Integrate This: RPM Melds Slot Machine With Beer Keg To Celebrate Its 20th

Chicago-based RPM Advertising is celebrating its 20th anniversary with an interesting gift to its staff. CEO Steve Platcow and company president Mark Malin appeared on the History Channel’s American Restoration on March 4 as the lead project on the episode. The challenge was for the restoration team to convert a vintage slot machine into a “Sloterator,” a functional slot machine that would store a keg and dispense beer for company happy hours. The Sloterator will be unveiled at a cocktail reception for the RPM Advertising team members on April 1, 2014.  April Fool’s Day is the agency’s actual anniversary date. That should be quite the party.

Leave it to Madison Avenue to ruin a good thing. Instagram has received a reported $100 million ad spend commitment from Omnicom. Ads from Omnicom agencies including BBDO, DDB, TBWA\Chiat|Day, PHD, OMD and others will appear in Instagram users' streams. And they won't just scroll off the screen after being seen once. The deal calls for the ads to be seen by users "for an extended period of time." And it seems Starcom MediaVest will be getting in on the action too in a separate deal. Advertising. Always raining on a beautiful parade.

So SXSW is happening. Are you there/here? If you are there/here, do you know why you are there/here? If that isn't confusing enough, watch these five videos that AdWeek shot as part of its SXSW coverage. After watching all five videos, answer this one question. Can you give me one good reason why any of these five people are in Austin. Texas on the company dime?

That said, if you are in SXSW (still, it's Monday now), and you're feeling a bit lost, check out SXsports Playbook from LA-based sports and entertainment creative shop Zambezi. SXsports Playbook is a site on which you can take a 12-question survey that, once completed, will point you to five curated panel groupings consisting of must-see sports lineups that are tailored to interest expressed in the survey. As SXSW gets bigger and bigger each year, something -- anything -- is needed to navigate the insanity. Check it out.

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  • New Agency to Focus on Developing Google Chrome-Friendly HTML5 Display Ads

    I suppose it's entirely possible that there are hundreds of companies with the word "shift" in their name. And here's another; one that might raise an eyebrow with marketing agency Shift Communications. Why? Because ShiftRGB.com (which, anachronistically, displays only 1995ish "coming soon" text).

    Petrol Advertising Motion Director David Edeburn is launching ShiftRGB, a creative firm he says he's launching in response to Google Chrome's September 15th move to discontinue auto-playing Flash media. ShiftRGB will specialize in creating HTML5 display advertising for ad agencies transitioning to HTML5 display ads.

    For the past 15 years, Edeburn has worked as an HTML5 animator, Flash animator, creative director and web developer at WOO, Arsonal and Petrol.

     

  • More And More PR Agencies Continue to Swoop In On Ad Agency Territory

    Given the current focus on content, it really isn't all that surprising that public relations agencies are morphing into full-blown marketing agencies. After all, public relations agencies were always the masters of manipulation when it came to the written journalistic word. 

    The CEO of Zeno Group, Barby Siegel, says her previously PR-focused agency has become "an integrated communications agency born from PR. We have cracked the code in terms of the kind of agency we are and the kind of work we want to do. Now that does not mean we all look the same all over the world, but it means we are all focused on integrated communications born from PR. In terms of Edelman, we’ve also cracked the code as a sister agency that is not better or worse, but different. We have our own culture and fill a niche in the marketplace."

    And on the creative aspects of her changed agency, she adds: "To come up with a big creative idea is brave, but to then say we are not going to go ahead with that idea because it’s not going to sell more phones or tablets, bottles of juice or whatever is even braver. Our guiding light every day is the fearless pursuit of the unexpected, but it is not creativity for the sake of it."

    None of this, of course, is surprising. While the "big idea" is still central to the success of any good marketing program, where that big idea plays out -- increasingly in native advertising, social media and other forms of written content rather than TV commercials -- has always been the strong suit of a PR agency versus an ad agency. Given this, it's only logical that PR agencies lay down a bigger footprint.
  • Saatchi & Saatchi Still Pimping 25th Anniversary New Directors' Showcase, This Time With MoMA Screening

    Following its premiere at the Palais des Festivals during the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity and a showing in Milan on July 15, Saatchi & Saatchi continues to celebrate the 25th anniversary of its New Directors’ Showcase, this time with a New York City screening event at the Museum of Modern Art Tuesday, August 25.

    Saatchi & Saatchi will present the New Directors Showcase featuring this year’s directing talent as well as the U.S. premiere of “25X25”: an "experiment in film" directed by 25 New Directors' Showcase alumni who have been recognized for their successful film, television, and advertising careers.

    The “25x25” directors include Daniel Kleinman, Dawn Shadforth, Floria Sigismondi, Jonathan Glazer, Michel Gondry, Ivan Zacharias, Traktor, Dante Ariola, Ringan Ledwidge, Antoine Bardou-Jacquet, Carl Erik Rinsch, Noam Murro, Tim Bullock, Dougal Wilson, James Rouse, Jamie Rafn, Fredrik Bond, Philippe Andre, Jake Scott, Ne-o, David Wilson, Daniel Wolfe, Ilya Naishuller, Vania Heymann, and Charlie Robins.

    Of the event, Andy Gulliman, Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide Director of Film & Content and curator of the New Directors Showcase said: “Back in 1991 an idea was conceived for a Showcase that would reflect the agency’s reputation for nurturing and developing new talent. 25 years later we are still committed to providing a global platform for new directing talent.”

    Saatchi & Saatchi New York CEO Brent Smart added: “It was a real highlight to experience the New Directors’ Showcase and 25X25 Film at Cannes this year and we couldn’t be more excited to bring this event to New York. I hope our clients, partners, and people find the same inspiration from the next generation of filmmakers.”

  • According to Agency Execs, Working With The Snapchat Sales Team Is A Bit Challenging

    It seems with the departure of former COO Emily White and former VP of Partnerships Mike Randall, Snapchat is facing a bit of a challenging re-org according to several ad agency executives.

    One executive, speaking to Business Insider on the condition of anonymity, said: "When they speak to us, it feels very ad-hoc. We wanted to do something with them that would make headlines — like McDonald's did with its geofilter but they were not equipped to do that and respond to our pitch and think of ideas. It seems to me like the McDonald's geo-filter came from the brand and agency, who asked them: 'Can you do this?' And the sales side says: 'Yes, we can, if it's not too hard for us to do.' It feels like they're saying 'We don't have time to do that now.'"

    Another agency exec added: "There's not a raft of case studies from an advertising point of view. And those that are there feel very limited. It's like the early stages of Facebook and Twitter, mostly talking about engagement and likes. We're at the start of a shiny new toy. From a brand perspective, Snapchat offers great access to a young audience and it's getting to the point where it feels unparalleled, like a deeper version of Instagram. What they need to do now is demonstrate they are a relevant and a credible advertising player."

    Of course, it is natural for a startup to experience growing pains, and Snapchat points out the amount of repeat business they have experienced from brands and agencies is a healthy sign of success. Of course, it could simply be shiny new object syndrome. And yet, Mondelez CMO Dana Anderson is pleased and said: "I love the fact that they're getting into the space and becoming an avid marketing partner." 

    Universal Pictures EVP of Digital Marketing Doug Neil added, "We were very satisfied with the experience," regarding a promotion they ran with Snapchat for the movie Ouija.
  • Jerry Della Femina to Launch 'Mad Men'-Like TV Show Set In The Seventies

    Jerry Della Femina, who Matt Weiner said inspired his AMC series "Mad Men," is planning to launch a TV show about advertising in the 70's which, he says, "Will make Mad Men look like Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. For those who don't get the reference -- I didn't -- Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm is a 1903 American novel about the trials and tribulations of girl in Maine who lived with her two stern aunts.

    Of the series, which is still in the works, Della Femina said: "'Mad Men' was a show about the 1950s and ’60s." His series will be “a total crazy celebration of the not-PC ’70s, back when advertising was fun.”

    Of the type of topics his series will cover, Della Femina recants a story about how his agency held an annual sex contest during which people voted on whom they'd most like to have sex with and how much marijuana played a role in daily agency life.

    Can the market stand another show about advertising? Could it possibly be as good as "Mad Men?" Will MediaPost's Barbara Lippert write another amazing weekly column about the series much like she did for "Mad Men?" Can we stand 5-7 years of low-rider striped bellbottoms and bushy hairstyles? These are the burning questions of the minute.
  • Australian Agency Opens Production Shop in India to Offer Australian Clients Half-Price Work

    Sort of like sending chickens to China to be processed and then back to America to be eaten or Walmart selling stuff made in God knows where, Australian creative agency GooRoo is promising to offer creative production services for half the cost. How? 

    GooRoo, launched by former Ogilvy Bangalore creative directors Rod Vallis and Peter Jacobsen, is being billed as "the Australian agency in India." The agency has opened a production company in India and will do the "send chickens elsewhere to be processed" thing. The aim is to take advantage of cheaper labor in India as it relates to costs in Australia. 

    Hey, if I were Vallis and Jacobsen, I'd just keep that production studio a secret and just charge Australian clients the going rate. But that wouldn't be nice, would it?

    And Vallis and Jacobsen don't think so either. Of the setup, Vallis said: “One of the biggest issues we’re seeing is a lack of transparency. We’re hearing that some agencies are sending production offshore without necessarily informing their clients. We’re upfront about it as we see it as one of our main competitive advantages.” 

    And on why this is any better than any other agency doing the same thing, Vallis added: “Our point of difference is that we offer an extremely cost-effective rollout of your campaign assets. And sure, most agencies are now offshoring to cut costs, but we don’t have offshore partners, we have our own studio so we can ensure a better outcome than the agency networks.”
  • Art Director Lands New Gig With Resume-In-Bottle Stunt

    Recently, DDB Istanbul was in search of an art director. As is always the case with an open creative position, the agency was slammed with portfolios. But one portfolio stood out and was far and away above all others.

    Like a shipwrecked person on an island (after all, that's kind of like what joblessness is like), Canhür Aktuglu did the message in a bottle thing placing his cover letter inside a bottle and embedding a USB stick containing his portfolio in the bottle's cork. 

    Check out several images of his creation here.

  • Creative Director Shoots Award-Winning Photos of Kenya

    Ron Foth Jr., an ad agency creative director and commercial film director for his namesake agency, shot a dramatic photo series featuring schoolchildren at a remote village in Kenya. The photo series has been selected for inclusion in the recent Communication Arts 2015 Photography Annual. Out of 4,421 entries in the competition, Foth’s work was one of just 157 chosen by a jury of industry types. It's his first time submitting photos and being chosen for the award.

    The African School photographs were created for a campaign launching Heart of Africa, a new exhibit at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. The exhibit features African animals, but also celebrates the customs, music, art and people of Africa.
  • Xaxis CEO Says His Agency Trading Desk Is Not A Trading Desk

    So we all know that an agency tracing desk is a place where agencies centralize their programmatic buying, right? Well, not according to the CEO of Xaxis, WPP's programmatic media operation. 

    According to Xaxis CEO Brian Lesser, “We are not a trading desk. A trading desk is a service an agency provides that is disclosed and acts as a filter for all programmatic media. If I’m an advertiser, and I spend $10 million in programmatic, I would rely on a trading desk to advise me on that $10 million, like what DSP to use, inventory, and data services.”

    Lesser argues that Xaxis is really a full-fledged media company, adding: “We invest more in technology than any other agency, so when we are compared to Publicis’ AoD, that’s like apples to oranges. That’s a trade desk, they have no internal tech, they rely solely on third-party tech. They are happy to surface the cost of their inventory because they don’t trade the way we do. I think as a result, they don’t provide nearly as much as we do.”

    Pretty soon we'll start calling trading desks media departments. Oh, wait. 

  • Barton F. Graf 9000 Beefs Up Creative Department

    Barton F. Graf 9000 has brought in a new creative team, Michael Hagos and Sam Dolphin, who have joined the agency as art director and copywriter. Hagos and Dolphin will report directly to Executive Creative Directors Scott Vitrone and Ian Reichenthal.

    Hagos and Dolphin have been working together off and on since the pair were in graduate school at Virginia Commonwealth University and became a team while helping to launch the New York office of Goodby, Silverstein and Partners. Together, they have worked on Comcast, New York Post, Street Easy, and Rock the Vote.

    Of the pair, Barton F. Graff 9000 Founder and Chief Creative Officer Gerry Graf said: “I love the different ways they find creative solutions. When I look at work, and I can’t figure out how the team came up with the idea, those are the people I really like. Michael and Sam are campaign thinkers who fundamentally understand that breakthrough ideas also need to sell stuff. Not to mention, they’re pretty nice guys to have around the office.”

    Before his time at Goodby, Hagos worked as a freelancer for a variety of agencies including Red Antler and Venables Bell and Partners. Prior to that, he spent time some time at Mother NY and Sid Lee, producing creative work for companies such as Target, Virgin Mobile, Stella Artois, Proust eMusic, and JCPenney. Before becoming partners, Dolphin worked as a copywriter at Wieden+Kennedy, Portland, where he created work for Dodge, P&G, Coca-Cola, Facebook, Nike, American Express, Sony, Special Olympics, and Herbal Essences, among others.

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