Just How Long Before Leo Burnett Loses Esurance?

Watch out Leo Burnett. Big things are happening over at Esurance. The direct-to-consumer insurance company, which stole many Super Bowl advertisers' thunder by giving away $1.5 million after the game, has announced that Alan Gellman has joined the company as chief marketing officer. Gellman will oversee all of Esurance's marketing and advertising efforts, including direct marketing, online and offline advertising, search, brand partnerships, communications and customer experience. Of Gellman, Esurance President and CEO Gary Tolman said: "After a very comprehensive search, I am pleased to welcome Alan to the Esurance team. His experience in regulated industries and strong focus on digital, analytics, and putting customers first will help us grow the Esurance business as we continue to drive innovation and the evolution of self-directed insurance." Like we said, watch out Leo Burnett.

Las Vegas based SK+G Advertising has named Marc Lineveldt executive creative director. He joins the agency with 24 years of experience working on brands like Coca-Cola Company, Sony, Volkswagen, BMW and Levi’s. Lineveldt is the former Executive Creative Director for Fitzgerald+CO of Atlanta, a division of Interpublic. He began his career at TBWA/South Africa where he spent ten years, the first three in Johannesburg as an Art Director and the next seven years at TBWA Hunt Lascaris Cape Town as co-executive creative director. Lineveldt has also worked at Ogilvy, Y&R and Saatchi & Saatchi. He racked up several industry awards including Cannes Lions, Clio, The One Show, The Art Directors Club of NY, The Loeries, Epica and Dubai Lynx Awards. 

Following Kristen Cavallo's appointment as president for Mullen, there appears to be a bit of housecleaning going on. There have been hints of layoffs and re-appointments coming out of the Boston office this week. There aren't many details, but there are plenty of rumors swirling about how the shop has lost its luster. Which, if true, is sad -- as the shop was once mighty.

Remember the Barbarian Group Superdesk? It really is quite awesome. But Gerry Graf wants us all to know that the offices of Barton F. Graf 9000 are just as cool. In a video, along with "spatial philosopher" Rose Sacktor, Graf touts the office's "one continuous floor and "discontinuous desks" and special poles that prevent the floor above from crashing down on employees' heads while at work creating Pizza Hut masterpieces. We think Barton F. Graf should have a party to introduce its One Continuous Floor just like Barbarian Group did to introduce its Superdesk. Gerry?

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  • Creative Hijacks Agency Hashtags On Instagram To Score An Interview

    Have your agency's Instagram hashtags been hijacked? Are you seeing a giant ad when you view images with your hashtag created by Dutch creative student Max Kurstjens? Well then he's identified you as a place he'd like to work. You see, Kurstjens, like every other creative trying to break into the business, is sick and tired of you all ignoring him and his creativity.

    So Kurstjens took it upon himself to get noticed. He created several different Instagram accounts and uploaded a collection of images that formed a large composite image that would be viewable to anyone clicking on an agency hashtag.

    Targeted agencies included Leo Burnett, AKQA, 72andSunny, Anomaly, Droga5, Ogilvy & Mather, DDB Worldwide and others. The composite image resulted in an ad which read: "We Have Your Hashtag" and directed viewers to WeHaveYourHashtag.com where Hashtags are destroyed. On the site, agencies can "reclaim" their hashtag by sending in an email with a prefilled message that invites Kurstjens into the agency for a cup of coffee. Way to score an interview!

    Check out a video of the stunt here.

  • Nissan's Fred Diaz Explains the Brand's Dad-Themed Super Bowl Campaign

    If you haven't yet noticed, Dads appear to be a major theme brands and agencies are going with for their Super Bowl ads. Toyota has launched #OneBoldChoice, Dove has launched #RealStrength and Nissan has launched #WithDad. While each approach is a bit different, the theme is decidedly all about Dad.

    Of the direction Nissan took, the brand's SVP of Sales and Marketing Fred Diaz said the direction had nothing to do with the latest NFL domestic violence situation saying, "Nothing with the NFL had any part of our decision in any way. We started concepting a year ago, and essentially we wanted somehow or another to build a brand spot that resonated and connected with America. That was the direction I gave the marketing team and the agency: Find a spot, find a story. Find something that connects us and makes us far more relevant with the American public today that shows we truly understand them."

    And of the campaign's similarities to Toyota and Dove, Diaz added, "I've seen a lot of their [Toyota's] footage that's been released and we're in such different spaces on this, other than the fact that we both are approaching the dad-fatherhood theme. It's purely coincidental. But you've got to make people laugh or cry. [Toyota's theme] won't detract or be synergistic for us. It certainly could help promote the notion, in our case, that things are better when Dad is involved."

    How nicely said.
  • Hershey's Launches Legal Attack Against Cadbury And May Part Ways With Arnold and Havas

    Hershey's, the decidedly inferior choice in chocolate, has launched a legal fight against the decidedly superior choice in Chocolate, Cadbury, claiming the British brand is infringing upon the domestic brand's turf. No one on Facebook is happy about this. Outrage, I tell you! Outrage!

    But that's not really advertising news now is it? How about Hershey's launching a crerative agency review? Yeah, that's closer to our news mandate here at Mediapsssst. So yeah, the brand that makes stuff that barely has any actual chocolate in it wants to look beyond Arnold and Havas. 

    The brand, however, isn't kicking the agencies to the curb but they are interested in fishing for new ideas. Hershey Spokeswoman Anna Lingeris said: "We are just looking to add more agencies to the mix to help diversify the work" and develop "better effectiveness and efficiencies over time." Eesh, what a say-nothing piece of CYA business babble.

    Lingeris also says the brand is looking to better integrate digital, which Havas currently handles, with traditional, which Arnold currently handles. And while the brand says it isn’t dumping the agencies, it sure sounds like they're looking for one agency to integrate what these two currently do for the brand.
  • Bannersnack Further Dumbs Down Creativity With 'Professional' Banner Making Tool

    Bannersnack, a startup that aims to make online advertising smarter, has launched Bannersnack-for-Agencies, a platform for advertising professionals. Within the service, agencies get both a professional banner maker app and a DSP for their ad campaigns. 

    Bannersnack aids creative collaboration and aims to speed up creative production. It allows creatives to quickly sketch ideas with...oh wow...professional fonts, premium stock images and in app image editor. It's also got a built in collaboration tool allowing copywriters, art directors and designers to share their ideas with colleagues and clients.

    Of the launch, Bannersnack Head of Product Raul Popa said: "We really want to make online banner advertising smarter. At first, we were amazed to see how our app enables faster banner design for small and medium businesses. After that, we learned that a large part of our user base consists of designers and advertising professionals and we decided to step up with a solution for their needs. We were inspired by how easy it is to share and work with documents in apps like Google Drive and Dropbox. We believe that time is the most limited resource for our customers and that's where Bannersnack really shines. It saves time, eliminates noise and makes online advertising easier for everyone. We really think more agencies should try it and that's why we're offering the banner maker app for free, for a limited time to advertising agencies across the world, no financial commitments."

    Well, the upside is no one likes to create banners, no one clicks on them and some programmatic computer in the backroom makes the media buy. Why not another automated tool to further strip advertising of anything remotely resembling creativity?

  • New Vertical Social Network For Marketers to Give AgencySpy Comment Section A Slap Upside the Head

    Hold the phone! I mean the mouse! Or whatever we "hold" now that no one uses the phone any longer. There's a new...wait for it...social network for marketers launching. Introducing Shocase. Basically it's a portfolio site for agencies and freelancers to show off their work. Yeah, that's never been done before.

    Oh but wait! It's a social network. There's interactivity. Interactivity, I tell you! Yes, you can get industry news, interact with fellow industry mates and...grow your network! As described to me, it's "LinkedIn + Pinterest + Facebook + YouTube rolled into one."

    Yeah, this is awesome. A specialized social network for marketers. Remember Ning? That company allowed any industry or any person create their own specialized social network. It didn't go over too well. 

    Of his baby, Shocase Founder and CEO Ron Young said: "We think the next giant shift in media is happening right now. In the same way that TV was different from print, social media is just as different from TV, and we are seeing the first emergence of vertical social networks."

    Clearly, Young has never heard of Ning -- which, while not all that successful or as robust or as focused (yes, I'm un-making my point), was doing the vertical industry social networking thing ten years ago. Of course, Lee Clow, Chuck McBride and Vince Engel are on the thing so maybe it has a chance.

    Of Shocase's goal of connecting the marketing community, Young added: "It is harder than ever to find the right marketing or PR person, so the public needs a new platform to find who has the hippest shopper marketing in the packaged goods market place or who understands PR in a particular vertical. Shocase is a real-time catalog of the marketing or PR work that people have done."

    Or people could just consult the AgencySpy comment section for the unfettered truth.
  • Agency Converts Roomba Into (Incredibly Annoying) Office Productivity Machine

    You know all these agencies that are trying to re-imagine themselves as product innovators and inventors? Yeah, those agencies. Well, apart from the fact that most of the time it just looks like they're fooling around on an elementary school playground instead of, you know, doing actual work, sometimes...all that fooling around nets something interesting.

    Note that I didn't say valuable or innovative or productive or game-changing or anything remotely having to do with advancing marketing strategy. No, this little time waster from Nashville-based "ad agency by day, invention lab by night" RedPepper is pure folly. Pure nonsense. And an utter waste of resources.

    Then again, most of the time it's this sort of agency work that's actually worth giving a look. Because, after all, this business is so incredibly intense and taxing we need a break every once in a while.

    And so I give you the Roomba-powered Slackbot Bot.This little f*cker roams around the office loudly beeping and sharing such inanities as the fact that it's Taco Tuesday or that it's time to get the dancing shoes on and shake your booty or stalking you while you're in the stall taking a sh*t or rudely talking over the agency's talking head while he's trying to pimp their next Kickstarter project. 

    Of course, the whole thing is just an ad for Slack, a productivity application the agency uses to get its real work done. You know, when they're not creating stupid Slackbot Bots.
  • Tumblr Launches Creative Agency to Link Advertisers to Artists

    Tumblr has launched Creatrs Network  because that's what the world needs. Yet another spelling-challenged online brand. With Creatrs Network, Tumblr aims to connect brands with Tumblr artists who have found a cult following online but would like to realize some actual cash for all their hard work. Basically, it's yet another form of crowdsourcing.

    Of the launch, Tumblr Head of Creative Strategy David Hayes said: “We think the creative class is really the next generation that’s going to come up and change the world and we think we have the largest creative class of any platform.”

    Brands that join the Creatrs Network can provide their creative strategy and a Tumblr team will present the brand with selections from the 300 Tumblr users who are now part of the network. 

    Like a bubbly cheerleader on Friday night, Hayes adds: “We’re super super proud of the fact that Tumblr powers the world’s best content. The idea that Tumblr will power the best advertising campaigns on Tumblr and on Facebook and on Instagram and on YouTube and on display banner campaigns and their websites, it totally makes sense to us."
  • Toronto Agency john st. Opens Shop in Montreal

    john st. has opened shop in Montreal. Of the move, Co-Founder and President Arthur Fleishmann said: “We’ve been talking about it for close to 10 years. But in the past two years, it’s become more and more of a priority for us as we look to the future and how we help our clients solve more complex strategic, creative and production problems. So we’re doing it.”

    The office will be run by Montreal native Mylene Savoie, who spent her career managing large accounts such as Intrawest, Tim Hortons and Telus in Quebec prior to opening john st. Montreal as managing director. 

    Creative will be led by Sebastien Lafaye and Cedric Audet, who have worked most recently at Bleublancrouge. Of the creative team, john st. ECD Angus Tucker said, “We love the work Sebastien and Cedric have done on accounts like Toyota and Air France as well as the Church of Montreal and the Quebec Alzheimer Society. Between them, they have won multiple Grand Prix at CREA, and their work has appeared at Cannes, the Clio’s and Marketing. Their work fits right into john st’s philosophy, blending insight, creativity and cultural relevance into ideas that make our client’s brands unignorable.” 

    Of joining the agency, Savoie said: “It’s an opportunity to work on some amazing brands. john st. has one of the best client portfolios of any agency in Canada. And while our immediate priority will be to maximize our client’s opportunities in Quebec, it’s exciting to know that our influence will also be felt on a national level.”

  • Oh the Horror! Animated GIFs Unveil Dramatic Photographic Retouching

    Of course this will not come as a surprise to any of you, but you've got to admit that the whole Dove Beauty thing (from way back in 2006, if you can believe) has placed a magnifying glass on the work the advertising industry does for marketers for whom perfection is far more important than reality.

    In a collection of animated GIFs, Russian photographer Ashot Gevorkyan illustrates the dramatic changes that occur between original photography and final published product. He has collected ads that were shot for banks, video game ads and his own personal photography.

    Hey, you won't be shocked but just realize that this sort of thing does tend to rile the feathers of the digital collective with nothing better to do than spew their hatred for just about anything all over Facebook. But for us, we can just appreciate the awesome and amazing skill that resides in this industry, right?

     

  • Agencies Continue To Decrease TV Ad Spend

    A recent report from Standard Media Index paints a grim picture of TV ad spend. 

    While the Super Bowl is upon us and plenty of brands are parting with $4.5 million to appear during the broadcast, a recent report from Standard Media Index paints a grim picture of TV ad spend. 

    TV ad spend dropped 2% year-over-year in the 4th quarter of 2014, with October and November seeing the biggest drops. National broadcast ad spend fell to $4.8 billion and cable dropped to $6.8 billion. Notably, the computer and software category saw a drop of 40% in Q4 but consumer electronics did see an increase of 24%.

    Why the drop? Well, one can only surmise that finally, yes, finally, media buyers have wizened to the fact that maybe, just maybe, there's a bit of efficiency and effectiveness to a medium -- um, the Internet --  that allows for the measurement and automated management of just about everything.
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