What's A Retired NBA Vet Do For An Encore?

Who knew life after the NBA would involve starting an ad agency? But that's exactly what's happening with former Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat player Jamal Mashburn, who has hooked up with Jonathan Sackett, a former senior partner at Ogilvy & Mather. The pair has formed, predictably, Mashburn Sackett, which will be based in Chicago. Of his desire to get into advertising and why he thinks he can cut it, Mashburn told The Wall Street Journal: "I look at it from running and owning car dealerships and 80 franchises. Trying to understand the advertising component in the car business was the biggest challenge. The car business is very much all about ‘we are going to do it the same old way.’ It’s a lot of ‘we are going to spend X amount of dollars on radio and print and try and figure out this Internet thing.’ So I began asking my general managers ‘can anybody give me a number on what my return is for what we spend on advertising?’  But no one could give me an answer. That got my attention and I got really involved."

In a new book, Fired at 50: A Survivor's Guide to Prosperity, ad agency veteran Phyllis Green tells the story of her rise from obscurity at a small Trenton radio station to fame and fortune as the first female sales manager at New York's ABC TV -- and back into darkness when she was fired by Capital Cities, which acquired the New York television station. But she didn't stay in the dark for long. In 1986 Green founded Green Advertising, which in 1999 was acquired by Pace Advertising, a WPP agency. Currently, she is chairman of Green Advertising, the parent company of GreenAd.com, Stalder/Green Advertising in Orlando, and Vidpop Productions, a video production complex in Boca Raton. 

Are you into content marketing? Native advertising? Do you even know what it is? How it fits into the advertising ecosystem? Writing in Forbes, Lewis DVorkin explains the birth of native advertising (at least at Forbes) and offers up 10 battlegrounds to watch -- from competition to transparency to labeling to presentation to distribution and more -- as native advertising attempts to take center stage. It's a great list of things to keep your eyes on as you march forth into the muddy battleground of native advertising. And no, you will not have the luxury of ignoring it in the hope that it just goes away like the Cue Cat did.

Chris Sheldon, also known as the Depressed Copywriter for a Tumblr blog he ran a couple of years ago, is out with My Parent's Website in honor of his father's website which won a best lawyer site award back in 1997. My Parent's Website encourages people to add their own parents' websites to the collection. Basically, it's a collection of screenshots and links, the purpose of which, the site explains, is to "preserve our parent’s websites forever before they accidentally delete them." So if you've got any creativity hiding inside some website your parents created eons ago, head over to My Parent's Website and add it before, you know, your parents accidentally delete it.

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  • Ad Man Offers Advice to Adults In Agencies Who Act Like Children

    It's really kind of strange -- and, well, depressing -- that actual adults with actual jobs in actual ad agencies that are actual businesses that, you know, are run by actual adults actually need advice like this, but apparently this is the case.

    Penning a piece for The Chattanoogan (what the hell kind of name for a news outlet is that?), Connect Marketing Head Honcho Clint Powell has some advice that really shouldn't be the kind of advice that actual adults need. Kids, maybe, but actual adults? No. In any event, he wrote the piece and if you've worked in the ad business for any length of time, you know full well there are, unfortunately, plenty of people who need this advice.

    His advice? Knowing when to say things clearly and in a way that doesn't waste other people's time nor make you end up looking like a fool. He offers up four things that are perfectly okay to say but for some reason, people are too scared to say them. They are "I am sorry," "I can not do that," "I don't know" and "Let's be clear." You can read his whole article for the details but, seriously, you really shouldn't have to. 

  • Jordan Zimmerman's Muscles Win Him Men's Fitness, Muscle & Fitness Accounts

    Have you seen Jordan Zimmerman's biceps? The man is ripped. Ripped, I tell you! And here I struggle to do 5 sets of clean and jerks at 85 pounds in CrossFit class! Now, whether or not Zimmerman's muscles had anything to do with the fact that he just snagged an interesting assignment -- without a pitch -- from muscle magazine-heavy publisher American Media is unclear. What is clear is that the win would appear to be a perfect match for the agency.

    Zimmerman's agency, Zimmerman Advertising, won't be doing ads for the magazines, though. The agency will work with American Media to explore partnerships with other entities such as the National Basketball Association All-Star event AMI sponsored with Macy's a couple weeks ago. 

    The agency will take a close look at events like this and others to determine appropriate fits that match well with AMI titles which include Men's Fitness, Muscle & Fitness, and Flex as well as National Enquirer, Star and OK. 

    Of selecting Zimmerman, American Media CEO David Pecker said he sought and agency that "reflects the aggressive growth strategy of AMI and has a proven track record of driving growth in multiple sectors and is a true strategic partner."
  • Toronto Agency john st. Hires Guy With Same (Almost) Name

    Toronto-based agency john st. has made an interesting hire. Hoping to beef up their digital services, the agency has brought in "an accomplished entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience building global digital media and consumer internet businesses from concept through to final acquisition."

    So who did the agency hire? The guy's name is Tom St. John. Yeah. No kidding. john st. hired St. John. Like, when does that ever happen? 

    Of joining the agency, St. John says, “I feel that john st. has done some of the most innovative digital work in the country for some time now, but I believe that there is room for them to lead the broader digital discussion with clients. Analytics, social ROI, branded content, mobile advertising, online video -- these are just some of the challenges our clients are facing, and we can help them maximize those opportunities.”

  • Is Your Creative Director A Douchebag? You'll Know After They Take This Test

    Ah, you've got to love one thing about the ad business. As self-centered and as egotistical as many in it can be (hey, I know, I worked in it), it's also refreshingly awesome to witness just how much those in the business like to make fun of themselves. 

    It seems like every award show promo and witty little agency puff piece wallows in the schadenfreude of skewering every element of the ad world. Just last week, we were revisited by "Who Said It? Kanye West or Your Creative Director." Now we've got the Creative Director Douchbag Detector Device, a "state-of-the-art-futuristic-hi-tek-gismo that will calculate the potential DBAG risk of that overly paid Creative Leader."

    Here's how to use the device: "Adjust the dials and toggle the knobs to the exact specifications you are looking for in said Creative Leader and….Beep! Boop! Beep! DING! You will know with 99.997% accuracy whether the Creative Leader you want to hire has real potential… to be a complete Dill Weed.”

    I'm sure they meant to say something far more derogatory than "dill weed."
  • No, Really! Taking Someone Else's Idea And Giving It Your Own Spin Absolutely Does Make An Original!

    It must be the week for glorious creative pontification. Just a few days ago, I shared with you a video created by David Brier which attempted to define the process of branding but ended up a full-on blatherific word salad of epic proportion. 

    Now we've got a video from Director Andrew Vucko. Yes, it's a little different from Brier's effort, but it's in the same vein. In the video, Vucko takes on originality -- a hot topic in the ad world, as many ideas are simply recreations of previous ideas. Vucko's point is that nothing is ever complete, nothing is final and everything is under continuous re-development. But then the video takes a nosedive into usual rhetoric about creativity putting a new spin on things by, get this, adding yourself to the equation. Now if that isn't the most perfect assessment of the ego-centric, "I am awesome. I made this" creative world, I don't know what is.

    Vucko explains the project, which began as something completely different, saying: "Eventually, I took a step back and chose to build something on the very topic that was plaguing me -- the theme of originality. From there, I searched for references and inspiration, coming across all of these interesting quotes on the subject. While at first each quote felt like a separate idea, as I continued to read, I realized that they could be combined into a single narrative."

    The video concludes with: "It's not where you take things from, it's where you take them to." So yes. It's perfectly fine to take someone else's idea and put your stamp on it.
  • Alex Bogusky to Launch Social-Good Start-Up

    It would appear that Crispin Porter + Bogusky Co-Founder Alex Bogusky is launching a new venture. Sources say the entity will be called Spiffly, which is being described as a sort of aggregated network of "companies and professionals making and supporting a new generation of consumer products that take into consideration people, planet and profit."

    On Tuesday, Bogusky tweeted: "Excited to launch new social-good platform very soon. Imagine an agency with a community (millions) and media distribution built in."

    When I responded to Bogusky's tweet and asked whether he could share more information, he said: "I can't comment at this point." Which is totally understandable at this stage of the game. Although it's said that Spiffly will be a joint venture with Disney/ABC/Univision's cable network and digital platform Fusion.

    The Denver Egoist reports: "The agency [Bogusky clarifies Spiffly will be a "startup in the natural food space," not an agency] will begin with work for non-profits and foundations doing issue-based pushes but will plan to expand to brands doing good. Fusion has offices in Miami, LA and NYC. The new agency [start-up] will be located in Boulder."

    To me, it seems the offering will be a people-powered sort of approach to advertising and/or content distribution. We'll know more soon enough.
  • Cannes Lions Wants Agencies To Send Worst Creatives To Festival

    Working with McCann London, the folks behind Cannes Lions have launched a new campaign that suggests agencies offer to send their worst employees to the festival of creativity this year...because it's cheaper than firing them and paying severance.

    The purpose, of course, is to make one last-ditch effort to inspire the -- shall we say -- less inspired by dropping them into the center of advertising creativity for one week. I guess if after a week in Cannes they still suck, well, then it's time to bid them adieu. Although you will have to pay them severance then, so the whole send-them-to-Cannes thing is, indeed, a gamble. 

    Headlines to the ads read: "Nisha, Strategist. Has dedicated seven loyal years to your agency. With very little to show for it" and Samuel, Producer. You fought hard to hire him. Responds to every suggestion with 'It can't be done.'" The ads are signed off with "Buy her/him a delegate pass. Cheaper than severance."

    Of the approach, McCann London CCO Rob Doubal said: "Although our campaign is humorous, it makes a very sensible point. Why should being a Cannes Lions delegate be the preserve of the already excellent? If we really want a more creative world, as we all profess, we should also be encouraging the not-so-excellent performers to be inspired by Cannes Lions."

    Funny stuff, this campaign. Trouble is, now everyone that is sent to Cannes by their agency is now going to have a gigantic inferiority complex along with nightmares about whether or not agency management thinks they’re up to snuff. 

    Oh, and the poor people who had to pose for the campaign -- branded losers for life!

  • Rocket Fuel Takes Nosedive In Stock Market, Blames Holding Companies

    Programmatic ad-tech firm Rocket Fuel saw its stock price fall 27% on Friday, the lowest since the firm went public in 2013. The drop is being attributed to poor fourth quarter results.

    Rocket Fuel CEO George John points to agency holding companies as a cause from the drop, saying, “Our experience is that agency holding companies are putting increased pressure on client-focused media teams to use their house-brand trading desks, and if not addressed this would reduce our revenue opportunity."

    Rocket Fuel, of course, is working hard to retain its agency business with renewed efforts and preferred partnerships with holding companies. Clearly, Rocket Fuel has its work cut out. It's not like programmatic is going away but the ad-tech company is going to have to work hard to maintain its foothold.
  • Watch Out Ad World, China Is About To Steal 'Madison Avenue'

    With a bit of logic that's twisted at best, Y&R China CCO Nils Andersson says Britain owned creativity during the 19th century, America owned it in the 20th century, and -- because things always happen in nice, even 100-year chunks -- China will own creativity in the 21st century.

    But he does have a point, and he argues: "Anything is possible in China. Dream something up and there is always someone somewhere who wants to make it happen. It’s a very different feeling from working in the West. The Chinese wait for nothing; China does everything at speed. Sometimes you could argue, too quickly, but the rest of the world needs to wise up to the fact that comparatively, they are moving in slow motion."

    Much in the same way that everyone from every industry seems to think China will rule the world sooner than later, it basically boils down to a numbers game. There are a lot more Chinese people than any other. Andersson expands on this, noting: "Despite it being early in ‘China’s century’, the country’s growth as a creative powerhouse should not be underestimated. The sheer amount of amazing talent; with a population of that size the law of averages dictates a phenomenal number of gifted creatives will emerge from China -- many of whom are already gracing the local, regional and global stage."

    Will this happen? It's anyone's guess. But they did have the best, most spectacular opening and closing Olympic ceremony of any country, like, ever. So there's that.
  • For F*ck's Sake! A Mood-Based Planning And Buying Approach For Radio?

    Are you kidding me? Horizon Media has announced a mood-based roadmap for planning audio investments. It's a process that they claim creates recommendations based on the emotional experience brands want to create or connect with instead of the traditional demographic-based planning and buying approach.

    The new approach is based on a study conducted by London-based consultancy Sparkler in partnership with iHeartMedia. The study found audio investment should align with listeners based on emotion and evolving consumption habits. Oh really? That's supposed to be a new approach? Or is this just one of those stupid repacking thingamajig agencies can't help but slap a new coat of paint on and call their own? 

    Of the "new" approach, Horizon Media Chief of the WHY Group (yeah, that's really a title) Sheri Roder said: "We've turned the audio planning model on its head. By identifying and detailing the underlying motivations that compel people to choose different platforms and content, we were able to construct a fresh approach that transcends the existing audio landscape precisely because it is predicated on a person's desired emotional or sensory state. In the future, we will be able to make planning and buying decisions using mood and emotion as the pivot point, regardless of whatever new technologies and behaviors develop."

    Okay -- so never before have planners and buyers taken into account the emotional state and mood of a potential brand customer when buying media before? For f*ck's sake! A good radio buyer was doing this in 1985. 

    And by the way, it's radio. Not audio. Even if it's on the Internet. Just ask iHeartRadio, iHeartMedia's reason for being.
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