Agency Rebrands, Can't Explain What the Hell It Does

Let's play a game. South Carolina-based agency Chernoff Newman has rebranded and...wait for it...launched a new Web site. And now the game. Read what Chernoff Newman President and COO had to say about the branding process: “Our philosophy is grounded in finding a human connection that positively impacts the bottom line of our clients. We asked ourselves, how do we do this? The answer is our mantra: to discover, create, connect and inspire.” Now explain what the agency does. Now read what Senior VP and CD Heather Price said: “We needed a brand that would allow people the opportunity to look at us differently. A look that more accurately describes who we are and what we do, that’s forward-leaning, smart and people-oriented. A way of talking about ourselves that showcases our curiosity and creativity while maintaining a foundation of innovation and measurement.” Now explain what the agency does. Can you? Do any of these words make sense? Do they differentiate the agency from any other agency in the world? It's time to end buzzword bingo and actually come up with differentiating factors that set you apart from the competition.

There are not many ad agencies in Rochester, NY. And there aren't many run by women. There or anywhere for that matter. But Rochester-based Partners + Napier is one such agency. Launched by Sharon Napier, the agency is celebrating its tenth anniversary this week. Kudos. Commenting on the lack of women running things in advertising, Napier said: “There needs to be more women at the top in advertising. The work has to work. It has to be creative, it has to be breakthrough work. At the end of the day, it has to drive our clients’ business.” Napier founded the company through a management buyout of her previous employer, Toronto-based Wolf Group.

We can just picture Razorfish Australia Co-Founder Iain McDonald running down the high school hallway on the last day of school screaming with glee. Or at least that's the picture that formed in our head after he announced he was leaving the agency and said, “My feelings are very much like that of a teenager leaving home for the first time but with the old family right behind.” McDonald is leaving to concentrate on personal projects. He added: “With things going well for Razorfish and me having ideas I want to pursue without any strings attached, it’s the right time. It’s been carefully planned for a while and I am in no doubt that Razorfish is ready." Have fun, Iain!

Do you ever think about the amount of ink a particular typeface uses? Is it even a consideration when you develop a campaign? Grey London thinks so. Developed as an internal project, the agency took the font, which uses 33% less ink than standard typefaces, to the U.K.'s largest stationer, Ryman Stationary. The font, Ryman Eco, was developed at the same time a 14-year-old American student suggested the U.S. federal and state governments could save $370 million annually by switching from Times New Roman to Garamond. The font isn't really much to look at, but if it can save money and ink, we're all for it.

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1 comment about "Agency Rebrands, Can't Explain What the Hell It Does".
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  1. Fernando MarĂ­n from MM, April 30, 2014 at 4:56 a.m.

    A lot of agencies have to reinvent themselves because of the "new" social network situation. And it's a success. We need to be the difference beetween all brands around the world, and this is not an easy job.

    http://www.marcodecomunicacion.com/

  • 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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