Continuing its poaching of ad agency execs, Apple, which aims to build its in-house marketing department from 300 to as many as 600 staffers, has hired Wolff Olins Global CEO Karl Heiselman.
Heiselman, who once worked for Apple in the early 1990s when Steve Jobs returned, has been with Wolff Olins for 14 years. Of his earlier time at Apple, Heiselman said: "It was a bit of a weird time, they were trying to find their way. The big lesson I
learned was they were trying to be somebody they weren't and Jobs came back and said very clearly, 'we are going to go back to who we really are'." As Apple faces increased competition, most notably
from Samsung, Heiselman will have big strides to make. But he's aware of the problem and believes the brand is sometimes "a little too cool for its own good. I think it might be in danger of becoming
too cool, maybe not too cool, but too slick." Here's hoping he can save things.
Programmatic buying. You know, that practice where computers talk to computers to place ads on other computers all without human intervention? Okay -- we simplify, but it's drastically changed how things work in the agency space. Some agencies are partnering with technology providers. Others are just freaking out. Mediamath Chief Revenue Officer Erich Wasserman says no one needs to freak out and that advertisers, agencies are ad tech providers can peacefully coexist. He tells the Drum: "Unsurprisingly, this trend has caused some in the agency space to feel unsettled. Media scaremongering positions ad tech companies as attempting to disintermediate agencies, which -- from our perspective -- is absolutely not the case. To the contrary, some of the most successful relationships within our global business rely on the brand and agency relationship thriving -- leveraging insights, availing themselves of deep ecosystem integrations, and growing and optimizing spend based on the outputs of a strong platform." Okay -- maybe that's just more buzzword bingo, but we're all for a mutually beneficial threesome.
Jumping aboard the production agency trend, Omnicom Group has announced the merging of E-Graphics Worldwide and Hub Plus to form eg+ Worldwide, an entity that will "provide a client-focused network for production and tailored implementation solutions." The new company aims to help global brands "implement, amplify and localize" creative programs across multiple media channels. Of eg+ worldwide's launch, Omnicom President and CEO John Wren said: "With the launch of eg+, we are leveraging the very best technologies, talent and the extensive resources within Omnicom to help our clients meet the challenges of an increasingly diverse, complex, and global media landscape." eg+ worldwide will have 1,200 staffers who will be overseen by CEO Paul Hosea.
You've got to love how agencies explain away layoffs, fires and mass exits. Following the exit of several employees, here's what Tribal DDB had to say. “In the normal course of business, people are presented with opportunities to take on different, new, and challenging opportunities. As sad as we are to see some of our colleagues leave Tribal to pursue these new opportunities, we’re happy that other companies recognize their talent and the value of the experience they have gained at Tribal. We also wish them well and look forward to welcoming new colleagues in their stead.” Whatever happened to the simple "creative differences?"
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.