Why POG Really Failed

Fred & Farid, that deliciously witty agency in Paris, is out with a "case study" video about what really happened during the Publicis Omnicom merger and why it failed. It seems Fred & Farid misled Maurice Levy and John Wren a bit so that when the two first met up to discuss the deal, both Maurice and John thought they were top dog. Naturally, a testosterone-fueled fight ensued. But, there were funny pictures, and in the end, Sir Martin Sorrell came out smiling. And everyone loves a smiling Sir Martin Sorrell. Watch the video.

The Art Directors Club, which is doing its damnedest to get everyone to call it ADC, is out with Portfolio Cards, a partnership with Twitter that allows up-and-coming young creatives seeking the attention of creative directors worldwide to use Twitter Cards to highlight their portfolios. And to make sure everyone keeps talking about The Art...uh...ADC following the close of its Portfolio Night this week. They're calling it the TweetFolio. Cute. To make it work, budding creatives place four projects in a Portfolio Card using the Twitter Gallery Card, @PortfolioNight tweets the card, the tweet will be seen by those following @PortfolioNight and CDs can expand the tweet to check out the work. 

Former Havas Worldwide New York Chief Digital Officer Alex Bombeck has landed at Sparks Grove, the marketing and creative division of North Highland. Bombeck will lead the Atlanta-based division, which provides marketing, visioning and visualization (whatever that is), emerging interactions, and communication services. Of his move, and his family's, to Atlanta for the gig, Bombeck said: "After almost 20 years in the marketing services industry, I have gained an appreciation for both the art and the science of brand relationships, communications frameworks and platform integration. I appreciate the uniqueness of the Sparks Grove business model, as well as North Highland's world-class advisory, strategy and execution expertise. I look forward to working alongside the accomplished team at Sparks Grove." Bombeck joins Sparks Grove as the agency saw 50% growth in revenue over the past two years, has grown to 80 staffers and is adding 5,000 square feet to its Atlanta office space.

Changes are afoot over at Ogilvy & Mather UK. Annette King has been promoted to Chief Executive Officer, succeeding Paul O’Donnell, who has been promoted to CEO of Ogilvy & Mather Europe, Africa and the Middle East. King will continue to lead OgilvyOne in the EAME region and will still report to O’Donnell who retains his role as Chairman of Ogilvy & Mather UK. Both will be based in London and take up their roles immediately. Of her new gig, King said, “I am incredibly excited to have the opportunity to run Ogilvy & Mather UK. I can't wait to start working with the teams across the group to take the business forward, building on the enormous growth of the last five years." 

Lexington, Kentucky-based agency Meridian-Chiles has shut its doors and filed for bankruptcy. The agency owes $5.1 million in back payments to creditors. Half of that amount is owed to Central Bank. Larry Chiles and Jim Jordan founded the company, which was originally known as Jordan-Chiles, in 1988. Chiles bought Jordan out in 2006.

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  • DigitasLBi Goes Gospel For NewFronts

    And so the NewFronts. That time when all things digital trot out their offerings to all things agency in hopes that the latter opens its wallet for the former. And any time you give a marketing person a chance to get on stage and sell themselves, what you usually end up with is, well, something other than normal.

    Today, it seems, DigitasLBi pulled out all the stops and went full on gospel. According to this tweet, it seems the agency has gone biblical.

    So what was the epic craziness all about? The agency struck a deal with Vox Media that offers the agency a first look at Vox Media's native product, Chorus for Advertising. Ah ha! There's the gospel tie in. Now it all makes perfect sense.

  • Attik Ceases to Exist After Scion Loss

    Last month, Droga5 won the Toyota Scion account -- besting incumbent Attik, which has had the account since 2002. Attik was to continue to be part of the creative team for the brand and support various marketing initiatives. Apparently, that has turned out not to be the case.

    Parent company Dentsu will absorb Attik with employees at both the agency's LA and San Francisco offices to be reassigned. While many Attik employees will find a home within Dentsu, there will be some layoffs, according to sources.

    Regarding the closure, a Dentsu statement reads, “After evaluating the Attik business with an eye towards future growth and sustainability, we have decided to bring Attik into Dentsu Aegis Network. The result will be a reorganization of the business with a long-term view towards client needs and opportunities that will most effectively leverage Attik’s talent, expertise and capabilities on a broader scale. We are actively working to ensure a smooth transition and to redeploy people within Dentsu Aegis Network.”
  • Starbucks Chief Digital Officer Honored With Chief Digital Officer of the Year Award

    CDO Club, a community of C-suite digital types with over 1,000 members, has named Adam Brotman, Starbucks Coffee Company's Chief Digital Officer, the 2015 U.S. Chief Digital Officer of the Year.

    Brotman was named the recipient of the award during CDO Club founder David Mathison's keynote presentation, "Hall of Fame: CDOs Who Have Become CEO and Board Directors," at the 3rd annual CDO Summit on Wednesday, April 29 and hosted at Thomson Reuters in New York City.

    Brotman joined Starbucks in April 2009, and under his leadership the company has become a leader in mobile payments, with more than 18% of its U.S. store transactions occurring via mobile. In addition, the company processes more than 8 million mobile payments per week.

    Brotman also led the team responsible for piloting Starbucks Mobile Order & Pay in 2014, a mobile ordering feature integrated within the Starbucks app that allows customers to place their order as well as pay for their food and beverage items in advance of visiting their store. The feature has been rolled out in 650 locations in the Pacific Northwest.
  • Bud Light Attributes Controversial Bud Light Beer Label Copy to BBDO

    Yup. Another brand throws another agency under the bus. Yesterday, Bud Light caught the wrath of the Internet for one of its custom taglines on its bottles. The tagline reads, "The perfect beer for removing 'no' from your vocabulary for the night." Doh! Many around the dark corners of the Internet have linked the tagline to rape culture.

    No, Bud Light is not advocating promiscuous sex and has apologized for the oversight in a statement which read: “The Bud Light Up for Whatever campaign, now in its second year, has inspired millions of consumers to engage with our brand in a positive and light-hearted way. In this spirit, we created more than 140 different scroll messages intended to encourage spontaneous fun. It’s clear that this message missed the mark, and we regret it. We would never condone disrespectful or irresponsible behavior.”

    Missed the mark? Uh, yeah. Now, certainly some blame can be laid upon BBDO for even proposing this copy but the brand and all its layers of approval should have caught it. In yet another statement, Bud Light basically admits that, saying: “BBDO is the creative agency for this UFW campaign, including all bottle scroll messages. We have an extensive review process and this label should not have made it through. It’s regrettable. This particular scroll will no longer be produced.”
  • Despite Ad Agency Merger Mania, Small Independent Shops Still Thrive

    Jim Lindsey -- who has served as vice chairman at several agencies including Saatchi & Saatchi and Hill Holliday and been honored with over 50 ADDYS, Clios and Golden Quills -- would like all of us to know that the much-anticipated demise of small ad agencies never actually happened.

    He says: "While worldwide mega-agency groups, [like] Saatchi & Saatchi, have continued to grow, merge, morph, and control more media dollars, the small, independent shops stubbornly remain."

    He offers up several reasons why this is so. Most notably, relationships matter. He notes: "In RFPs, a common question is about the agency's client roster and where the prospect's account would fit in the pecking order. Mattering to an agency's business translates to a certain amount of leverage, regardless of the added services or bench strength the larger agency promises it would give access to." No surprise there. That bossy client wants to be top dog and that's more easily accomplished when working with a smaller shop.

    Even in the face of a shift back to integration, Lindsey argues that specialization is still valued by brands. He adds: "Very often advertisers want the particular ingredient for which the small shop excels. It’s not uncommon for marketing departments of larger advertisers to manage several 'boutique' agencies to keep ideas fresh and flowing."

    The advent of the Internet, of course, has been a great equalizer between large and small agencies. As long as a small shop stays current with technology, in many cases they can compete with agencies twice their size -- provided, of course, the brainpower and desire is equal to the task. 

    In a nod to the demise of the Mad Men era, Lindsey says: "The move toward a more accountable approach to client service began in the 90s as accounting systems and MBAs began to take hold. The recent recession cemented this new, more austere reality. Clients, on the whole, are simply more overhead sensitive nowadays. They know intuitively they will ultimately be paying for all of those assistant’s assistants, lavish offices, and entertainment. Small- to mid-tier agencies, on the other hand, run leaner operations out of necessity. And smart clients appreciate the obvious stewardship of money -- their money."

    No matter how many mergers and acquisitions take place, there will always be an entrepreneurial spirit that keeps the small agency alive. That and, well, small clients who want to be treated like Top Dog.
  • NEWSFLASH! Digital Agency Promises to Deliver Work on Time!

    Well, here's a newsflash. Production company Spotburner, which would rather you called it a full-service digital agency, has...wait for it...announced guaranteed turnaround time on premium content. That's right. The production company...uh...digital agency will deliver its work to clients on time! Hold the phone! Stop the presses! A company promises to do what it says when it says it will do it!

    This is unprecedented news in the advertising industry, let alone in any industry. I mean, this is unheard of! Never in all my years of selling crap to people who neither want it or need it have I ever come across a company that promised to deliver the goods by the promised due date. 

    Of the epic promise, Spotburner Founder Bob Bekain said, “I noticed a lot of unnecessary delays for the client while waiting for their content, so I created Spotburner as a means to provide premium content at a fair price, with a guaranteed turnaround time.”

    My God! What's next? A company promising to buy clients lunch when they come to a midday presentation?

  • 68% of Agencies Plan to Increase Digital Video Spend In The Next Year

    More than two-thirds, or 68%, of marketers and agency executives plan to increase their digital video ad budget spend over the next 12 months, according to the Digital Content NewFronts: Digital Video Spend Study, a survey of 305 buy-side professionals conducted by Advertiser Perceptions and released today by the Interactive Advertising Bureau. 

    The buy-side expects greater digital video spend will come from increased ad budgets in 2015 and a shift away from broadcast and cable television. Two-thirds, or 67%, of survey respondents said that they anticipate their broadcast and cable TV ad budgets to stay the same or decrease in the next year.

    The study also revealed that two-thirds of marketers and agency executives, or 67%, believe original digital video will become as important as original TV programming within the next 3 to 5 years.

    In addition, 8 in 10 advertisers and agency executives who attended the 2014 NewFronts agree their participation resulted in more spending on original digital video content and motivated them to increase their 2015 budgets. 

    Of the study, IAB Senior VP of Research, Analytics and Measurement Sherill Mane said: “This study demonstrates unequivocally that digital video is a fierce competitor for advertising dollars. Brand advertisers and media buyers have been dramatically increasing their commitment to digital video, so all signs point up for this captivating form of storytelling as the industry rallies for the NewFronts.”

  • Swedish Ad Agency Debuts Advertising-Themed Emoji App

    Emojis are all the rage now, right? Seems every brand is coming out with some version of their own each week, so why not advertising-themed emojis for the advertising industry? Well, look no further. Allow me to introduce you to Advertising Emojis.

    Swedish advertising agency Dogwash is out with a new iPhone app, appropriately called Advertising Emojis. Everything you need to boast about your latest idea and award win from Lions to Pencils to Effies to Clios to Eggs to some stuff I don't even recognize. Now you can properly express your egotistical...uh...enthusiastic attitude for your work and the work of others.

    You'll also find expressions such as Bigger Logo and Make it Pop as well as classic icons such as Cadbury Gorilla, Epic Split and Old Spice guy. What are you waiting for? Download this thing immediately and get emoji-ing!

  • Crowdsource Design Services Steal Business From Design Studios, Which Now Steal Business From Agencies

    Ever since the advent of crowdsource-fueled creative entities like 99Designs, Freelancer and Fiver, design studios -- which previously buttered their bread with business from ad agencies -- are now upping their game, cutting out the agency and going direct to the brand for business.

    Of the trend, Design Business Council Head Greg Branson said: “A lot of the designers I work with have a strategy partner or a senior person in the business that does strategy. Many of them have been recruited by the designer out of the advertising industry, with the intention of taking their business to a higher level and offering a broader range of services."

    While a design studio isn't going to take over the Coke account any time soon, shifts like this are on the rise. Interestingly, even before 99Designs and the like, Barbarian Group -- which prior to Subservient Chicken was a tech design studio of sorts -- transformed itself into a full-blown agency complete with all the usual agency services. 

    No, there won't be a weekly parade of design studios making it big like Barbarian did, but market conditions have changed significantly enough that we will continue to see more of this.

  • Digital Agency Spark Growth Is High-Fiving Itself Over Success Of April Fool's Joke

    Way, way back on April 1, digital agency Spark Growth crafted an April Fool's joke for its client footwear brand Miz Mooz. The agency created Selfie Shoes -- shoes that would, you know, take selfies. Well, the agency and Miz Mooz are very pleased with the results. 

    The work went viral, garnering over 2 million YouTube hits, mentions in more than 650 publications, and coverage on "The Today Show," "Good Morning America," "CBS This Morning," and other broadcasts. Furthermore, the agency tells me the stunt increased share of voice about the Miz Mooz brand by 12,143% between March 30 and April 6 according to Whispr Group -- and accumulated more than 35,000 mentions in English-speaking countries, achieved over 7 million views in China and 1 million online mentions, and was dubbed one of "The Web's Best April Fools' Pranks.” 

    Of the stunt's success, Miz Mooz CEO Ron Kenigsberg said: "We have always loved our dedicated Miz Mooz audience, but it was exciting to gain attention on a worldwide scale. We couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome.”

    Well, congratulations, Spark Growth!
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