So anytime we see a press release that touts the fact that an agency just won an award for "most attractive employer," we wonder if ad agencies really are still giving out awards for having
the hottest looking employees. We then realize the press release is from France and it's touting the fact that Publicis Groupe garnered that win in the 5th annual Randstad Awards. And it's not about
how attractive people who work in the agency are. It's all about what a cool (i.e., attractive) place Publicis is to work. Okay. Now that we have that all cleared up.
While chit chat evokes a not so great gelling between Publicis and Kaplan Thaler following the merger, it would appear that wonderful things have always been said about Linda Kaplan Thaler. In a Direct Marketing News article, Kaplan shares eight reasons why it pays to pay it forward. Number one on the list is being nice and training everyone who works for you to be nice. You think nice guys finish last? Not so. U.S. Bank CEO Richard Davis, who had narrowed down his agency search to a few agencies including Kaplan Thaler and was told how nice the agency was to a security guard, thought: "If they're this nice to the security guard, I can only imagine how they're going to treat my people." That sentiment clinched the decision to choose Kaplan as the bank's agency.
Well here's a fun time waster. Bright Red\TBWA is out with Designer Dirty Talk, a double entendre-laden site created by a couple of the agency's designers. Anyone can submit their own dirty talk, but the site also generates random dirty talk like "Let me undo that for you," "I'm looking for a big batch who will let me liquify in her bounding box" and "Fill me while I add a stroke." And so it goes. Anything for an excuse to work sexual innuendo into a piece of creative.
You may never have heard of Boise-based ad man Bill Drake, who since 1978 has run Drake Cooper Advertising. There's probably all kinds of people who you've never heard of who have been toiling in advertising for longer than you've been alive. And just because you've never heard of them doesn't mean they haven't been rockin' things for decades. But everyone's awesomeness comes to an end at some point, and that time has come for Drake who just retired after four decades running the shop. Of the changes he has seen over the years, Drake said: "Consumers years ago were a little naive, and whatever the advertising said they believed. And then as time has gone on, not only are consumers more savvy, they're aware. And they now give you permission to market to them. That's a very different environment than the way it used to be, and therefore the way we approach our craft is very different. Now there's a higher entertainment value. There's a more engaging mindset to it than what it used to be."
Ever since the advent of crowdsource-fueled creative entities like 99Designs, Freelancer and Fiver, design studios -- which previously buttered their bread with business from ad agencies -- are now
upping their game, cutting out the agency and going direct to the brand for business.
Of the trend, Design Business Council Head Greg Branson said: “A lot of the designers I work with have a strategy partner or a senior person in the business that does strategy. Many of them have been recruited by the designer out of the advertising industry, with the intention of taking their business to a higher level and offering a broader range of services."
While a design studio isn't going to take over the Coke account any time soon, shifts like this are on the rise. Interestingly, even before 99Designs and the like, Barbarian Group -- which prior to Subservient Chicken was a tech design studio of sorts -- transformed itself into a full-blown agency complete with all the usual agency services.
No, there won't be a weekly parade of design studios making it big like Barbarian did, but market conditions have changed significantly enough that we will continue to see more of this.
For the past day or so, it seems impossible to escape from a Google News alert that isn't filled with that story about popular Indian celebrity Aishwarya Rai, who appeared in an ad for Kalyan
Jewellers elegantly dressed with a dark-skinned child holding an umbrella over her head. Many have called the ad racist.
An open letter from a consortium of feminist, child and human rights groups says the ad appears to "be representing aristocracy from a bygone era -- bejewelled, poised and relaxing while an obviously underage slave-child, very dark and emaciated, struggles to hold an oversize umbrella over your head."
The letter, which shares several examples of 17th- and 18th-century images that would now be considered racist, continues: "We wish to convey our dismay at the concept of this advertisement, and that you have, perhaps unthinkingly, associated with such a regressive portrayal of a child to sell a product...we, therefore, urge you to do the right thing -- cease to associate yourself with this offensive image by ensuring that further use of this advertisement is stopped."
In response, a statement from Aishwarya pretty much shirks any responsibility and blames the creative agency for the debacle. The statement read: "On the onset we would like to thank you on drawing our attention to the observation of the perception of the advertisement. Here is an attachment (picture of Aishwarya without the child holding the umbrella) of the shot taken by somebody during the shoot. The final layout of the ad is entirely the prerogative of the creative team for a brand. However shall forward your article as a viewpoint that can be taken into consideration by the creative team of professionals working on the brand visual communication. Thank you once again."
Kalyan Jewellers has pulled the ad.
On Wednesday at the LSA|15 Conference in Los Angeles, the Local Search Association announced the winners of its second annual Ad to Action Awards competition. LSA received 91 entries across 10
categories and the winners were revealed on the main stage at the event.
The competition focused on celebrating the most innovative "local" marketing products or solutions that facilitate consumer actions such as calls, clicks, store visits, etc. The winners demonstrated the greatest potential for driving local consumer engagement and best addressed current market needs.
The judging panel -- made up of 18 companies including Twitter, Foursquare, Yahoo, MapQuest, xAd and more -- evaluated these products and solutions. Each judge reviewed a subset of entries and no judge reviewed any entries where there was a potential conflict of interest.
In the Platforms and Services category, Chicago-based Rise Interactive, which likes to refer to itself as an "interactive investment management firm," won the top spot. And we can see why. Any agency that can spin the fact that they buy online advertising into "interactive investment management form" is worthy of praise.
For, oh, at least the past 7-10 years, every prognosticator has gleefully been promising "this is the year of mobile!" to the point where it's become a joke. Now, certainly, mobile has matured and
has become a viable medium for many things including advertising. But AKQA CCO Rei Inamoto isn't completely convinced.
In an interview with The Drum, Inamoto said, “To an extent I think the promise of mobile in relation to marketing has been exaggerated. The biggest misconception about mobile and the biggest mistake that advertisers make about mobile is to treat it like an advertising channel. Instead we should use it as a way to provide service not to provide a message.”
And, being the smart guy that he is, he's right. Rather than forcing old models (*cough* ...banners) through mobile devices, brands should embrace new services. Many have. Love them or hate them, Inamoto cites Uber as a brand that's fully embraced mobile, not as an advertising medium per se but, rather, as a platform for doing business.
So, yes, mobile has finally arrived. But my hope for the medium is that we can skip past all the missteps we took forcing old advertising models onto the internet and treat mobile very differently and more effectively. Like the personal service it has become. Not a pipe through which to shove ads.