That Merger Thingy? It Was Never Going To Happen

What do we think of the failed Publicis Omnicom "merger of equals?" From the moment it was dubbed "merger of equals" it was doomed to fail. Why? Have you noticed the personality profile of most ad agency heads? Type A/" don't F&*k with me"/control freaks who would drive over their grandmother if it meant scoring a new client or making a few extra bucks. Okay -- perhaps that's a bit too harsh but did anyone really think Maurice Levy or John Wren (or any of their top dogs) would accept second fiddle position in this deal? It'd be one thing if one holding company were buying the other outright but since they just wanted to hook up like a Tinder date, all two type A personalities could hope to expect from that would be a good roll in the hay and a kiss on the cheek in the morning. Levy and Wren are two alpha dogs from two different cultures and neither one was ever going to rein in their testosterone long enough to tackle the intricate details necessary to make any kind of "merger of equals" come to fruition.

Well it's final. The FTC, after a period of public comment, has put their final stamp on the settlement involving Nissan North America and TBWA Worldwide. As you may recall, the agency created an ad which deceptively showed a Nissan Frontier effortlessly pushing a dune buggy up a hill when, in fact, the vehicle was being pulled up the incline by an unseen cable. The settlement basically amounts to a "don't do it again" slap on the wrist.

At this year's Interactive Day San Diego, digital and creative agency Piston will show how narcissism can make the world a better place with the "Selfie Jar" -- a jar in which this year's 1,400 IDSD attendees can put their selfies to good use. Attendees simply have to add the hashtag #selfiejar to their posts and for every selfie posted, Piston will make a $1 donation to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. At IDSD, Piston employees will wear special t-shirts that they also will hand out to attendees. The shirts will feature the #selfiejar hashtag along with the tagline "Turning narcissism into optimism." Cards explaining the Selfie Jar concept also will be placed in attendee conference bags.

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  • Publicis Bought The Monkees!

    Oh wait, not The Monkees. Are any of them even still alive? No -- Publicis just bought France-based digital and social marketing agency Monkees. The agency will become part of Publicis Activ but will operate under the Monkees brand and be headed by by Frédéric Caussin and Manuel Godeux, the two founding managers of Monkees.

    Monkees currently employs 25 people and works with clients in mass retailing and specialized distribution, auto manufacturing, health and sport. 

    Of the acquisition, Publicis France VP Nicolas Zunz said:  "Monkees is an agency we have had our eye on for some time, and for which we have great respect. They have developed some innovative and cutting-edge skills, which will obviously be helpful in the development of our agencies in the west and east of France. It will also add to our national arsenal of digital expertise. We are very happy to welcome them on board."
  • Nationwide Severs Retainer-Based Relationship With Moxie, Agency Closes Columbus Office

    There's been a lot going on with Nationwide and its relationship with its agencies over the past few months. While its relationship appears to be solid with McKinney, things are not going so well regarding its relationship with Moxie.

    Confirming this, a statement from Moxie CEO Suzy Deering reads: “While Moxie will continue to work with Nationwide, it will no longer be on a retainer basis. Given this shift, we’ve begun the process of closing our Columbus office. Accounts currently serviced out of that location will be handled by our Pittsburgh and Atlanta offices. We are very proud of the work our Columbus team has produced over the years. They are a group of truly talented, dedicated professionals, and we thank them for all they have done.”

    It totally sucks when an office of an agency has to shut down due to client shifts or losses. It's not fun. I've been there and know firsthand what it's like. But life goes on. Mine did. And so will the lives of everyone involved here.

  • Mark Reed Takes One More Step Toward Replacing Martin Sorrell

    WPP has named WPP Digital CEO Mark Read Global CEO of WPP's Wunderman, succeeding Daniel Morel, who will become non-executive chairman. Read, who has been chairman of Wunderman for about a year, will continue in his role as CEO of WPP Digital and he will step down from the WPP board.

    Read has been quite active in WPP's digital acquisitions of late, a focus for the holding company and a primary area of focus for WPP CEO Martin Sorrell. And speaking of Sorrell, Read has been long rumored to succeed Sorrell when the head honcho deems his contributions to the holding company complete.

    Of the move and of Read's contribution to WPP and Wunderman, Sorrell said: "Under Daniel's leadership, Wunderman has become a global powerhouse that is consistently ranked among the world's top digital agencies. After 14 highly successful years, he has decided it is the right time to pass the torch. As CEO of WPP Digital, Mark brings a wealth of knowledge in digital technology and its application to marketing services, as well as strong links with our new media partners."
  • CP+B Completes Shift Away From Global CCO, Names Gustavo Sarkis CCO For Miami Office

    Former TBWA LA Creative Director Gustavo Sarkis has joined Crispin Porter + Bogusky and will lead creative for the agency's Miami office. When at TBWA, Sarkis worked on Gatorade and helped the agency win the Adidas World Cup account.

    At CP+B, Sarkis will head up all creative aspects and accounts in the Miami office including Infiniti Mexico and The Miami Dolphins. 

    The hire rounds out a shift the agency has made away from an agency-wide, global CCO to CCOs for each individual agency office. This shift began last January when worldwide CCO Rob Reilly left the agency.

    Of the hire, CP+B Chairman Chuck Porter said, "Our success has always been about the work. Gustavo has a real understanding of culture, and an extraordinary feel for making an emotional connection between a brand and its audience. He has a strong entrepreneurial spirit so it seems especially fitting that he should lead our Miami office, where it all began."

  • Fallon May Have Lost Cadillac and Purina, But That Didn't Stop Them From A Huge Comeback

    So Advertising Age is out with its Agency A-List list. You know, yet another industry self-esteem award including awards for best B2B agency, best multicultural agency, best media agency of the year, best creative agency, best international agency, best executive of the year, best comeback of the year, best creative innovators, standouts and ones to watch. 

    Now combine that with the publication's Small Agency Awards, which seem to have numerous geographical and employee-size breakdowns, and basically, you've got Ad Age giving an award to every agency in  the country. Okay -- maybe not every single one but, hey, every agency doesn't make it to Cannes or get considered for a CLIO so I think it's a very nice public service Ad Age is doing to keep the industry's egos well fed.

    But, hey -- an accomplishment is an accomplishment, particularly for Fallon, which was awarded the comeback of the year. After having lost the Cadillac and Purina business in 2013 -- half the agency's revenue, the agency rallied, pitched their butt off and drove revenue up 20%. And for that, they were awarded Comeback Agency of the Year.
  • Creative Hijacks Agency Hashtags On Instagram To Score An Interview

    Have your agency's Instagram hashtags been hijacked? Are you seeing a giant ad when you view images with your hashtag created by Dutch creative student Max Kurstjens? Well then he's identified you as a place he'd like to work. You see, Kurstjens, like every other creative trying to break into the business, is sick and tired of you all ignoring him and his creativity.

    So Kurstjens took it upon himself to get noticed. He created several different Instagram accounts and uploaded a collection of images that formed a large composite image that would be viewable to anyone clicking on an agency hashtag.

    Targeted agencies included Leo Burnett, AKQA, 72andSunny, Anomaly, Droga5, Ogilvy & Mather, DDB Worldwide and others. The composite image resulted in an ad which read: "We Have Your Hashtag" and directed viewers to WeHaveYourHashtag.com where Hashtags are destroyed. On the site, agencies can "reclaim" their hashtag by sending in an email with a prefilled message that invites Kurstjens into the agency for a cup of coffee. Way to score an interview!

    Check out a video of the stunt here.

  • Nissan's Fred Diaz Explains the Brand's Dad-Themed Super Bowl Campaign

    If you haven't yet noticed, Dads appear to be a major theme brands and agencies are going with for their Super Bowl ads. Toyota has launched #OneBoldChoice, Dove has launched #RealStrength and Nissan has launched #WithDad. While each approach is a bit different, the theme is decidedly all about Dad.

    Of the direction Nissan took, the brand's SVP of Sales and Marketing Fred Diaz said the direction had nothing to do with the latest NFL domestic violence situation saying, "Nothing with the NFL had any part of our decision in any way. We started concepting a year ago, and essentially we wanted somehow or another to build a brand spot that resonated and connected with America. That was the direction I gave the marketing team and the agency: Find a spot, find a story. Find something that connects us and makes us far more relevant with the American public today that shows we truly understand them."

    And of the campaign's similarities to Toyota and Dove, Diaz added, "I've seen a lot of their [Toyota's] footage that's been released and we're in such different spaces on this, other than the fact that we both are approaching the dad-fatherhood theme. It's purely coincidental. But you've got to make people laugh or cry. [Toyota's theme] won't detract or be synergistic for us. It certainly could help promote the notion, in our case, that things are better when Dad is involved."

    How nicely said.
  • Hershey's Launches Legal Attack Against Cadbury And May Part Ways With Arnold and Havas

    Hershey's, the decidedly inferior choice in chocolate, has launched a legal fight against the decidedly superior choice in Chocolate, Cadbury, claiming the British brand is infringing upon the domestic brand's turf. No one on Facebook is happy about this. Outrage, I tell you! Outrage!

    But that's not really advertising news now is it? How about Hershey's launching a crerative agency review? Yeah, that's closer to our news mandate here at Mediapsssst. So yeah, the brand that makes stuff that barely has any actual chocolate in it wants to look beyond Arnold and Havas. 

    The brand, however, isn't kicking the agencies to the curb but they are interested in fishing for new ideas. Hershey Spokeswoman Anna Lingeris said: "We are just looking to add more agencies to the mix to help diversify the work" and develop "better effectiveness and efficiencies over time." Eesh, what a say-nothing piece of CYA business babble.

    Lingeris also says the brand is looking to better integrate digital, which Havas currently handles, with traditional, which Arnold currently handles. And while the brand says it isn’t dumping the agencies, it sure sounds like they're looking for one agency to integrate what these two currently do for the brand.
  • Bannersnack Further Dumbs Down Creativity With 'Professional' Banner Making Tool

    Bannersnack, a startup that aims to make online advertising smarter, has launched Bannersnack-for-Agencies, a platform for advertising professionals. Within the service, agencies get both a professional banner maker app and a DSP for their ad campaigns. 

    Bannersnack aids creative collaboration and aims to speed up creative production. It allows creatives to quickly sketch ideas with...oh wow...professional fonts, premium stock images and in app image editor. It's also got a built in collaboration tool allowing copywriters, art directors and designers to share their ideas with colleagues and clients.

    Of the launch, Bannersnack Head of Product Raul Popa said: "We really want to make online banner advertising smarter. At first, we were amazed to see how our app enables faster banner design for small and medium businesses. After that, we learned that a large part of our user base consists of designers and advertising professionals and we decided to step up with a solution for their needs. We were inspired by how easy it is to share and work with documents in apps like Google Drive and Dropbox. We believe that time is the most limited resource for our customers and that's where Bannersnack really shines. It saves time, eliminates noise and makes online advertising easier for everyone. We really think more agencies should try it and that's why we're offering the banner maker app for free, for a limited time to advertising agencies across the world, no financial commitments."

    Well, the upside is no one likes to create banners, no one clicks on them and some programmatic computer in the backroom makes the media buy. Why not another automated tool to further strip advertising of anything remotely resembling creativity?

  • New Vertical Social Network For Marketers to Give AgencySpy Comment Section A Slap Upside the Head

    Hold the phone! I mean the mouse! Or whatever we "hold" now that no one uses the phone any longer. There's a new...wait for it...social network for marketers launching. Introducing Shocase. Basically it's a portfolio site for agencies and freelancers to show off their work. Yeah, that's never been done before.

    Oh but wait! It's a social network. There's interactivity. Interactivity, I tell you! Yes, you can get industry news, interact with fellow industry mates and...grow your network! As described to me, it's "LinkedIn + Pinterest + Facebook + YouTube rolled into one."

    Yeah, this is awesome. A specialized social network for marketers. Remember Ning? That company allowed any industry or any person create their own specialized social network. It didn't go over too well. 

    Of his baby, Shocase Founder and CEO Ron Young said: "We think the next giant shift in media is happening right now. In the same way that TV was different from print, social media is just as different from TV, and we are seeing the first emergence of vertical social networks."

    Clearly, Young has never heard of Ning -- which, while not all that successful or as robust or as focused (yes, I'm un-making my point), was doing the vertical industry social networking thing ten years ago. Of course, Lee Clow, Chuck McBride and Vince Engel are on the thing so maybe it has a chance.

    Of Shocase's goal of connecting the marketing community, Young added: "It is harder than ever to find the right marketing or PR person, so the public needs a new platform to find who has the hippest shopper marketing in the packaged goods market place or who understands PR in a particular vertical. Shocase is a real-time catalog of the marketing or PR work that people have done."

    Or people could just consult the AgencySpy comment section for the unfettered truth.
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