Grey Is Not An Ad Agency

Grey is not an ad agency. Say what? Yes, it's true. At least according to Papa John's VP of Global Digital Marketing Jim Ensign. If you weren't at OMMA Mobile during Internet Week, you might not have heard Ensign say: "We just hired a new agency. And we don't call them an ad agency -- they're a content agency." The pizza chain recently chose Grey as its agency and Ensign says: "We refer to them as a content agency, and that was the important part of the review." So if you want an ad agency, don't call Grey. But if you want awesome "content," then by all means give Grey a call.

And speaking of pizza, Papa Gino's has decided they, too, need a new agency. But they're perfectly fine calling it an ad agency. The chain has selected Boston-based Full Contact Advertising. Of the win, Full Contact Partner and Co-Creative Director Marty Donohue said: “Papa Gino’s and D’Angelo are institutions around this region that are loved by generations of people. We can’t wait to reignite those passions with their current customers and introduce both brands to new fans along the way.” Full Contact did those hilarious Cumberland Farms ads a while back that feature David Hasselhoff. Previously, the Papa Gino's account was handled by Allen & Gerritsen, which is also perfectly content with being called an ad agency.

It's like it's all food and beverage all the time here today at Mediapsssst. Moving on from pizza, Dickey's Barbecue Restaurants announced Christie Finley has become the brand's new Chief Brand Officer. Of the hire, President and CEO Roland Dickey Jr. said: “Christie brings incredible vision, drive and creativity to our growing brand. At a time when our company is experiencing tremendous development, Christie will be spearheading our Marketing efforts to drive all aspects of the Dickey's Barbecue brand forward.” Finley, who has been in the position since February, was previously head of brand management over at CapitalOne and before that, advertising account supervisor at The Point Group. She also had stints at Bozell Kamstra and GMO/Hill Holliday.

Former GSD&M Creative Director Steve Miller has landed over at WPP's AdPeople Worldwide as North American Executive Creative Director. Following ten years at GSD&M where he worked on BMW, AT&T and Southwest Airlines, Miller ran his own Austin-based agency, Super Deluxe and, in January 2013, joined HCB Health as its Executive Creative Director. For his part, Miller is looking forward to getting back into the agency business, saying: “I’m looking forward to getting back to the type of dynamic agency environment I enjoy, serving multiple industries and a variety of clients.”

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  1. Jonathan Hutter from Garrand, June 5, 2014 at 8:48 a.m.

    We're not a content agency. We're an aggressive agency. Where will it end?

  • So Now Your Agency Needs to Become A Software Company

    For more than a few years we've been hearing an endless litany of bloviated pontifications as to why ad agencies must transform themselves into something...anything new. It doesn't really matter what as long as agencies no longer act like nor call themselves an ad agency. Because, well, many believe there's simply no reason for advertising to exist any longer. 

    That may be an overly simplistic assessment of the situation, but it's not far off base. However, all this talk of agencies morphing into entities that make watches or open coffee shops or distill bourbon -- or according to some, make software -- at times detracts from the genesis of the thing that used to be called an ad agency. 

    Hey, there's nothing wrong with tearing down the silos to break new ground, but in doing so, it seems some have forgotten something very important: someone still has to make shit that helps sell products for brands. 

    Now one could certainly argue that these product development efforts in their various incarnations do, in fact, help sell stuff for brands. And one could also argue that the list of shit agencies need to make to help brands sell stuff has grown exponentially. The internet and social media, for the most part, can be "blamed" for that.  

    But increasingly, these pontifications of "we must change" become tiresome and distracting from the real issue at hand -- which is that people hate to be interrupted, have been trained that interruption is no longer the quid pro quo it once was, are sick of the increasing assault by marketers on their time and enjoyment of life, and can very easily block all this junk out of their lives. 

    So what's the answer? Some say it's content marketing or its cousin, native advertising. The IAB thinks it's ad blockers. Some think it's programmatic. Some think it's affiliate marketing. Some say it's content marketing's sister, inbound marketing. 

    Some think the answer is to roll back the clock to a time when a workable tacit agreement between consumer and marketer was firmly in place and before the internet killed all that making everything free and just a click away. Look at Playboy's recent announcement it will no longer publish nude photographs in its magazine...because 50 billion are available for free one click off a Google search. 

    So what's the answer? 

    I'm not sure anyone has a clear answer. But unless the 319 million people in America are willing to cough up approximately $596 each annually to cover the cost of the $190 billion spent on advertising in exchange for the free content advertising provides, advertising is going to continue to play a very important role in funding the creation of content we all so want to consume. 

    We have to get it right.

  • Slow News Day Special: Toronto Ad Agencies Make This Toronto Neighborhood Cool

    So Monday was Columbus Day in America. Or, as some would have it, Indigenous Peoples Day. Whatever your position may be regarding the day some Italian dude working for the Spanish landed nowhere near America and enslaved the natives, most of you were not at work. And when the advertising industry isn't at work, there isn't much news being made. 

    And when there isn't much news being made, there isn't much to write about in this column. And so I bring you this little tidbit. Did you know that Toronto ad agencies are part of the reason the King West neighborhood in Toronto was named one of the 5 neighborhoods to stay in when visiting Toronto?  

    Yes, it's true. The Toronto blog blogTO describes the King West neighborhood thusly: "This condo dense Toronto neighborhood is filled with ad agency workers during weekdays and revelers on weekend nights. While there are a slew of bars and restaurants dotting King West, the area is also home to historic architecture, some of the city's best chefs and of course, a large chunk of the entertainment district." 

    It only makes sense that ad folk are followed by a wake of cool wherever they may go. So if you are one of these cool ad folk who work in one of these Toronto ad agencies, you can pat yourselves on the back for contributing to your neighborhood getting selected for this list. 

    Of course, now you'll have to deal with all those pesky pedestrian tourists getting in your way as you rush to Starbucks for your Iced, half caff, ristretto, venti, 4-pump, sugar free, cinnamon, dolce soy skinny latte.

  • Ad Blockers Got You Down? Time to Up Your PR And Content Marketing Efforts

    Unless you've been asleep for the last six months, you're well aware there's been a lot of hand wringing in advertising circles over the seemingly sudden increase in use of ad blockers. Chiefly, that increased attention came from Apple's allowance of mobile ad blockers in Safari, but ad blocking in general has been on the rise for quite some time. 

    It's a forgone conclusion that marketers and their advertising agencies, much like a determined athlete, will find a way around or through ad blockers despite increasingly insurmountable odds. Publishers, of course, will join this fight -- since advertising revenue is their lifeblood ever since the Internet made free everything commonplace. 

    Luckily, advertising isn't the only thing that makes the marketing world go round. Remember public relations? Yup. And while public relations (or, as today's buzzword dictionary would have it, earned media) won't necessarily solve a starving publisher's problems, it will help get a marketer's word out to market by circumventing ad blockers. 

    So too will content marketing and native advertising (which will help publishers stay afloat). Writing in an Advertising Age article entitled "The Solution to Ad Blocking Is to Double-Down on Earned Media," Edelman Chief Content Strategist Steve Rubel wrote: "We may look back on this time as the beginning of the great era of earned media." 

    As an example of that potential new era, Rubel points to the effect that time-shifted viewing had on certain ad models, writing: "This is what happened ten years ago in TV when TiVo and DVRs encouraged widespread ad-skipping. This arguably helped give rise to subscription services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime -- which ushered in binge-watching. And it also created a robust market for branded entertainment and product placement. Both of which are thriving today." 

    Regarding the potential rise of content marketing and native advertising, Metia Managing Director Mark Pinsent wrote: "As ad blocking technology's use increases and becomes more sophisticated, more companies are going to be looking at alternative ways of getting their messages to the audience. I fully expect this to result in an increased focus on marketing through content that has genuine use to the audience, and delivering it to people in a highly-targeted way. People say that they don't like being marketed to. I don't believe that (which kinda comes with the territory!) What people don't like is bad marketing: irrelevant, low-quality, poorly-targeted, overly interruptive." 

    Will content marketing and native advertising save the day? Well, if the number of attendees at Content Marketing World and Hubspot's Inbound conferences in September are any indication, there sure are a hell of a lot of people looking to learn how to deploy non-advertising-style advertising for the brands they represent.  

    There are, of course, other ad-blocker free roads marketers can travel, much of which wend their way through social media properties like Facebook's Instant Articles, Instagram's in-stream advertising, Twitter's Promoted post, Snapchat ads and more. Whether are not those channels are capable of filling in the gap left by ad blocked online media -- not to mention the waning effectiveness of TV advertising -- is a wait-and-see game.  

    It's quite clear, however, that the challenge ad blockers will foist upon advertisers and publishers will far outstrip those posed by banner blindness.

  • The Average Age Of A Creative Is 28, While The Average New Car Buyer Is 56 - That's A Problem.

    In a Washington Post article entitled "I’m 60. My boss is a 20-something. It’s awkward," 60-year-old Lisa Reswick discusses the trials, tribulations and challenges of working in an office where she takes orders from a boss whose mother is younger than she is. 

    She, of course, is one of the lucky ones. Especially in the youth-obsessed advertising industry where age discrimination runs rampant, with most everyone over the age of 30 experiencing age discrimination in one form or another. And where most anyone over 40 is basically banned from working inside an ad agency.

    Age discrimination is bad enough for those who are of a certain age and doing all they can to "stay relevant" in a world that values youth over wisdom. But ad agency employees are not the only ones suffering from age discrimination in the marketing space. Brands do too. 

    Reswick explains, writing: “This obsession with young talent may be short-sighted...people older than 50 have double the discretionary spending power of any other age group. The average head of household is 52. The average new car buyer is 56. The average Mac user is 54. So marketers must appeal to older consumers and may soon regret banishing everyone who saw the Beatles sing 'I Want to Hold Your Hand' live on the 'Ed Sullivan Show.' In your 20s and 30s, it’s pretty hard to understand the mind-set, needs and tastes of those decades older."

    Yes, the AARP has launched an ad agency specifically to help brands promote their products to the over 50 crowd, but that's not enough. 

    We need to do more. 

    Just how well do you think a 28-year-old can connect with a 56-year-old? Oh sure, the 28-year-old can refer to reams of research that will point to behaviors, traits and other indicators that might shed light on an effective marketing approach, but that's far removed from walking in that 56-year-old's shoes. 

    It's time for us all to dump the "clueless old person" attitude and realize these supposedly clueless old people have years and years and years of valuable experience that can be tapped for the betterment of the work that an agency does for its clients. 

    Because, let's be honest -- not every consumer is under 30. And face this fact: By 2020, it’s expected that 25% of U.S. workers will be older than 55. And they have a lot of money. Way more money, on average, than that hipster 32-year-old with whom you're so obsessed.

  • This Agency Turned Two New Hires Into Pez Dispensers

    Red Tettemer O'Connell + Partners has had a long tradition of welcoming new hires in interesting and inventive ways. Once the agency welcomed new hires by carving totem poles in their likeness.

    This week, the agency welcomed new creatives, Ron Villacarillo and Ben Levy, by creating actual, working Pez dispensers in their likeness. Check out a video of the Pez dispenser creations here.

    Villacarillo will join the agency as creative director/art director and will work on the agency's Dockers and Morningstar Farms clients. His past experience includes work at TBWA/Chiat/Day, McCann, CP+B and The Martin Agency. Levy will join the agency as creative director/copywriter and will work on the agency's Planet Fitness, T Rowe Price and Under Armour accounts. He joins the agency from Havas New York.

  • This Israeli Ad Agency May Have Solved All-Male Conference Panel Problem

    We've all seen it. Conference after conference where panel after panel consist solely of men. Well, Hana Rado, COO of Israeli ad agency McCann Tel Aviv, has come up with a solution to the problem. 

    Rado along with several others at her agency have launched Persona, a Web site on which qualified female speakers across many different fields are profiled. The site lists some 700 women so far. Mitt "binders of women" Romney would be proud. 

    The effort and the site also involve campaigning against conferences that under-represent women on panels by contacting some of the high-level attendees at these conferences, informing them of the gender gap and asking them not to attend these events which underrepresent women. The campaign also includes positive outreach making conference organizers aware of the many qualified women who could attend and present and many conferences. 

  • 70% of Agency Employees Want to Quit Because Their Managers Are Incompetent

    A recent study conducted by Campaign found over one-third (37%) of the ad agency workforce described morale at their agency as "low" or "dangerously low" and 70% said they were "actively job seeking."

    WTF? Seventy percent of the entire ad agency world is looking for a new job! No wonder everything is a mess. And things are not getting better. Close to 60% of survey respondents stated morale is lower this year than it was last year.

    According to the study, the biggest problem is poor management. Survey respondents were quoted as saying management is filled with "ego-driven, self-fulfilling, all-about-me attitudes," work is filled with "rush projects, poorly planned projects and lack of project direction" as well as "politics and sexism."

    Of course those making a healthy salary (over $100,000) reported morale problems at a lower rate (32%) as compared to those making salaries between $50,000 and $100,000 of whom 40% reported morale problems.

  • This New York Agency Will Bust Ass All Night Producing Pro Bono Work For CreateAthon

    It's always nice to see ad agencies do their part when it comes to charitable work. New York-based EGC, for the seventh year in a row, will participate in CreateAthon. 

    CreateAthon is a 24-hour creative event to benefit charities across the globe. Over 100 ad agencies around the globe have participated in an annual marathon creative event during which they donate talent to help nonprofits raise funds and awareness. More than 1,300 non-profits have been served, receiving nearly $17 million of agency work.  

    EGC, the only New York agency to participate, will work well into the night and regroup the next day to present their ideas, digital campaigns, and marketing programs to participating charities. 

    The work EGC does this year will benefit Hope For Youth, a foster care group for kids and the Long Island Coalition against Domestic Violence.

  • Havas Worldwide Interviews Job Candidate On A Ferris Wheel

    Last month several top executives from Havas Worldwide took over six gondolas on the Navy Pier Ferris Wheel in Chicago to conduct interviews. Each candidate was given two rotations to make their pitch to executives. 

    Of the approach, Havas CEO Paul Marobella said: “It’s a street fight for talent." Marobella was looking to fill about 50 positions at the agency.

    Marobella aligned the stunt with the decommissioning of the current Navy Pier Ferris Wheel in favor of a newer, more high tech version by saying: “Modernizing and contemporizing American brands is what we get out of bed for in the morning.” 

    One interviewee, Julie Shah said the Ferris wheel interview improved her performance saying: “I think sometimes when you’re in an interview you don’t always remember all the things you’re supposed to say -- you forget parts of yourself, tidbits that really push that interview forward. And this time I actually remembered because I was so excited throughout.”

  • Agency Un-Crops Popular Album Covers to Reveal Shocking 'Realities'

    This is just too much fun. UK-based ad agency Aptitude has released a collection of photos that imagine a broader world behind the images we've seen on popular album covers.  

    We've got a pensive Justin Bieber on the cover of his "My World" album. All is well until the image is zoomed out to reveal what's really going on. Bieber in cuffs getting arrested by a police officer. 

    We've got Adele on the cover of 19, which, when zoomed out, reveals her to actually have been in some kind of zombie movie. We've got that baby from the cover of that Nirvana album who looks as happy as can be...until we zoom out and realize he's about to be eaten by sharks.

    Check them all out here

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