The British took over India once before and now they're doing it again. Well, sort of. WPP is chatting with Arun Nanda and Ajit Balakrishnan about acquiring their 60% stake in Rediffusion
Y&R India. WPP already owns 27% of Rediffusion and this acquisition would up that stake to about 87%. Both parties are calling the talks speculative, but don't all parties in this situation always
say that? Of course they do. A deal's not a deal until it's a done deal.
We like Cleveland-based Brokaw. They've done some nice work over the years. Recently named Ad Age Small Agency of the Year, Brokaw continues to up its game, this time by hiring Renee Alexander, former director of paid, owned, and earned media at Publicis' Rosetta. Alexander will become the agency's digital and social media director and will lead the shop's digital and social media planning. Of the hire, Brokaw CEO Gregg Brokaw said: "Renee has an impressive track record of helping Fortune 100 brands drive online excitement, and more importantly, action. She will play a huge role in leading our interactive team, as well as our growing national client base, as we continue to build the agency of the future."
Billups, a company which, according to its press release, is "shaking up the [outdoor] space with immense year-over-year growth," has made a hire that has been "compared to Lebron's decision to leave Cleveland for a chance at the championship in Miami." Just how epic is this hire? He is, as the press release bombastically proclaims, "considered a force of nature in the out-of-home advertising space." So just who is this force of nature? Rick Robinson. Yeah, we have no idea either. Neither does Google. Hmm. Not everyone can have great SEO. Which in this case, you know, sort of makes sense, since this is all about one of the oldest, most un-Internet media around. Which, of course, doesn't mean he isn't actually a big deal in the outdoor space. Anyway, he's joining the company as chief strategy officer. It's a "game changer," the press release screams.
Everyone who works in an advertising agency should read this Business Insider article written by Dylan Connell. He gives a layman's description of the advertising business, the type of jobs that make up an ad agency (yeah, it's not just creative like the rest of the world thinks), the fact that it isn't easy and you can't just "decide" to do it, that we don't trick people into buying stuff they don't need or want, and the fact that you aren't going to make much money. Is he right?
Kevin Foreman, whose creative career spans 25 years at shops such as Backer Spielvogel Bates/NY, The Richards Group, Publicis, Tribal DDB, Rapp Worldwide and SHOP.COM, will join Moroch Partners as the agency's Digital Creative Director. Which, when you think about it is pretty awesome because Foreman has to be at least 47 so props to
the agency for going against the grain and entrusting an "old guy" with your digital creative.
Of selecting Foreman for the position, Moroch Partners ECD Kevin Sutton said, “Having Kevin on board will ensure the agency remains ahead of industry shifts and will continue to develop the most significant campaigns we can across multiple consumer-centric platforms. With consumers’ increasing demand for real-time information and brand engagement, digital has become one of the most critical components of our clients’ marketing strategies.”
Foreman seems pretty happy with the new gig saying, “Moroch was built on the belief that true 360 integration is the key to driving shifts in consumer preferences and behaviors to deliver more immediate, sustainable and significant client results. The leap was intuitive as I share the same belief and passion. I’m excited to dive in and get started.”
The Big Ten Network has announced it officially named Fallon its agency of record following the agency’s development of a fall national campaign focusing on BTN’s college sports focus
and ever-expanding reach.
Of Fallon's work and selecting the agency as AOR, BTN VP of Marketing Erin Harvego said, “The fall college sports campaign was a huge success for the Big Ten Network. We look forward to continuing the momentum with dynamic, original creative that showcases what the Big Ten and college sports are all about. What we enjoy most about working with Fallon is the agency’s ability to present original ideas, and I think they’ve found fun and exciting ways to share our vision with our viewers.”
Of hooking up with BTN, Fallon Creative Director Josh Combs said, “We like to work with ambitious brands and BTN is among the most motivated with which we’ve worked. The network is determined to become the best network in college sports and our job at Fallon is to help it turn those dreams into a reality.”
Influencer marketing. It's the strategy du jour these days. Everyone's doing it, but not everyone is succeeding. In fact, Oliver Luckett, founder of digital influencer agency TheAudience says: “There’s a new company every week that says it does what we do. They don’t have any fuckin’ clue what we do.
They think we still manage celebrities’ social media presences. We haven’t done that for a year and a half. It was a terrible, thankless business. Why try to move celebrities that are
digital immigrants into it when I’ve got 6,000 kids that speak this language that can push anything and make it trend globally with a push of a button?"
Luckett isn't shy about his company's success, adding: "We are like the puppet master inside of these social media systems, and we work with these creators that do their thing every day, and we bring them funding. We did that to the tune of $27 million in revenue last year. And we’ve doubled every year.”
Luckett has no kind words form brands or agencies or celebrities who don't get the new media landscape. Of Katy Perry's lead up to her Super Bowl performance, of which there was none, Luckett said: “Shame on her. Look at her Facebook page -- not one mention of the Super Bowl! It’s unbelievable. The night of the Super Bowl, I sent her page to the execs at Universal and said, ‘Guys, y’all need to be fired. You’re embarrassing yourselves.’ Her fans wanted to interact with her. Where are the Instagram photos? Show me her inspirations. Show me something. Get people excited.”
As one who watches this space with rapt attention, I can certainly concur with Luckett. Time and time again, too many brands and agencies simply do not understand or simply do not care to understand how dramatically things have changed (and continue to change) and how completely different marketing approaches are now required to affect any metric a brand cares about.
This is not to say you all suck. Far from it. Change takes time, but you can't go around with your head in the sand and adopt a wait-and-see attitude like the agency president who, in an interview I had in 2003, said to me: "Oh, the Internet. No, it's not really anything we concern ourselves with." I swear that actually happened.
No one, of course, is saying that anymore -- but there was a time when, you know, this whole "Internet thing" was just some stupid thing those IT geeks screwed around with when they were supposed to be making sure your Lotus Notes worked.
All of which is to say the "we've always done it that way" attitude will get you nowhere. And companies like TheAudience will be stealing business from you left and right. Of course, you could just do what agencies always do -- promise your client you can do it and then just call TheAudience, pay their fee and take all the credit. At least that would be better than doing nothing at all. And who knows -- you might actually learn something; enough to, you know, realize your agency should be smart enough to provide your clients this kind of service with the ease and panache you display when presenting your latest Flashturbation creation way back in 2005.
WPP has launched Gain Theory. It's a new "marketing foresight consultancy," which aims to help brands deal with the explosion of data, predicted to be 44 times greater in 2020 than it was in 2009.
Heading up the new entity is former WPP Maxus CIO Jason Harrison.
Of the endeavor, Harrison says: “There’s so much more information available about business performance, consumers, what’s happening with marketing campaigns. The expectation is that marketers would be able to digest all that and be able to know what to do next and do that very quickly. That is incredibly complicated.”
While the entity will be part of WPP's media operation, it will remain independent of media buying. Harrison adds: “The reality is we get the best of both worlds. Because we sit alone as an independent entity, we can bring a point of view to a marketer that’s not connected to any of the decisions that get made about actual tactical executions. We don’t have a dog in that fight… But as well, we can connect to the vast array of tools and assets that live within WPP in a really independent and objective way.”