It Appears Mullen is Closing Its San Francisco Office

No one is getting back to us on this, but we've heard rumors that Mullen is closing its San Francisco office, which was only recently opened in 2012 to great fanfare and promises of forming a "talent hub" to serve San Francisco-based clients as well as Boston-based clients. Other indicators of closure are the fact that Mullen SF CDO Stephen Goldblatt's LinkedIn profile screams, "Available for freelance opportunities." Or it could simply be the agency wants to concentrate on its LA office rather than support two California outposts.

Duh! An agency that works with the Albuquerque Convention Center has had to apologize for creating a help wanted ad for banquet service workers which used an image found online that depicts a waiter as Reverend Jesse Jackson. The origin of the likely fake image is unknown, and the agency has apologized for using the image, claiming they were focused on the ad's copy and the waiter's attire. The National Council of Negro Women President Cecilia Webb called the image "somewhat racist." Be that as it may, there's probably nothing racist about a black man being a waiter -- even Jesse Jackson -- but leave it to the cause groups to stir things up. And besides, the agency didn't create the image, they just stole it from online. There's nothing wrong with that, right? The ad was removed within an hour of the complaint.

To all you America expatriates working in other countries or to those considering doing so, Ogilvy & Mather Chairman and CEO Miles Young has some advice for you. "Being an expatriate successfully is about listening and curiosity. The one thing I've learnt in the last four or five years is to apply it as vigorously in the States as one would in Asia. It begins to pay back when you start to understand the country. On top of that, you have to participate. I am chairman of the US-Pakistan business council. It takes me a little bit into an aspect of American policy making and the strategic dialogue between the U.S. and Pakistan. As you start to do that, you learn more about the country you are living in. You start to contribute instead of taking. Expats just there for the money or fun or whatever it is -- they are takers. On the whole they don't add anything. You got to give. That's the fundamental lesson."

Costa Mesa-based GearShift Advertising is engaged in a giant high five this week after having won the Yamaha account. The agency partnered with digital shop Ymarketing for the pitch. Of the win, GearShift President Thomas Blinn said: "We are thrilled and humbled to have been chosen as Yamaha’s agency of record. It was a very competitive review process involving a number of highly qualified and talented agencies, so the win is particularly satisfying. We’re looking forward to building engagement and sales for Yamaha Motorcycles, ATVs, and Side-by-Sides, Star Motorcycles, as well as other related products and services.”
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  • Havas Uses Airbnb to Recruit Interns With Rental Of Agency Loft And Couch

    The latest intern recruitment stunt has Havas Boondoggle Amsterdam offering interns a gig in exchange for a free stay in the agency's loft or, more specifically, the couch in the agency's loft. Rather than offering pay to the interns, the agency believes a one to seven night stay in Amsterdam, and all the excitement that goes along with that, is payment enough.

    Of recruiting interns through Airbnb, Havas Boondoggle Amsterdam ECD Menno Schipper told AdWeek, "Airbnb attracts the more adventurous kind of people. That's exactly the energy we're looking for in ad students."

    After contacting the agency through Airbnb, potential interns are asked to send in their portfolio for consideration. Once and intern is selected, there are a few rules which must be followed. Interns are asked not to drink all the beer in the fridge, not to feed the agency dog and, OMG, not to touch the other interns or employees.

  • Starcom Narrowly Avoids Wrath of FTC Over Disclosure Debacle In Xbox One Campaign

    An online influencer campaign for Starcom MediaVest Group client Xbox One managed by gamer lifestyle video entertainment network Machinima was found to have run afoul of FTC guidelines for disclosure. According to the FTC, Machinima paid two Xbox One endorsers a total of $45,000 for creating positive review YouTube videos and paid a larger group of influencers $1 for each 1,000 page views achieved but the company did not require the influencers to disclose they had been paid.

    A settlement reached Wednesday prohibits Machinima from engaging in similar campaigns and the firm is required to disclose paid endorsements in all future campaigns it manages. Of the ruling, FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection Director Jessica Rich said, "When people see a product touted online, they have a right to know whether they're looking at an authentic opinion or a paid marketing pitch."

    Positioning its deceptive actions as a favor to the industry, a Machinima statement read, "Machinima is actively and deeply committed to ensuring transparency with all of its social influencer campaigns. We hope and expect that the agreement we have reached today will set standards and best practices for the entire industry to follow to ensure the best consumer experience possible."

    Regarding the role of Starcom and Microsoft in the matter, an FTC press release read, "while Microsoft and Starcom both were responsible for the influencers’ failure to disclose their material connection to the companies, Commission staff considered the fact that these appeared to be isolated incidents that occurred in spite of, and not in the absence of, policies and procedures designed to prevent such lapses"

    An August 26th letter from the FTC to Microsoft and Starcom outline the findings of the Commission and indicate no enforcement action will be taken against either company.
  • Wieden+Kennedy Joins Oregon's Bike Commute Challenge

    This year, as it has done for many, Wieden+Kennedy is joining Oregon's Bike Commute Challenge month, an effort which encourages more people to commute to work on a bike. 

    In a blog post, the agency explains further, writing: "The Bicycle Transportation Alliance, a non-profit bike advocacy group based in Portland, puts on the Bike Commute Challenge every September, during which businesses compete to have the highest percentage of commutes by bike. W+K is always a front runner in the competition (we’ll catch you this year, Reed College!)."

    How many miles will the agency log this year? More than last, we hope -- but we're all just going to have to wait until the end of September to find out.

    Good luck, W+K!

  • Former Ad Exec Promises to Wear Your Agency T-Shirt In Prostate Cancer Fundraising Effort

    Anthony Kalamut, former ad guy and current professor at Toronto's Seneca College Creative Advertising, has posted a "pay it forward" challenge to ad agencies on his Facebook page. He has since posted to his blog for all to see. Kalamut has been undergoing some health issues and as part of his recovery, he began wearing various ad and non-ad-related t-shirts during his workouts and posting images.

    Many of the shirts he has worn have come from ad agencies such as Taxi and Strawberry Frog. He notes he learned from Strawberry Frog Founder Scott Goodson that it doesn't take much to start a movement and with that thought, he's launching an effort to raise money for prostate cancer research.

    In his post, Kalamut writes: "Send me your agency's t-shirt and I'll wear it in one of my workouts, take a photo, post it and donate $10 to Prostate Cancer Canada. So please help me pay it forward and support my effort."

    In addition to the agency outreach on Facebook, Kalamut has set up a donation campaign directly with Prostate Cancer Canada on which anyone can donate directly to the cause.
  • Ad Couple Who Quit Agency Jobs To Travel the World Now Cleaning Toilets to Make Ends Meet

    A while back you may have heard about the South African ad couple who quit their agency jobs and decided to travel the world and keep a journal of their adventure. As is usually the case with these "find yourself" journeys shared on social media, activities and adventures almost always fall into the "damn, I wish I were them" category. Except for Chanel Cartell and Steve Dirnberger -- and likely, most others who just aren't honest -- not every aspect of their travels has been epically spectacular.

    In fact, they now clean toilets to help pay for their travels. In a recent blog post, the couple shared the fact that traveling the world isn't always roses or peaches and cream or whatever metaphor you want to apply. No, sometimes the money runs out and you've just gotta do what you've gotta do to make ends meet. And that's exactly what Cartell and Dirnberger have had to do. 

    In a blog post entitled We Quit Our Jobs In Advertising To Scrub Toilets, the couple share the less than glamorous side of world travel. 

    The couple write: "After being gone exactly 6 months, I feel it necessary we share the uglier side of our trip. Browsing through our blog posts and Instagram feed, it seems like we’re having the time of our lives. And don’t get me wrong -- we are. It’s bloody amazing. But it’s not all ice-creams in the sun and pretty landscapes. Noooooo. So far, I think we’ve tallied 135 toilets scrubbed, 250 kilos of cow dung spread, 2 tons of rocks shoveled, 60 meters of pathway laid, 57 beds made, and I cannot even remember how many wine glasses we’ve polished."

    And of the notion that we are often fooled by social media into thinking everyone's life but our own is spectacular, they add, "So don’t let the bank of gorgeous photography fool you. Nuh uh. I am not at my fittest, slimmest or physically healthiest. We eat jam on crackers most days, get roughly 5hrs of sleep per night, and lug our extremely heavy bags through cobbled streets at 1am, trying to find our accommodation (because bus fares are not part of the budget, obviously)."

    And so when you think your life sucks because everyone on social media seems to have such a perfect life, remember, social media favors the more positive aspects of life.

     

  • Crispin Porter + Bogusky Thinks Two Managing Directors Are Better Than One

    Following its new decentralized managerial model, Crispin Porter + Bogusky has hired a second managing director for its Boulder office. Devin Reiter, who previously worked with the agency on the Microsoft account before leaving for a year-long stint at McCann Erickson New York, has returned and will work alongside the office's other managing director, Danielle Whalen.

    Of the doubling up of managing directors, CP+B Global CEO Lori Senecal said: "We have small, tight teams of hands-on doers who are in charge of creating the very best work. So when an office becomes too large for one MD to have meaningful personal impact on each and every client business, we need to expand our leadership to deliver this promise."

    The move follows -- and is line with -- the exodus of Andrew Keller, a 17-year veteran of the shop. Keller's position as executive creative director, and the oversight that position provided, was eliminated to make way for the new decentralized approach to management.

    One wonders how long before the tide turns and the agency realizes the deck hands have taken over the ship and they've got a disorganized mutiny on their hands.

  • Top National Ad Agency Announces Half Price Logo Sale!!

    Well it looks like "top national advertising agency" Eye To Ad Media is at it again. Back in March they announced a "limited time promotion" on SEO, SEM, infographics, animations, responsive Web sites, copywriting and PPC management. And even more magically, they announced the fact that they now offer domain name registration and Web hosting services. 

    Now the agency that loves to write gushing press releases about the mundane offerings it decides are worthy of news has done it again. This time they've announced...wait for it...a half-price sale on all premium logo designs. Yup, you read that right. The agency will create a premium logo -- not a regular logo, mind you -- for half price. Oh, and it's a limited time offer, so you had better hurry!

    The rest of the press release reads like design 101 with gems like "Most business owners understand the importance of maintaining a healthy bottom line and know having strong logos, icons or emblems can build brands that are memorable and easily recognized" and "There's so much more to a brand than a logo, and a logo can become so much more than a brand. It can become an icon and carry a meaning among consumers that is known as a company's image. A strong brand can become nationally known, or even internationally known."

    I mean who knew?
  • First-Year Creative Develops Hilarious Ad Agency Bingo Game Which Pokes Fun At Agency Life

    New York-based first-year MRY creative Sam Bartos has unveiled Ad Agency Bingo, a bingo game which incorporates many of the activities, behaviors and plain old oddities he's witnessed during his first year at MRY.

    Bingo squares include such activities as someone blatantly drinking before 2PM, somebody Tindering during a meeting, someone using the word "disruptive," somebody's dog pees in the office, someone says "advertorial," someone takes a selfie, someone you've slept with is in the same meeting as you and more. 

    In Sam's own words, here's how you sore the game:

    “If you get a straight line, you can take it to your boss and ask that he promote you. Art Directors can become Senior Art Directors. Junior Copywriters will become Senior Junior Copywriters. etc.

    If you get a diagonal line, you get to raid the office supply closet, Supermarket Sweep-style.

    If your coworker gets a straight line, but you contributed by saying one of the things that helps them fill out one of the squares, you can scan their filled out sheet and put it in your portfolio as a project you worked on.

    If you give the sheet to an intern to and they get a straight line, you can take credit for it as long as you write them a nice LinkedIn recommendation on their last day.

    If you fill in a couple of the bubbles then get bored, fuck it, it’s 11:27. Lunch time.”

  • Aw, How Cute. Saatchi & Saatchi LA Donates Creative to Pet Shelter

    Oh sure, it's not really news that agencies take on pro bono accounts from time to time but this item involves cats and dogs and other pets. And on the internet, cats and dogs always win.

    Saatchi & Saatchi LA has donated creative services to the Amanda Foundation, an LA-based local pet rescue organization founded by Hollywood actress Teri Austin. The agency, along with area production companies which donated upwards of one half million in production costs, has given the Amanda Foundation a new...ahem...leash on life. 

    The agency completely rebranded the foundation, highlighting their core missions – from redesigning their logo and website, to giving their Spaymobile a new look and overhauling social platforms.

    You can check out the new website here and Spaymobile here.
  • 99designs Community Develops Completely Underwhelming Logo For Deez Nuts

    Deez Nuts, the 15-year-old Iowa farm boy, Brady Olson, who thought it'd be hilarious to enter the 2016 presidential race, has, hilariously, become a noted contender. Which, of course, isn't surprising at all in a land where Donald Trump could actually become president.

    Online graphic design marketplace 99designs thought they'd give Brady some help -- and garner a bit of publicity for themselves -- by enlisting the 99designs community to come up with a logo for the "candidate." The community did just that, but the winning entry is a bit of a letdown.

    You can take a look at the winning logo here. After you've done that, take a look at some of the other designs here and I'll think you'll agree there are quite a few better than the one bestowed top spot.
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