IPG Has Paid Income Taxes The Past Five Years

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.”

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  • Brooklyn Artist Sues Starbucks For Allegedly Copying Her Work

    Brooklyn artist Maya Hayuk spoke with Starbucks agency 72andSunny over the course of eight days regarding her artwork and how it might be incorporated into promotional work for the new Starbucks Mini Frappuccino. But after the eight days, she told the agency she was too busy to create new work and the talks ended.

    Upon launch of the Mini Frappuccino, Hayuk felt the rainbow-style artwork was a bit too similar to work of her own and she filed a $750,000 copyright infringement lawsuit against Starbucks saying the finished product was "strikingly similar" to her work. 

    The lawsuit states: "Starbucks brazenly created artwork that is substantially similar to one or more of Hayuk’s copyrighted works.” Hayuk's lawyer added: “When things like this happen, it cheapens the value of the art -- it’s really true. And her only source of income is her art.”

    For its part, a Starbucks spokesperson said: “We are aware a complaint has been filed, and we are investigating the allegations.”

  • New Agency Theme Song Generator Totally Not As Exciting As 'AdWeek' Editor's Picture of Couple Having Sex on Red Carpet at Cannes Lions

    This is most assuredly not as exciting as AdWeek Editor David Griner's picture of a couple having sex on the red carpet at Cannes Lions a day ago  but, hey, we can't all be in the perfect place at the perfect time. Anyway, nice work, David. 

    Okay. Back to the mundane world of stupid things agencies do when, apparently, they have no client work to keep them busy. Digital product design agency O3 World Labs has developed an app that plays a person's favorite song (anthem?) when they walk into work. 

    The mobile phone app pairs with an iBeacon, which is paired with a Raspberry Pi (a mini computer) attached to a sound system. When the app senses a person in the office, a digital chain of events occurs and the individual's theme song is played for all in the office to hear. 

    The agency says the thingamajig will "make those first few minutes in the office just a bit more pleasant." I say, after the first play or so, co-workers will probably be gouging their eyes out wishing the stupid thing was never cobbled together. 

    Check out the project video here .
  • This Map Re-Draws the World According to Cannes Lions Wins

    Global agency We Are Social has created the Cannesogram, an interactive cartogram that reveals how countries have performed over the last ten years at Cannes Lions.

    The countries are displayed with a combination of color and size that changes according to how successful they have been at winning Lions. Users can drill down into many of the categories using a timeline to find out which countries were most successful in specific years.

    Hovering the cursor over a specific country brings up its record of Cannes Lions wins in the selected year and category -- Grand Prix, Gold, Silver and Bronze.

    Of the map, James Nester, creative director at We Are Social and a Cannes Lions Cyber judge for 2015, said: “There’s always a lot of debate about which countries do best. So we thought we’d use data to show the world according to Lions wins. It’s fascinating to see how fast the creative landscape has changed. And it’s revealing to see that different countries consistently own different categories.”

    We Are Social’s interactive cartogram is based on data from Cannes Lions: International Festival of Creativity, between 2005 and 2014. Among the interesting patterns revealed are:

    - Cyber is consistently dominated by the U.S., Europe and Japan.
    - Film is still a category the UK rules, alongside the U.S.
    - Outdoor is ruled by Brazil, with Europe also performing consistently.
    - The UK and Europe have been doing well in the relatively new category of PR.
    - Brazil rules in terms of press.
    - South Africa is the king of radio.
  • Design Studio Offers Coloring Book Filled With Cannes Jury Heads And Invites Delegates to Get Creative

    In conjunction with their presence at Cannes this year New York-based design and animation company the STUDIO has created the Cannes Coloring Book along with the accompanying Twitter hashtag #ColorCannes.

    If you're in Cannes and you visit STUDIO's booth at Little Black Book & Friends Beach between the Carlton and the Martinez, you can get a free coloring book and pencils featuring all of the Jury Heads including BBDO’s David Lubars, Grey’s Tor Myhren, Matt Eastwood of JWT and more.

    The coloring book is also on Facebook. Anyone who feels creative can upload their masterpieces to Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #ColorCannes.
  • 'Cannes You Please Shut Up': Tumblr Gleefully Pokes Fun At Stupid Agency Tweets

    It's Wednesday. It's Cannes Lions week, It's awesome, right? Mostly, yes -- but certain aspects of the festival are just, well, annoying. Which parts? The parts where ad agencies, brands and other parties attempt to be witty and intelligent with their social media activity. Sadly, and annoyingly, this fails most of the time.

    A new Tumblr post entitled "Cannes You Please Shut Up?" has taken on the task of collecting the most inane, most insipid and most annoying posts and posting them for posterity's sake.

    Posts include poking fun at Interpublic CEO Michael Roth enjoying an #unskippable moment on a yacht, Havas Group posting images of super-smug people accompanied by stupid  #HumansofCannes quotes, something about Martin Sorrell eating his own children and super insipid comments like Ogilvy & Mather tweeting: "If we don't push our creativity, then we can't evolve."
  • 'Cannes We Meet' App Offers Cannes Lions Delegates Tinder-Like Hookups

    It seems the "hook up" is the predominant theme at Cannes Lions this week. Just like Barbarian Group's Dumb Phones, Virool's "Cannes We Meet" helps delegates connect with other delegates.

    Cannes We Meet is a web app that works just like Tinder. After you visit the site and log in using LinkedIn, you can swipe right to meet or left not to meet in a manner very similar to the Tinder dating app. 

    Of the app, Virool CEO Alex Debelov said, "We know that clients meet agencies, agencies win business, startups win funding and products find buyers. Now we're helping bridge that gap and propel our industry forward."

    Nice effort though I'd venture to say that I'm not all that far off base when I suggest rose-fueled delegates are thinking about propelling forward something entirely different than the industry while boozing it up in Cannes.

  • Barbarian Group Unleashes Tinder-Like Action At Cannes With 80 Dumb Phones

    As a fun little experiment during Cannes Lions -- because, after all, sitting on a yacht drinking rose all day long gets pretty boring -- Barbarian Group has handed out 80 old and bricked phones, each programmed with only five numbers. 

    Each of the 80 people can call or receive calls from 5 of the other 80 people to have a random chat, meet in person or, well, you can use your imagination.

    Advertising Age's Alexandra Bruell is testing one out and has had calls with an anonymous fellow with a British accent, a Vox Media person inviting her to a party, a French person who spoke no English and Nick Parish from Contagious.
  • Mullen Lowe to Donate Value of Every Cannes Lions Win To Charity

    Mullen Lowe has launched a program this week that will see the value of any and all Lions it wins during Cannes Lions donated to hunger and earthquake relief efforts in Nepal.

    The program, Can Your Lions, encourages other Cannes Lions-winning agencies to join the cause by declaring their intention on the site or by supporting the effort publicly using the hashtag #canyourlions.

    According to the Can Your Lions site, it costs fifty cents to feed a person in Nepal for an entire day. Based on that number, a Grand Prix -- worth $2,906 -- would feed a person for 5,812 days and a Gold, Silver or Bronze -- each worth $1,280 -- would feed a person for 2,560 days. 

    Currently, it appears that calls for industry participation have so far gone unanswered. Mullen Lowe Group is the only pledging partner listed on the site. Come on, agencies! After all the obscene cash you spent to get to Cannes this week, donating the value of your Cannes Lions wins is just a drop in the bucket. 

    Of the effort, Mullen Lowe Global CEO Alex Leikikh said, “We’re excited to be in Cannes celebrating the best of global creativity, and we’re hopeful that the global creative community will join us in sharing our good fortune in support of this important humanitarian initiative."

    Step up, people!
  • 180LA Recruits Cannes Lions Judges With 'Most Direct Recruitment Ad Ever'

    Leading up to and during Cannes Lions, a handful of the world's best and most respected creatives convene on jury panels in Cannes, France to judge the world's creative. These judges are the cream of the crop. Any agency would love to have them work for their shop --  but how does an agency reach out to all these amazing creatives all at once? Easy. Turn your Cannes Lion entry case study video into a recruitment ad.

    180LA did exactly that by submitting a case study video of an entry into four Lions competitions; Film, Press, Direct and Radio. So as jury members were in the midst of reviewing hundreds of entries, they were also delivered a sneaky recruitment video. Quite brilliant actually, and from the tweets some of the judges sent, the stunt seems to have gone over quite well.

    Y&R/Bravo Miami VP Creative Director wrote: "Hey @180LA thanks for the offer in the middle of the judging process. Lol. I'll call Monday." Proximity Creative Director Eva Santos wrote, "A case study just called me by name and offered me a job. Great idea @180LA #canneslions "lionsjudging."

    Delivered with the drollest of droll voice overs, jury members, if not interested in the offer, are asked to "pass this idea to the shortlist and help change the life of another CD."

    Check out the video here.

  • Union Creative's 'Cannescellation' Is The Perfect Gift For Everyone Not In Cannes This Week

    This week, of course, is Cannes Lions week -- that annual Festival of Creativity thingy to which the entire advertising industry heads each year to consume massive quantities of rose, bask in the sun, mingle at the Gutter Bar and oh yeah -- hopefully take home a few Lions.

    Alas, not everyone can make the trek to Cannes and for those who don't, witnessing all the fun everyone else in the ad world is having is, well, excruciatingly painful -- yielding a major case of FOMO. So what's an unlucky soul to do when the biggest event in advertising is occurring without them? Ignore it all, of course.

    Well, thanks to Union Creative, that's now entirely possible. The agency has created a Chrome plugin called Cannescellation  which will eliminate the deluge of Cannes Lions-related tweets flowing from the South of France -- which, in the case of a non-attendee, accomplish nothing but to make the blood boil with raging jealousy.

    Now, if only there were similar solutions for Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Vine, Periscope, Meerkat and Pinterest. But hey, at least it's a start.
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