Navy Gives LCE $85 Million Contract Extension

Lowe Campbell Ewald staffers will return to work today with a big smiles. The agency, after handling the Navy recruiting account since 2000 and re-winning it in 2009, has been handed an $85 million (annually) short-term contract extension. This is to tide things over until later this year when a mandated agency review will take place. The winner will take over the account in January 2015. An RFP is out and calls for proposals by May 30. No word on who is participating. Of their work with the account and what's on the horizon, Lowe Campbell Ewald CEO Jim Palmer said: "In our 14 years as Navy's partner, we've experienced an incredible digital revolution and leveraged that in our innovative solutions to help Navy reach their target. We look forward to the opportunity to continue our partnership and help Navy reach the highly specialized skill sets needed for the future." Things do look good for LCE, however. The agency has met or exceeded recruitment goals every year it has handled the account. 

Are you a digital agency? Do you know what kind of digital agency you are? Over at Mashable, Todd Wasserman thinks he can help and has put forth three new types of digital agencies. He first cites ThinkModo and Contagious as leaders in the -- let's be honest, far from new -- viral video category of digital agencies. These agencies pride themselves on their ability to make things go viral. He then cites Cinegif, which is leading the charge in the very nice space of animated gif advertising. Yeah, it's a thing. And finally, he cites Big on Mars and Everything which have both jumped on the "Internet of everything" bandwagon and are super-hyped about connecting your refrigerator to the Internet. So...which kind of digital agency are you? And do you even want to pigeonhole yourself like this?

Golden Valley, Minnesota-based Marketing Midwest has rebranded and re-launched as mb25 Media Solutions. Simply, the mb stands for media buying, and less simply, the 25 stands for the fact the agency goes the extra mile for their clients. In other words, they work 25 hours a day. Of the change and the newfound direction, Founder Barb Epstein said: “We haven’t had a sales effort. After 25 years, I think it might be time.’’ Apart from the fact it's a little odd any agency, or any company for that matter, can exist without a new business effort for 25 years, we're just going to offer up a high five and wish the agency well.
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  • 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!
  • McKinney Opens SoHo Office, Founder Chick McKinney Rolls Over In Grave


    Update: Despite the fanfare surrounding seemingly posthumous commentary from Chick regarding this latest McKinney move, the agency has actually been in New York for some time. Who knew? But here's the thing. Why pull out an old quote from Chick about that fact he doesn't feel the need to be in New York when, well, the agency is already in New York and should have used the quote the first time they moved to New York? And, yes, I could have looked it up. My bad.


    So Raleigh, North Carolina-based McKinney is opening an office in New York City's SoHo district at 15 Watts Street. Usually, an agency opening an office in New York is no big deal. However, one of the founding principles of McKinney as voiced by Founder Chick McKinney was that it really wasn't a place Chick wanted to be.

    Of course, this line of thinking is no secret to current McKinney management, which gleefully announced the June 3 SoHo office opening with an ad featuring an image of Chick and a quote that reads: "I never really had a desire to live in New York City."

    The ad also reads: "Please forgive us, Chick." Now if we could only talk to the dead, we'd be able to ascertain whether or not Chick is miffed over this move and whether or not he thinks the strategy behind announcing the new office is inventively cheeky.

    At least the agency waited a respectful 8 years before making the move to New York.

  • Aishwarya Rai Blames Creative Agency For That Racist Ad

    For the past day or so, it seems impossible to escape from a Google News alert that isn't filled with that story about popular Indian celebrity Aishwarya Rai, who appeared in an ad for Kalyan Jewellers elegantly dressed with a dark-skinned child holding an umbrella over her head. Many have called the ad racist. 

    An open letter from a consortium of feminist, child and human rights groups says the ad appears to "be representing aristocracy from a bygone era -- bejewelled, poised and relaxing while an obviously underage slave-child, very dark and emaciated, struggles to hold an oversize umbrella over your head." 

    The letter, which shares several examples of 17th- and 18th-century images that would now be considered racist, continues: "We wish to convey our dismay at the concept of this advertisement, and that you have, perhaps unthinkingly, associated with such a regressive portrayal of a child to sell a product...we, therefore, urge you to do the right thing -- cease to associate yourself with this offensive image by ensuring that further use of this advertisement is stopped."

    In response, a statement from Aishwarya pretty much shirks any responsibility and blames the creative agency for the debacle. The statement read: "On the onset we would like to thank you on drawing our attention to the observation of the perception of the advertisement. Here is an attachment (picture of Aishwarya without the child holding the umbrella) of the shot taken by somebody during the shoot. The final layout of the ad is entirely the prerogative of the creative team for a brand. However shall forward your article as a viewpoint that can be taken into consideration by the creative team of professionals working on the brand visual communication. Thank you once again."

    Kalyan Jewellers has pulled the ad.

  • Apparently, The Spanish Can't Pronounce 'Ogilvy & Mather' Properly

    Is there any other industry that pokes fun at itself as much as advertising? Perhaps, but I can't think of one right now. Maybe it's because I have yet again been distracted by a witty agency self-promotion that gleefully mocks the fact that seemingly no one in Spain can properly pronounce "Ogilvy & Mather."

    To point out this travesty and to offer some help, the agency itself has produced a series of videos featuring a very regal English gentleman offering helpful tips on the proper pronunciation of the agency's name.

    Once such video instructs viewers that the emphasis is on the "O" and should be pronounced as if one were surprised or in pain. Sort of like being whacked in the nuts with a boot. Which is exactly what happens to our regal English gentleman in this particular video. 

    Check out all the videos here.
  • Surprise, Surprise. Chuck E. Cheese Gets New CMO And Launches Agency Review

    This is getting so tired. New CMO joins brand. CMO, in an effort to prove his or her worth, trashes current agency and launches review, thereby proving that whatever the previous CMO had in place sucked and the new solution is far superior. It's like a broken record. Oh wait, half of you have no idea what a record is. Anyway, the whole thing is like predicting an apple will fall if you drop it.

    So what's the latest CMO-fueled shenanigan? In January, Michael Hartman joined Chuck E. Cheese as chief marketing officer. Previously, Hartman was senior marketing officer at Seaworld. Yeah, probably a really good move for Hartman, given the crap that brand is facing these days. But back to the agency review.

    Sources tell AdWeek the brand has launched a creative agency review. But the source everyone really wants to hear from, Hartman, isn't talking. Mums the word I guess. It's as if it's some sort of national security secret that will topple the entire world of marketing if any one were, God forbid, to become privy to the inner dealings of an agency review. 

    Currently, the account is handled by The Richards Group. But...wait for it...no one from The Richards Group is talking either. Last year, the brand spent $28 million on media, according to Kantar Media.
  • Rise Interactive Agency Wins LA Search Marketing Award

    On Wednesday at the LSA|15 Conference in Los Angeles, the Local Search Association announced the winners of its second annual Ad to Action Awards competition. LSA received 91 entries across 10 categories and the winners were revealed on the main stage at the event.

    The competition focused on celebrating the most innovative "local" marketing products or solutions that facilitate consumer actions such as calls, clicks, store visits, etc. The winners demonstrated the greatest potential for driving local consumer engagement and best addressed current market needs.

    The judging panel -- made up of 18 companies including Twitter, Foursquare, Yahoo, MapQuest, xAd and more -- evaluated these products and solutions. Each judge reviewed a subset of entries and no judge reviewed any entries where there was a potential conflict of interest.

    In the Platforms and Services category, Chicago-based Rise Interactive, which likes to refer to itself as an "interactive investment management firm," won the top spot. And we can see why. Any agency that can spin the fact that they buy online advertising into "interactive investment management form" is worthy of praise.

  • SMG Just Screamed 'Oh Sh*t' ... Again!

    Late last year, in an effort to consolidate its global media planning business with one agency, Mars yanked its account from Starcom, placed it in review and handed it to MediaCom. The agency has also recently lost Microsoft and Anheuser-Busch InBev. Now, Starcom is getting the shaft again.

    Soft drink giant Coca-Cola has placed its U.S. media buying and planning account into review. While MediaVest will participate in the review alongside sister Coke agencies UM, MediaCom and Carat, we all know how these things go.

    Hoping to placate any nervousness, a Coke spokeswoman said: "We have a very productive and strong relationship with Starcom MediaVest Group that has served both companies very well for the last 11 years. Over this period, SMG has continually improved and strengthened its offering and remains a valued partner. As the media marketplace reshapes and reinvents itself, we frequently take the opportunity to formally review our media partners all around the world. Continued appraisal of our partners ensures we are both working with, and acting as, the best partners to create the most value at the right price."

    Oh -- because evaluating the actual work agencies do on a day-to-day basis for you is too difficult? You need the dog and pony show to make sure your agencies don't get too comfortable? Same old story.
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