Here’s the response from the company to our IPG tax item that ran in the last column:
“IPG pays income taxes all over the world. In 2013 alone, IPG paid $21 million in U.S. income tax to state and local governments. Also in 2013, we paid $91 million in income tax outside the U.S. – so we paid $112 million in income taxes just last year. And over the last five years, IPG has paid approx. $400 million in income taxes, and significantly more if you include the individual, employee and VAT taxes we also pay in the markets where we operate.
“We are an extremely responsible tax citizen of the world and our 2013 effective tax rate of 39% is higher than our peer group – Omnicom’s hovers around 34%. The fact our tax rate is higher than our peers is not necessarily a good thing, but to call us out without doing any research about our peer group is not cool… For the specific band of U.S. federal tax purposes – which is the data the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy covers – IPG has a tax loss from 2004 to 2006, which has been carried forward (U.S. tax law permits losses to be carried forward for 20 years) to offset taxes in the past number of years – hence we do not pay U.S. federal income tax.
“I don’t think that warrants a blanket comment like ‘Yup, that big ass agency holding company headed by Michael Roth. And we wonder why people perceive advertising professionals as highly as car dealers.’ Especially when our effective tax rate is 39%, and when we paid $400 million in income tax over the past five years, and significantly more if you include all the other tax buckets. The headline is flat-out wrong. You could correct it by saying ‘IPG Paid No U.S. Federal Income Tax,’ but even then, I don’t think the post is fair, based on the above.”
Points well taken for the most part, although we tend to be somewhat snarky and that won’t stop. But now you have the facts on IPG’s tax-paying status straight from the horse’s mouth so to speak.
In an effort to celebrate the often time stellar work agencies do for non-profits and other causes,
ACT Responsible, in partnership with the Gunn Report, is launching The Good Report, an annual collection and celebration of innovative
cause-related campaigns. The Good Report honors the Top 30 Campaigns for Good, the Top 20 Agencies, the Top 10 Networks and the Top 5 advertisers.
You've probably heard the "agencies must change or die" mantra before. It rears its head about every three years or so. Its latest incarnation involves the gyrations and machinations holding companies must go through to streamline the cobbling together of disparate services into one cohesive offering that can serve the wildly varying needs of today's brands. Mixpo CEO Jeff Lanctot, an agency veteran thinks he has some direction and has shared his ideas is a Wall Street Journal piece. His four points cover the need for agencies to master un-siloed mult-screen, multi-channel planning, to offer managed services through partnership with software companies rather than competing with them, to eliminate the games played when it comes to the buying and reselling of media and, unsurprisingly, a collection of expertise that's relevant to the ever changing needs of today's brands.
Bonfire Labs, a growing content marketing agency, has made three new hires. The agency has brought in former Google Brand Studio executive producer and Goodby, Silverstein & Partners producer Tim Pries as executive producer. Also joining the agency as producer is John Hunt, former live action producer on Discovery Channels' MythBusters and Judy Leung, formerly with Hyphen magazine, will join as designer. Of the hires, Bonfire Labs Managing Director Jim Bartel said, “We are pleased to add these uniquely talented individuals to the roster of talent already at Bonfire Labs. Each of them will make a valuable contribution as we continue to leverage our unique position in the industry.”
In an ingenious, holiday-themed effort designed to call attention to the importance of the Oxford comma in certain situations, San Francisco-based MUH-TAY-ZIK | HOF-FER has launched a browser bookmark-let that will automagically add missing Oxford commas.
A video accompanies the effort with clear examples as to why you really should employ the Oxford comma at times. The video says "Missing Oxford commas ruins Christmas." It then cites some unintended results such as "I was shopping for your Christmas presents, toilet paper and prunes," "We went caroling with our dogs, grandma and grandpa" and "Merry Christmas from your parents, Santa and Rudolph." Images accompany the statements to illustrate just how wrong those sentences are without the Oxford comma.So if you're ever confused as to whether or not the Oxford comma is necessary, you can recall the awkward examples given in the video.
Like the holidays? Like games? Then Deep Focus has something you might like. The agency has developed an old school interactive game called #DeepSnow. The agency developed it from scratch using Google Maps, HTML5, WebSockets, SASS, OpenLayers, and custom animations.
The aim of the game is to steer a snow plow through the streets of New York City and rescue Deep Focus employees and toys spilt by Santa from the grasps of a winter snowpocalypse. In tandem with the web experience, players use their mobile device as a game controller. Data from the phone’s gyroscope is used to power the steering wheel for the snowplow as it maneuvers around angry Yetis and actual NYC landmarks on the computer screen.
And, of course, there's a charity element to the game. Because, after all, agencies need to somehow make up for their self-centered, egotistical outlook on life they vamp the rest of the year. Virtual points earned during game play will be turned into physical toys donated to Toy For Tots.
Oh the agency holiday card. Yawn. Oh wait, not yawn! Some agencies actually put some thought into the mundane annual event. One such agency is Digitas Health LifeBrands which has come up with something a little more meaningful. The agency has launched HUG, a social media campaign which aims to generate awareness of charities and provide a monetary donation from the agency to charities which are nominated by employees.
In its fifth year, the program involves employees from the New York, Philadelphia, London, and San Francisco offices who have nominated 24 charities to compete to win money. Each week visitors to the Group HUG Facebook page will vote for their favorite charity by “liking” and “sharing” the logos from the charities. At the end of the campaign, which runs through the end of December, there will be four winning charities.Check out the Group HUG video trailer here and be sure to visit the Group HUG Facebook page to vote for your favorite charity. After all, what better way to celebrate the season of giving than with a nice big Group HUG?
What if you had to pitch Christmas to a focus group? As we all know, focus groups are a disastrous means of coming to consensus on anything. And that's pretty much what happens in this video created by Ogilvy & Mather Paris.
After explaining some of the elements of Christmas such as a fat old man with a big beard, a little girl asks, "Why do I have to sit on his lap?" Just let that one sink in for a minute. Ick. Another woman offers up, "You know who else sneaks into your house through the chimney? Rapists." Ouch! This isn't going well.
The confusion continues with focus group members wondering why Christmas is proposed to be in December instead of the much warmer August. And why the fat guy gets all the credit when he doesn't even buy all the gifts. One panelist even claimed proposed Christmas carols make him feel horny. No, not going well at all. And let's not even get into New Year's Eve.
Copywriting legend Dick Rich passed away from a heart attack on November 1. He was 84. His daughter, Karen Rich, made his death known last week. Rich, along with Mary Wells and Rich
Greene, was one of the founders of the storied Wells Rich Green ad agency and creator of classic 60's work for Alka-Seltzer and Benson & Hedges.
He was known for his confident approach to his work telling The New York Times in 1983: “Clients don’t come to me for O.K. advertising. They come to me for great, great advertising.”
A real man’s man who will be missed.
Last month, we reported Canadian Agency, Cossette, was in talks with Chinese agency, BlueFocus Communications Group, to be acquired. That deal has been sealed for $210 million.
The sale involved the acquisition of a majority stake in Cossette's parent company, Quebec City-based Vision7 International, whose assets also include PR firm Citizen Relations. Of the acquisition, BlueFocus CEO Oscar Zhao said, “Having Vision7 join the BlueFocus family will help us gain better access to the North American market and emphasizes our ‘To Be Global’ strategy."
In its apparent quest for global domination BlueFocus last year acquired London-based social agency We Are Social as well as a 20 percent stake in PR firm Huntsworth.