That Publicis Omnicom Merger? Still Not Looking Good

There is mounting belief that the merger between Publicis Group and Omnicom will never happen. The latest comes from analysts who have lost whatever warmth they may ever have had for the deal. Pivotal Research Group Analyst Brian Wieser said: "There is evidently a realistic chance that the merger with Publicis will not be completed, whether due to external factors or management preferences." And Albert Fried Analyst Rich Tullo places the odds of the deal coming to fruition at 40%, a drop from his original 66%. While challenges mount including a fight over who will become CFO, the deal contains a $500 million termination fee that must be paid by the party that backs out first. So there's plenty of incentive still in place to make the deal work.

The phrase "stop trying to make Fetch happen" comes to mind when hearing about all the companies and marketers out there that can't wait to jump on the drone bandwagon with their offerings. Ever since Amazon dropped the ridiculous Amazon Prime Air on us, marketers and agencies have been in overdrive toying with their pet drone projects. But the FAA is having none of it. When Minneapolis agency Pocket Hercules pulled a stunt for its client Lakemaid beer, it received a warning from the FAA. Of the warning, CCO Jack Supple said: “They warn you and inform you of the regulations. The next level is a stiffer warning. Then they can fine you. Then they can actually blacklist you, or so I’ve heard. If you push it too far, you will not be licensed when it comes time to be licensed.” Pocket Hercules is just one of many agencies and marketers playing in the space. Supple adds, “Drones have already done quite a bit to the creative landscape with the photography being shot from them. That’s being done now, but they’re just being quiet about it because the photographers don’t want to be issued a $10,000 fine. The FAA is probably justified in trying to make sure that every Tom, Dick or Harry can’t be running commercial drones over the heads of the citizenry.” Yup. Still doing it. Just not talking about it.

Do you want your voice heard regarding the fact that just 3% of creative directors are women? Do you want to hear what those who are addressing the situation have to say? As an extension of the 3Percent Conference that was held last fall in San Francisco, the organization has launched a series of smaller, road show events. There's one this week in New York hosted by Ogilvy & Mather. Beginning at 6 p.m. Thursday (May 8) with cocktails, of course, a panel moderated by MediaPost Editor-at-Large Barbara Lippert will include 3Percent Conference Founder Kat Gordon, Deutsch NY CCO Kerry Keenan, Ogilvy & Mather NY ECD Corinna Falusi, BBDO NY CCO Greg Hahn and BBH NY CCO John Patroulis. Check it out here.

And here's a fun one. Ryan McLeod, Grant MacLennan and David Park from Glasgow, Scotland agency Equator are out with Critique That Shit, a site on which you can enter a URL and have a deadpan, Siri-like voice spit out canned Web site critiques like, "I 100% appreciate your design efforts" and "Like Jesus on the cross, you nailed it Boss." Check it out if you want a laugh but don't expect any true insight. Oh wait -- are the real-life critiques you receive ever insightful? Maybe these will be better.

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  • Allen & Gerritsen Changes Name And Website to 'Action & Goodness' For #GivingTuesday

    Boston-based Allen & Gerritsen is joining the #Giving Tuesday effort by completely changing its website to Action & Goodness and has chosen to highlight some of its favorite charities including Pine Street Inn, Northeast Animal Shelter, Horizons for Homeless Children and Ready, Willing & Able.  

    Of the effort, Allen & Gerritsen CEO Andy Graf wrote, "As you know, action has always been a part of our DNA here at A&G, and that's why this year we wanted to use our powers for good and do something life changing for individuals in our community. So starting today, in concert with Giving Tuesday, "A&G" will stand for "action & goodness." What does that mean exactly? Well for starters, our current website will go dark and will instead be dedicated to the personal and emotional stories of four of our favorite charities that are helping fight homelessness in Boston and Philadelphia." 

    The agency will also dedicate its social media channels to the cause and instead of posting job listings and their latest work, the agency will ask followers to donate to the chosen charities. The effort will be tied together with the hashtag #ActionandGoodness. The agency will also be asking its clients to match donations made through the month of December.

  • Here Are the Best 20 Ads of the 21st Century...So Far

    There isn't anything everyone in the ad business loves more than awards and Top X Ads From X lists, right? Well here's another list for you to check out from our friends at The Gunn Report, that eponymous purveyor of creative excellence in advertising. 

    TGR has compiled a list of the 20 Best Commercials of the 21st Century...So Far. That's right. It's only 15 years into this century's 100 years of advertising. In fact, it's not the first list of this kind. There's more out there if you look. 

    In any event, the list was compiled by querying "thousands of voters from all around the world" to arrive at the list of 20. Without further ado, here's the list: 

    BGH Silent Aircon, "Dads in Briefs", Del Campo Saatchi & Saatchi, Buenos Aires

    Budweiser, "Wassup/True", DDB, Chicago

    Cadbury's Dairy Milk, "Gorilla", Fallon, London

    Canal+, "Closet", BETC Euro RSCG, Paris

    Canal+, "The Bear", BETC Euro RSCG, Paris

    Chipotle, "Back to the Start", Creative Artists Agency, Los Angeles

    Dove Self Esteem Fund, "Evolution", Ogilvy & Mather, Toronto

    Guinness, "noitulove", Abbott, Mead, Vickers, BBDO, London

    Happy Dent Teeth Whitening Gum, "Happy Dent Palace", McCann Erickson, Mumbai

    Honda, "Cog", Wieden & Kennedy, London

    Honda, "Grrr", Wieden & Kennedy, London

    John West Salmon, "Bear", Leo Burnett, London

    Metro Trains, "Dumb Ways to Die", McCann, Melbourne

    Nike, "Tag", Wieden & Kennedy, Portland

    Nike, "Write The Future", Wieden & Kennedy, Amsterdam

    Old Spice, "The Man Your Man Could Smell Like", Wieden & Kennedy, Portland

    Peugeot 206, "The Sculptor", Euro RSCG MCM, Milan

    Sony Bravia LCD TV, "Balls" Fallon, London

    Volkswagen Golf DSG, "Kids On Steps", DDB, Berlin

    Volvo Trucks, "Epic Split", Forsman & Bodenfors, Gothenburg

    Certainly an admirable list. All the usual suspects are there. You can check out the full list from a link on the right side of The Gunn Report homepage because, apparently, The Gunn Report hasn't figured out how to provide direct links to things.

    Commenting on the list, The Gunn Report Founder Donald Gunn said, "We're delighted that the participation was high, the result of which is a reel selected by our industry of iconic, game-changing and much loved commercials produced during the last 15 years. Not only do these commercials stand the test of time, but they have also influenced changes in brand communications. As such, we hope that they will bring inspiration and learning taking our industry to new creative heights.”

    What will the next 85 years bring?

  • LatinWorks Promotes Two Execs to Leadership Roles

    LatinWorks has appointed 12-year veteran Christy Kranik to the role of executive vice president and general manager. In addition, Gabriel Garcia -- who joined the agency in 2008 when LatinWorks acquired his shop, Cultura -- has been appointed executive creative director. 

    Of the appointment of Kranik, who was recently named to Ad Age's Women to Watch list, LatinWorks CEO and Co-Founder Manny Flores said: "No one has played a more important role in the development of our culture and the growth of our business than Christy. Her managerial qualities and relentless client focus will serve us well as we continue the process of strengthening our agency's offering." 

    Of Garcia's appointment, LatinWorks CMO and Co-Founder Alejandro Ruelas said: "Gabriel is an exceptionally talented creative leader. His people and client skills are only rivaled by his creative qualities. Under his leadership we are confident that our creative product will evolve to be more progressive and consistently effective with the demands of our marketplace."

    LatinWorks is the largest Hispanic agency in the country, according to a 2014 report in Advertising Age. 

  • Programmatic Trading Firm Head Blames Millennials For Destroying Online Ad Model

    Speaking at the Malaysian Media Conference in Kuala Lampur last week, Michael de Rijk, Asia Pacific CEO of programmatic trading firm Xaxis, said: “Millennials think news is free and ads are annoying. They need to understand that journalists need to get paid." 

    In addition to the usual rhetoric about the need for the ad industry to amp up its efforts in making advertising more relevant and less intrusive, he noted that the media is missing an important element of the ad-blocking story -- that no one is explaining that online content, despite popular opinion is not free.  

    Rijk said, "No one is writing that -- no journalist is covering that." He added that while Yahoo made a recent decision to block Yahoo Mail users who have installed an ad blocker, "someone needs to maintain the servers." 

    Of course, blame for all of this goes back more than 20 years when early players in the Internet space rallied behind the "information should be free" cry which, of course, then became the de facto standard of doing business online. In most cases, no one, except advertisers, pays for anything online. That's been the norm for two decades; the quid pro quo agreement between consumer and producers of online content. 

    But ad blockers have tossed a monkey wrench into the mix and all hell is breaking loose. Tactics like native advertising and content marketing are working hard to make up for the loss, but for the most part those tactics are just stop gaps.  

    And so it really is a simple math problem. If there isn't any money to pay the people who create content or buy and maintain the servers that host that content, there will not be any content. No one's really coming at the story from that angle. And those who have lived almost their entire lives consuming content for free might need a good slap upside the head. In fact, everyone could use that slap. Because there are only two choices: ad-supported content or subscription-based content. And we all know most will take free if they can get it. 


  • Australia Tackles Agency Transparency With New Guidelines

    In Australia -- because for the last four days everyone in America has been in a turkey coma and not doing anything newsworthy, at least in the advertising space -- the Media Federation of Australia, in partnership with the Australian Association of National Advertisers, has unveiled its Australia Transparency Framework. 

    The Framework is a set of guidelines to help the industry tackle ongoing fraud and transparency issues in advertising, particularly in programmatic. An email to MFA members read: “One of the challenges our industry has faced this year, both globally and locally, is in the area of a perceived lack of transparency by media agencies in relation to value extraction and the resulting impact this has had on our industry’s reputation. The MFA Board, working with PwC, set out early in the year to better understand the issue and determine how the MFA can play a positive role on an area that sits squarely within the bounds of agency/client commercial in confidence dealings.” 

    The Framework addresses and sets guidelines for media agency rebates, commissions, agency trading desks, ethics and proper steps for disclosure. 

    Of the direction the MFA took, the email continued: “A number of different avenues have been explored, including compulsory and opt-in compliance processes and member codes. However, following extensive consultation, we believe advertisers' own compliance processes and sound agency/advertiser contracts are of much greater importance. As a result, the MFA Transparency Framework has been developed in conjunction with the AANA, to set expectations for agencies and advertisers in the key areas of advertisers' concern.”

  • DDB Chicago Celebrated Thanksgiving By Tossing Cranberry Sauce In Employees' Faces

    Last Wednesday as the entire ad industry and all of America was preparing for four days of turkey-infused rest, relaxation and football watching, DDB Chicago posted a cute Instagram video. 

    In the video, which is shot in slow motion, several DDB Chicago employees help demonstrate the importance of canned cranberry. 

    It's just a bit funnier than your standard agency holiday greeting. You can watch the video here.

  • Havas Health Launches Giving Campaign In Remembrance of Employee Lost In Paris Massacre

    In remembrance of Havas Health Art Director Christophe Foultier who lost his life in the Paris attack November 13, the agency has launched a giving campaign in concert with #GivingTuesday that will benefit Foultier's family, his wife and two children. To date, the campaign has raised $3,816. 

    #GivingTuesday, which occurs the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, marks the traditional beginning of the holiday giving season and is designed to bring people together in the spirit of giving. In 2014, 30,000 partners around the world participated. 

    Foultier, 39, lived in the western suburb of Paris, Courbevoie and was among the 130 people killed by four men with assault rifles during the massacre at Bataclan concert hall. In addition to his career in advertising, Foultier was also a musician who played bass guitar for more than 20 years, most recently with a newly formed band called Nite Nite. Along with his best friend, Randy Fagnaud, the pair were about to complete the band's first album. 

    In an open letter to the advertising community, Havas Global CEO Donna Murphy wrote, "We stand together in support of France and our Havas Health agency in Paris in mourning Christophe Foultier, a dear member of our team who lost his life in the massacre at the Bataclan last Friday. And now we can stand together to reach out to Christophe’s wife and children and help ensure that their future is financially secure." 

    Havas agencies, along with the entire global advertising community, can participate in the #GivingTuesday initiative now through Tuesday, December 1 by heading to a website the agency created in honor of Foultier, ( On the site -- and on the donation sites the site leads to -- anyone can share memories they may have had with Christophe and make donations in support of Fortier's family.

  • Mother New York Founder Launches Retail Store

    After having founded and worked at Mother New York since 2003, Andrew Deitchman -- who left the agency in September -- has decided it is time for something different. Deitchman has launched The New Stand, a 150-square-foot shop located in the Union Square subway station in New York.

    The New Stand will sell everything from art supplies to bags to cosmetics to snacks on a rotating basis that will see new and different items populate the store on a weekly or even daily basis. Items will sell for 20 to 50% less than elsewhere because of partnerships that Deitchman has set up with brands and media companies. Some items will even be free.

    Of the setup, Co-Founder and COO Lex Kendall said: "The idea is to give people everyday conveniences by being a launch pad for brands to push product." In addition to sharing revenue on sales of items with ongoing fees, the store will have a free app that will be populated by ad-supported content from various media companies including Time as well as products from eBay.


  • In Shocking About-Face From Shiny New Object Syndrome, Agencies Shy Away From Snapchat

    In an about face that, unbelievably, has everything to do with common sense and nothing whatsoever to do with the usual agency-stye thinking when it comes to the latest and greatest social media toy, ad agencies are shying away from Snapchat.

    Ever since Snapchat launched its ad program and priced it at approximately $500,000 per ad, agencies have been skittish about making a commitment to the social network. Along with the high price tag, there has been concern over the ability of Snapchat to provide useful metrics for campaigns. That skittishness became more prevalent when Fidelity recently slashed the valuation of its stake in Snapchat by 25%.

    Even with upwards of 100 million unique visits per day, agencies and the brands they represent have said they need more concrete information about who uses the service and the ability to better measure campaign success.

    Of the concern over Snapchat's measurement and targeting capabilities, RAIN COO Nick Godfrey told Reuters: "If Snapchat doesn't get that figured out, they're in trouble."

    Sydney Williams, manager of social media marketing for General Electric, which just signed a deal with Snapchat for its second campaign, said: "I'm looking forward to Snapchat coming out with a little more in-depth analytics." 

    Early this year, Toyota ran a campaign with Snapchat but isn't sure it will continue citing (according to a representative who wished to remain anonymous) the networks inability to provide better targeting capabilities.  

    However, even though a recent Coke campaign on Snapchat saw 75% of users skip the ad after three seconds, Coca-Cola North America Senior VP of Content Emmanuel Seuge said: "Snapchat has earned a seat at the table in terms of the options that we look at for consumer engagement. 

    While the company has raised $1.2 billion from investors and is said to be valued at $16 billion, it lost $128 million in the first 11 months of 2014 according to a leaked financial statement and, during the same time period, had $3.1 million in revenue. Snapchat did not launch its advertising program until October of 2014. Re/code estimates Snapchat could hit $50 million in revenue by the end of 2015.

  • Saatchi & Saatchi Earns Perfect Score In LGBT Workplace Equality Study

    Saatchi & Saatchi LA, Saatchi & Saatchi New York and Team One received perfect scores of 100 percent on the 2016 Corporate Equality Index, a national benchmarking survey and report on corporate policies and practices related to LGBT workplace equality which is conducted by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. The three agencies join the ranks of 407 major U.S. businesses that also earned top marks this year. 

    Of the perfect score, Saatchi & Saatchi Executive Director of Talent Kirk Guthrie said: “We are honored to be added to the HRC Equality Index and proud to serve as yet another face of equality in the workplace. Diversity, Inclusion, and a genuine belief in equality are core to who we are and a valuable part of what drives great creative work for our clients.”   

    The 2016 study rated 1,027 businesses in the report, which evaluates LGBT-related policies and practices including non-discrimination workplace protections, domestic partner benefits, transgender-inclusive health care benefits, competency programs, and public engagement with the LGBT community. Saatchi & Saatchi’s score in the study earned the agency the designation as a Best Place to Work for LGBT Equality. 

    Other agencies/marketing firms obtaining a perfect sore were DigitasLBi, Interpublic, Leo Burnett, MSLGROUP, Ogilvy, Razorfish, Re-Sources, Starcom and ZenithOptimedia.

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