand, has hired ad agency Nail Communications to launch its new line of baked treats as part of a strategy to increase its retail presence. The account was awarded after a formal review. “We’re not only expanding the way that people can enjoy Otis Spunkmeyer with new foods, but also the places they can find our range of cookies, snack cakes and other baked treats,” said Kristina Dermody, Brand President, Arytza. “Nail Communications will create a campaign that will make sure our new brand journey is given the best start possible in 2015.” The campaign will include TV, print, outdoor, social and digital. Nail is based in Providence.
WE ARE Pi has been awarded the RTL Z financial news channel account, based on the agency's partnership with TED Conferences. The Amsterdam-based agency will handle TV, print, digital, social media, and events to support the September 2015 relaunch.
Solve's current client Lactalis awarded the agency its Black Diamond cheese brand without a review. The agency's work will span strategic positioning, design and consumer communications. "We're delighted to expand our relationship with Lactalis," said John Colasanti, CEO of Solve. "Black Diamond aged cheddar is a crown jewel within their award-winning specialty portfolio." Black Diamond spent $7.4 million on measured media in 2013 and $7.2 million in 2014, according to Kantar Media. The brand spent $2.9 million on measured media the first quarter of 2015. Current Solve clients include Bentley Motors, Cascadian Farm Organic, True Value Hardware, Porsche, President Cheese, Shopko Stores and the Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota.
Etihad Airways Partner (EAP) airlines Etihad Airways, Alitalia, Air Berlin and Jet Airways named Starcom, as its global media agency, following a review. Consolidated work will be managed from Starcom's offices in the United Arab Emirates, Germany, Italy, India and London. "Starcom demonstrated that they fully understand the emerging media scene which has digital media at its core," said Shane O"Hare, senior vice president of marketing for Etihad Airways. "Their highly experienced team, resources, planning tools and buying clout in all the key EAP markets gave them a clear edge in the tender." Added Matt Blackborn, president, investment and diversification at Starcom Mediavest Group: "This is a unique client brief and relationship as it brings together multiple brands from the same industry and is ground-breaking in the agency world. We look forward to servicing Etihad Airways Partners through a unified approach that integrates connections, content, data and technology." EAP spent $5.3 million on measured media in 2013 and $7.3 million in 2014, according to Kantar Media.
SodaStream International tapped Dallas-based agency Commerce House to create a TV campaign aimed at repositioning the in-home carbonator. The company is addressing the dilemma of sugary and artificially flavored beverages by focusing on sparkling water made to order by consumers. The agency will create a campaign repositioning the company from soda maker to sparkling water system. The campaign will launch later this summer. McCann previously served as SodaStream's agency of record. "We're focusing on empowerment -- made by you, not for you," said Daniel Birnbaum, chief executive officer of SodaStream. "Our mission is to revolutionize the beverage industry by giving consumers healthier, more fun, sparkling water options. By bringing the emotion of our brand to life in video, Commerce House will help us define and own the most important territory in the beverage category." SodaStream was attracted to Commerce House following the agency's repositioning of Zico coconut water, now a Coca-Cola brand, as a natural sports drink. SodaStream spent $20 million on measured media in 2013 and $9 million in 2014, according to Kantar Media.
NRG Energy tapped Droga5 New York as its agency of record, charged with promoting the NRG brand, expanding its social presence, and creating a campaign for its home solar division. "NRG needed a strategic partner that could help ignite a real conversation about energy beyond our industry," said Sicily Dickenson, CMO and senior vice president, marketing and customer experience at NRG. "Droga5 was the clear choice to help us find disruptive ways to engage with and inspire people to take action around a complex but important topic -- the future of our planet." Added Sarah Thompson, Global CEO at Droga5: "We're very excited to be working with NRG in building a smarter energy revolution. This is not only a unique creative opportunity for the agency, but also one that will affect us all, so we are committed to pushing the conversation into the world." NRG Energy spent $8 million on measured media in 2013 and $13 million in 2014, according to Kantar Media. The company spent $4.4 million the first quarter of 2015.
Bulova Corporation tapped Mediassociates to handle media planning, buying and campaign optimization. First work will include improving Bulova's digital advertising. "We are extremely proud to help Bulova, one of the world's leading brands, continue to grow in the U.S.," said Scott Brunjes, CEO and president of Mediassociates. Bulova spent $3.1 million on measured media in 2013 and 4.3 million in 2014, according to Kantar Media.
Following an RFP, KBS Toronto was named agency of record for the Mount Sinai Hospital Foundation, part of Sinai Health System. Cause Company, KBS's cause-related marketing division, will lead strategy and creative. KBS Cause Company will introduce residents to the new Sinai Health System brand and support the public launch of the Campaign to Renew Sinai, the largest fundraising campaign in the organization's history. KBS will debut the first phase of a brand campaign in late 2015. "KBS is a strong strategic partner and storyteller," said Kevin Goldthorp, CEO, Mount Sinai Hospital Foundation and executive vice president, advancement & marketing, Sinai Health System. "Their cause-related division Cause Company has incredible insights, shown the ability to create bold campaigns that break through and have demonstrated a true passion for our organization. We look forward to working with KBS to tell our story in an impactful way." Mount Sinai spent $3.2 million on measured media in 2013 and $2.8 million in 2014, according to Kantar Media.
MacLaren McCann was named marketing agency of record for Tourism Partnership of Niagara (TPN), a not-for-profit funded by the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Sport and Culture (MTCS), which promotes travel to Niagara under the Niagara Canada brand. The appointment follows a request for proposal process initiated by TPN in April. MacLaren McCann will be responsible for brand strategy and planning, advertising, and media planning and buying. First work includes a strategic brand review and redesign of the Niagara Canada website. Loud + Clear previously handled the account since 2011. "It was evident from the start that MacLaren McCann wanted our business," said Jody Larose, executive director, Tourism Partnership of Niagara. "At every stage of the evaluation process they demonstrated above and beyond why they are one of the industry's best. They have great people and relevant expertise in the travel and tourism category. We are excited to partner with them and are confident they share our vision to make Niagara the #1 tourism destination in North America." Added David Leonard, president and CEO of MacLaren McCann: "We wanted to demonstrate our strategic and creative approach in the RFP, as well as the passion we have for the entire Niagara region and the tourism category."
North Shore-LIJ, New York's largest healthcare system, named J. Walter Thompson New York as its lead creative agency, tapped to handle marketing and advertising strategy across its 19 hospitals and 400 outpatient physician practices. "J. Walter Thompson will be a critical strategic and creative partner in helping to enhance our brand and reputation for offering best-in-class healthcare in both the New York metropolitan area and beyond," said Ramon Soto, senior vice president and chief marketing and communications officer at North Shore-LIJ. North Shore-LIJ spent $1.9 million on measured media in 2014, according to Kantar Media.
Colle+McVoy was named agency of record for Blue Bunny ice cream, following a review. The agency will handle all strategic planning, creative and media buying duties. Barkley was the incumbent agency. "We set on a search for a partner that could help position us not just for tomorrow, but for the next several years ahead," said Adam Baumgartner, vice president, marketing, Wells Enterprises, owner of Blue Bunny. "The Colle+McVoy team brought us a very strategic and creative approach and excited us with their vision for the brand." Added Christine Fruechte, CEO of Colle+McVoy: "The chance to work with an iconic, treasured brand that has provided millions of happy moments all across America does not happen often. We look forward to extending the Blue Bunny brand into the future with an integrated campaign that will position Blue Bunny like never before." Blue Bunny spent $11.6 million on measured media in 2013 and $10.4 million in 2014, according to Kantar Media.
Lenovo renewed its relationship with We Are Social, retaining the agency as its social media agency of record for the third straight year. We Are Social's Singapore office will continue to lead the account, aided by the agency's global network, including its London headquarters. The agency was awarded global social media agency of record duties in December, 2012, following a pitch to provide strategic support and advice to Lenovo's in-house social media team, while partnering to develop a long-term strategy across all social media channels to drive the brand's business objectives. "We Are Social has shown their value and passion to us as a business over the past three years," said Rod Strother, director of Lenovo's Digital and Social Centre of Excellence. "The relationship has been very strong and them bringing their network to us has really benefited Lenovo at a worldwide level." Added Nathan McDonald, co-founder and global managing partner, We Are Social: "We are very pleased with the continued evolution of this partnership. The renewal of our global social media AOR relationship is a reflection of the mutual respect our teams have for each other and our desire to provide best-in-class communications and services to the Lenovo community."