Agency To Brands: We'll Do The Reviewing Around Here!

That agency with the funny name, Wexley School for Girls, has had it with RFPs and they aren't going to take it anymore. In an effort to reduce agency review shenanigans, the agency is turning the tables and is out with the first-ever Reverse Request for Information. It aims to eradicate the agency review process of the complex and costly rigamarole of vetting, chemistry checks and basically pitting agencies against one another to compete for an account. The intro to the RRFI reads: “We believe it’s as important for the agency to choose its next clients as carefully and rigorously as a client chooses its next agency.”

Explaining why the RRFI exists, the agency writes. "We think it is a perfect way of finding an agency that has the exact same values and needs as you do. When you do an RFP you get responses that are basically good guesses, instead of deep knowledge that leads directly to true insight. All of that time could be used to actually work on a real problem. All of the energy all of those agencies expend could be used on real work for you. We are looking for a client that is respectful, fun to be around and one that enjoys partnering with their agency not dictating to them. Period. We see ourselves as an asset not a vendor. And we see clients as partners not clients."

If you watch "Game of Thrones," you'll love this promotional effort from Sanders Consulting Group which is out with a survey designed to determine which Game of Thrones House your agency is most like. Through a series of survey questions that relate to the HBO series, your agency is properly aligned with the right Game of Thrones House. In doing so, your agency is given some interesting insight into who you really are. Give it a try here.

Austin-based Tent is celebrating its first year working in what it calls the post-AOR era. The agency has eschewed retainer-based work for fixed fee-based work and they're out with a video that shares their belief that because 70% of agencies are owned by three holding companies, they all operate the same way, because they share the same talent pool and because they all compete for the same clients, the net result is mass production-style crap that has no appreciation for talent or innovation. While all of this is true and admirably expressed, it's most certainly an uphill battle when, in fact, the net result of the holding company consolidation movement has sucked the blood out of any remaining talent ad innovation that might ever have existed. That said, we wish Tent well in their admirable effort to improve the agency business.

Remember when Diet Coke came out with that "You're On" campaign and everyone jumped all over the brand and the agency, Droga5, for making drug references? Well, it seems all those complaints had an effect -- and this week the brand is out with a "You're On"-less campaign that is more traditional in nature. And it was not created by Droga5. But the brand assures us that everything is still peachy between Diet Coke and the agency. For the time being.

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  • Geary LSF Highlights Omni-Channel Approach to Marketing With New Web site

    Well, it's almost the New Year -- and so that means it's time for a new Web site, right? Seems that's what Geary LSF has been thinking. The agency just launched a new one. But wait, before you yawn and fall asleep over this non-news of yet another ad agency launching yet another new Web site, read on.

    For its site relaunch, the agency has chosen to focus on something very interesting. And something most agencies haven't yet chosen to focus on. So what's this new, new thing? Omni-channel marketing, that's what. Some of you are like, "Wait, what? What's omni-channel marketing?"

    Put simply, omni-channel marketing is the practice of ensuring the customer experience is exactly the same whenever and wherever they come into contact with the brand. Oh and it's way more than just making print ads look like TV ads and billboards look like Web sites. Oh, no. It's much, much more. It involves mobile, in-store, eCommerce and more. Basically, omni-channel marketing aims to ensure that not only is the experience the same no matter which channel the customer chooses to experience the brand but also that the integration and hand-off between those channels is entirely seamless.

    And so, Geary LSF has chosen to highlight that approach to marketing and has made omni-channel the focus of its new Web site. Check it out.
  • Agency Searches For Santa With Elaborate Victorian-Era Expedition

    With its holiday card effort, Indiana-based Miller Brooks has embarked upon an exploration and the discovery of hidden truths. The agency began by recruiting mission participants via a display ad patterned closely after Ernest Shackleton’s famous advertisement of 1914 which sought crewmen for the Trans-Antarctic Expedition. The ads appeared in the classified sections of local publications.

    The agency next mailed clients and prospective clients a pseudo-Victorian map of the North Pole wrapped around a signed holiday greeting that did double-duty as a teaser postcard by showing a photo of a Santa-esque figure posing with a ship’s crew, and directing readers to TheExpeditionNorth.com for further information. All the materials came enclosed in an envelope that displayed an ornate, period-appropriate return address stamp, along with vintage postage stamps which in turn were selected to show scenes of ocean exploration.

    Additional recipients were alerted to the mission and its Web site through a series of email messages -- one that echoed the print ad and included era-appropriate advertisements for several of Miller Brooks’ clients and a second communication that announced the mission’s launch on the front page of an invented Victorian newspaper, the Voyager’s Weekly: A Graphic Compendium of Travelogues.

    When visitors arrive at TheExpeditionNorth.com, they are greeted by a summary of the voyage’s purpose, as well as a biography of the mission’s leader and a description of the Miller Brooks Society for Exploratory Illumination. A multi-part captain’s journal tells the story of the mission’s launch, travails, and eventual triumph in period-appropriate language accompanied by photoshopped images.

  • Saatchi LA Asks Us All to Unplug For The Holidays

    Saatchi LA is taking a new approach to the ad industry holiday card and has set out to raise something money can’t buy. The agency is asking people to hang up the phone during dinner, close laptops during family movies, unplug from social networks and plug into positive interactions with family to spend meaningful time with loved ones during this holiday season through its, Holidays Unplugged initiative.

    Here's how it works. The holiday e-card invites people to join the fundraiser here. Users pledge to unplug in hourly increments and for every hour pledged, Saatchi LA will donate $1, up to $10,000, to the Hollywood Community Housing Corporation in partnership with Adopt a Family.

    The program will remain open through January 4, and people can track the progress toward the 10,000-hour goal, make comments and share images and videos. The agency has drafted rotating copy for an automatically generated tweet/facebook post for when people pledge.

  • This Agency Gives You A Break From Your Facebook Feed's Vitriolic Outrage

    It's always a good thing to help the kids. Especially kids in need. And even more especially, kids who have limited access to creative endeavors. Throughout the year, brand strategy and design firm Lippincott partners with Creative Art Works, a New York-based non-profit organization dedicated to empowering kids through creativity and bringing arts education to schools that have lost it.

    Lippincott’s 2014 "holiday card" celebrates the efforts the agency goes to throughout the year to help kids explore their creativity. So in a time when your Facebook feed is filled with an overflowing abundance of vitriolic outrage, you can take solace in the fact that there are still fleeting moments of heartwarming goodness in this world. I certainly wish there were more.

  • Grey New York Sticks Annoying Millennials In Their Own Private Playpen

    Oh, this is rich. Ever since the 88 million Millennials started swarming the office world, freaked out GenX and Baby Boomer managers have tried just about everything to better meld with these stereotypically self-entitled, hierarchy-agnostic, trophy-for-participation 20-somethings. Well, it seems Grey New York has found the answer.

    What's Grey's solution? They rounded up all the whiners...uh...Millennials and gave them their own playpen. No, seriously. A while back, the agency moved all its assistant account executives into one area of the office, effectively segregating them from their managers. Why? So they'll grow up and think before they speak. And that comes right from the mouth of a Millennial!

    Of the segregated office space, called Base Camp, Grey AAE Sean McNamara said, “Since I’m not sitting in front of my supervisor, I’m not able to just turn around and say, ‘Hey, this is what I think.’ It makes you think: When does this call for me to go over and talk about things, and when will an e-mail suffice?” That's right. Apparently, Millennials must be physically separated from their bosses to rescue management from an incessant stream of mindless, ill-thought-through banter.

  • Leo Burnett Eschews Holiday Silliness With Meaningful Toy Drive For Chicago Children

    It's nonstop charity action this year with ad agency holiday cards. It's as if every agency in the land is finally hanging their head in shame for the decades of trite, meaningless holiday silliness they've foisted upon us for far too long. Nice to see things changing.

    Leo Burnett Chicago is out with a program that makes donating gifts to children at Off The Street Club as easy as tweeting a photo. "Gift of Giving 2014" allows people to donate by snapping a Twitter or Instagram photo of the gift and tagging it with #GiftOfGiving2014.

    That gift image will appear on digital display gift boxes under an actual Christmas tree at Off The Street Club in Chicago's West Garfield Park neighborhood and virtually at TheGiftOfGiving.co where one can search for it using one's screen name. Once found, people can download a prepaid postage label to ship that gift directly to Off The Street Club at no cost. Now isn't that much nicer that some silly video?

  • DigitasLBi Quiz Determines Your Ugly Holiday Sweater Preferences

    You know that holiday sweater? The silly one that the office doofus insists upon wearing every year? Yeah, that sweater. Well, now you can have one of your very own too. And all you have to do is take this Ugly Sweater quiz that DigitasLBi put together.

    So head over to the agency's sweater-ific quiz site and answer a few questions such as your preference in Blizzard Survival apps, wearables, holiday party bites and what you plan to watch come 2015. You'll then be presented with a "hand-sewn" customized sweater that may or may not end up being called The Bun Toaster. And after you have taken the quiz, the agency will make a donation to Goodwill in an effort to keep everyone warm this year.

    As you take the quiz, a very nice lady -- likely some agency person's grandmother -- furiously works on creating a masterpiece of personalized wonderment. Now if only the sweaters were real.

  • Boston Agency Asks Santa What He Wants For Christmas

    Boston-based Captains of Industry is asking us all to turn the tables a bit on the whole Santa Claus thing. After all, year after year after year, the poor guy has to do all the giving. What if we asked Santa what he wanted for Christmas? Well, that's exactly what Captains did.

    So, what does Santa want? The agency hit the streets of Boston to find out. And here's what they found: a slap chop, a reduction of parking fees for reindeer, bigger candy canes, a satellite radio for the sleigh, a few days off for Mrs. Claus, a little less turmoil in the world for a couple of weeks, more happiness, help for drug addicted family members.

    The video ends with a simple reminder: "This holiday season, let's remember there's a man behind the beard.”

  • 10 Books Every Agency Person Should Read

    Well, at least according to Strawberry Frog Founder Scott Goodson, who has compiled a list of ten "mind-altering business books from 2014." He acknowledges that most business books simply repeat what many of us already know but these ten books (and a few honorable mentions) will truly shift your thinking and open your mind to new possibilities, according to Goodson.

    His list, compiled in a piece for Huffington Post, includes CREATIVITY INC: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration, A MORE BEAUTIFUL QUESTION: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas, THE HARD THING ABOUT HARD THINGS: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers and Sally Hogshead's HOW THE WORLD SEES YOU: Discover Your Highest Value Through the Science of Fascination, among others.

    Check out the full list and get smarter. Because the last thing this industry needs is more of the same. We already have that is spades. Let's be different, Okay?

  • This Canadian Agency Used Airbnb to Raise Money For the Homeless

    In acknowledgement of the 3,500 homeless and 15,000 at risk households in their area, Calgary-based Trigger Communications decided to tackle homelessness in Calgary this season with what they are calling "The first-ever airbnb PSA." 

    The "PSA" which the agency created for Alberta charitable organization, The Mustard Seed, consists of airbnb listings that document what it's like to be homeless. Through social media, the agency encouraged people to book a night at one of these listings for $20 -- the same amount a person in Alberta receives for social assistance. 

    To further promote the fund-raising effort, the agency placed cardboard signs around the city promoting the listings. Now isn't that better than a bunch of agency employees tossing on some Christmas costumes and prancing around the office sharing their poor acting skills? Yes. Yes, it is.

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