Cannes Lions Is Over, Maurice Levy Is Getting Back To Work And The Chinese Are Spying On Ad Agencies

Well, Cannes Lions happened. adam&eveDDB cleaned up taking home 4 Grand Prix for Harvey Nichols. Alas, the Festival is over and it's time to get back to the mundane practice of creating working-class ads that sell stuff versus winning awards. With that in mind, Publicis CEO Maurice Levy is wasting no time refocusing his energy on less-than-massive acquisition deals, setting his sights on bolstering the digital side of the agency's business. Putting the Publicis-Omnicom debacle behind him, Levy said: "I am 100 percent focused on the future. I am not very much interested in the past; it is the end of the story. I am focusing on how we are going to sharpen our strategy." And about Sir Martin Sorrell's continued lambasting of the debacle, Levy added: "It is silly to have this kind of war. I would prefer to see Martin using the British sense of humor, which is so witty and so interesting." And on the magnitude of his planned deals, Levy said: "No one should dream about huge acquisitions. There will be some reasonable-sized ones. They will be all in digital."

Now, this is juicy. We're all very familiar with the fact that spies exist in this world. For governments. For corporations. But inside ad agencies? That's what Epoch Times reporter Joshua Philipp recently dug into in a two-part series for Manhattan Week. In the piece, Philipp reports Casey Fleming, CEO of counter-intelligence firm BlackOps, said his firm has confirmed the Chinese have put a target on American ad agencies as a backdoor into the doings of Fortune 500 companies. Philipp explains, writing: "Many of the larger ad companies deal with market intelligence and are often given proprietary information under nondisclosure agreements. This includes each company’s business strategy, planned products, market research, and information on the weaknesses of its competitors. What we see -- and what we know that they [Chinese spies] want -- is any kind of market and negotiation strategies.' They also want pricing data because they want to undercut others. They intend to manipulate markets.” Hide those briefs and research reports, people!

Oh, and while you were all focused on Cannes Lions last week, PornHub announced their selection of its first creative director. The porn site held a contest that solicited work and promised to offer a job to the person who sent in the best work. The focus was to create safe-for-work ads that would appeal to a broad audience and acknowledge the fact that, well, everyone's into sex whether or not they like to admit it. The winner of the contest for the best SFW multimedia advertising campaign is Nuri Gulver, 24, hailing from Istanbul, Turkey. Gulver’s campaign, titled “All You Need Is Hand” beat out the final 15 due to its inherent mass appeal and ease of penetration to different advertising platforms. Gulver will be awarded a year-long paid contract with PornHub and will be in charge of future ad campaigns and creative content creation.

Remember Jordan Zimmerman? That flamboyant (some might say pompous) Fort-Lauderdale ad man who promised to...wait for it...give an office tour to the person who most impressed him? OK, so he's offering a bit more than an office tour. The prize, which was awarded to Philadelphia-based John Hricik, includes a 3-day, 2-night stay in Fort Lauderdale during which Zimmerman will, yes, give an office tour but also regale Hricik with stories of motivation and success. Of Hricik, Zimmerman said, “Out of all the entries we received, John’s was the most creative -- and the most sincere. I know he’s going to come in prepared to fire questions at me and that he’ll take the information and run with it. I’m very glad he entered the contest. John’s going places.” You can watch Hricik's winning entry here .
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  • CP+B's Andrew Keller: Failure Isn't So Bad

    In an interview with The Guardian, Crispin Porter + Bogusky CEO Andrew Keller shared his thoughts on failure and how failure can fuel future success.

    When Keller was in college, he intended to become a doctor. That didn't go so well. Of that time in his life. Keller said, “I was at a very small college in a very small town. And having failed, I decided I’d stay in that town for the summer and work as a cook in this restaurant. I wanted to know: how bad was failure? I’d seen my dominant dream, to be a doctor, come crashing down. And it was like, okay -- let’s explore this a little bit.”

    Of the lessons he learned during this supposed failure, Keller added, “I was supposed to be a doctor, so staying in a little town and working in a restaurant -- that was not something that figured in my hopes and dreams. But I did that, and it gave me confidence. Because it wasn’t so bad. Failure isn’t so bad.”

    And even though society and culture view failure as taboo and something to certainly avoid, Keller says we all should resist this line of thinking. Because failure is most certainly going to happen. That's what he tells his kids. He says, "failure is going to happen to all of us. It is going to happen to you.” So embrace it and learn from it.

  • Morals in Advertising: Paleo Blogger Does Voiceover Work For Coca-Cola and KFC

    As proof yet again that morals are nonexistent in advertising, it's been revealed that paleo food blogger  Charlotte Carr has been doing voiceover work for the likes of crap food brands KFC, Coca-Cola and Cadbury's (actually, actual chocolate minus all the added sugar isn't bad for you, according to the Paleo diet). 

    Carr authored the cookbook, Bubba Yum Yum: The Paleo Way for New Mums, Babies and Toddlers, but it was shelved earlier this month by publisher Pan Macmillan Australia after it was reportedly dubbed "potentially deadly for babies" by health experts. Undaunted, co-author Pete Evans, said: "Charlotte, Helen (co-author Helen Padarin) and I are thrilled to announce that "Bubba Yum Yum The Paleo Way” will be a proudly independent digital worldwide release in April with print to follow."

    Carr's talent agency, RML Voices, has confirmed that Carr has be doing voiceover work for seven years. She also does voiceover work for CVHerry Ripe, a chocolate and cherry concoction from Cadbury.
  • Minneapolis Agency Periscope Reaping Benefits of Twitter's Periscope Launch

    Unless you've been living under the proverbial rock, you've certainly heard about Twitter’s launch of Periscope, a live-streaming app that aims to supplant the other recently launched live-streaming app, Meerkat.

    For the past week, the agency has had thousands of people tweet at its @Periscope Twitter handle which it has had since 2009. You see, most don't realize that the Twitter handle of Twitter-owned Periscope is @PersicopeCo, not @Periscope. Even tech journalist Walt Mossberg mistakenly used @Periscope when mentioning the launch.

    Of the sure to be continuous mix up, Periscope (the agency) Brand Manager Bridget Jewell said: "It's been every social media person's dream. Like a kid waking up on Christmas morning, but with tons of Twitter notifications." 

    Of course, all of this unwarranted attention will most assuredly become bothersome and downright annoying very soon. It's sort of like asking people to tweet @FordCo when trying to reach Ford Motor Company.
  • Mad Men Opening Credit Bench Turned Into Actual Bench

    From now until the end of summer, those passing by the Time-Life building, home to the "Mad Men" fictional SC&P agency, will have the chance to sit on a bench crafted to look just like the bench in the opening credits of "Mad Men."

    The 12-foot bench was designed by Pentagram and consists of just two pieces -- a half-inch thick rolled steel plate seat and a 10-foot cast-concrete base. 

    So if you've got a hankering to sidle up to Don Draper (or whomever that silhouette turns out to be) then now's your chance.

  • That Agency That Just Launched A New Web Site Has Now Done Something Newsworthy

    The Brandon Agency -- which, ahem, just launched a new Web site, has just done something a bit more newsworthy. On Friday, March 20, the agency closed its Charleston office so that employees could take the day to volunteer for Operation Home, a non-profit that helps people remain in their homes by increasing home safety and accessibility.

    The agency’s staff spent the day in Hollywood, S.C., with Operation Home building a wheelchair ramp to enable an area resident to get in and out of their home safely. The result was a 29-foot wheelchair ramp to provide easy access for the homeowner.

    Of the effort, The Brandon Agency VP Media Director Shelby Greene said: “As a business organization, The Brandon Agency believes that we have a responsibility to serve others and give back in our surrounding communities. It’s wonderful to be a part of an agency that sees the importance of serving those in need and encourages us to take the time to do just that as a team. We believe Operation Home serves a valuable purpose and we are thrilled to jump on board with them.”

    Yes, that's much, much better that touting the launch of a new Web site.
  • This Ad Agency Now Makes Its Client's Hamburgers

    In the continuing shift away from the actual duties of, you know, creating advertising, 72andSunny has created a new spicy burger for Carl's Jr. The agency came up with the burger concept, named it and designed the packaging -- but they also developed the burger's ingredients. 

    Of the involvement, 72andSunny CCO Glenn Cole said: “We don’t look at our job as being an ad agency or marketing agency. We see our job as being an accelerator of business.”

    An accelerator of business. Well, it's good to know that an agency now thinks that creating advertising to help sell a product is now so boring that they would rather create the product as well. Of course, there's nothing really wrong with that. After all, advertising people are creative. So why not help develop creative food?
  • 11 Pieces of Career Advice From Mad Men's Peggy Olson

    In an LA Times Entertainment piece, you can find 11 pieces of career advice for women that are based on the Peggy Olson character from Mad Men. And we all know Peggy, who rose from obscurity to full on executive fame over the course of the series, has learned a lot and has much to share.

    Advice ranges from not relying on your femininity to get ahead to demanding appropriate work space to taking power when it comes your way to maintaining a professional relationship even when there is a lot of personal baggage to never fall in love with your married boss.

    Peggy's been through a lot. She's grown professionally and personally. And she's become wise with advice to share. We'll see her a few more times as Mad Men makes its final run this Spring.

  • Yannick Bollore Is Perfectly Happy Havas Isn't Huge

    In the advertising holding company world, which is run exclusively by men, and in the regular world which, some would argue, is still run by men, there is and always has been a fixation with size. And size in the sense that bigger is always better. That line of thinking runs rampant from the boardroom to the bedroom. 

    But not everyone thinks bigger is better and while "being huge" is good if you're in a porn flick, that's not always the case in business. Havas CEO Yannick Bollore has no desire to be the biggest holding company. In fact, he thinks Havas is perfectly sized. He says, "Havas has the ideal scale. We are the fittest group in the industry today and our size is the key to our current success." 

    And on his competitor's fixation with swelling to ever larger girth, Bollore adds, "It'll just make us slower. I do not want to be the biggest. This obsession is nonsense, and for what?" 

    What's that saying? "It's not the size that matter. It's how you use it."

    So take that Sorrell and Levy. Bigger is not always better. Especially when you're trying to hook up with...um...a smaller brand.
  • Mad Men's Jon Hamm Just Completed 30 Days of Alcohol Rehab

    Well -- this is sad, but it has a happy ending. Mad Men star Jon Hamm recently completed 30-day stint at Silver Hill Hospital in New Canaan, Connecticut for alcohol addiction. One could joke about that mirroring his Mad Men character, Don Draper, but I'll leave that one alone.

    In a statement made by Hamm's publicist, Annett Wolf, Hamm has strong support from his girlfriend, actress Jennifer Westfeldt. Hamm checked into Silver Hill at the end of February.

    Hamm will make his final appearances as Don Draper as the remaining episodes of the last season of Mad Men kick off April 5.
  • Like A Car Dealer Screaming 'Come On Down!' This Agency Has Announced 'Limited Time Discounts'

    If there were anything an ad agency could do to further remove itself from trusted business partner and thrust itself ever deeper into insignificant vendor hell, it would be to actually put out a press release touting the fact that it's offering "a limited time promotion on all media packages."

    The release adds: "SEO SEM, infographics, animations, responsive websites, copywriting and PPC management are also included in this sales event."

    And in a supremely dumbed-down explanation of marketing that treats its audience like uninformed children, the release continues: "Advertising can be incredibly complex. Fortunately agency’s consultants can help streamline and simplify marketing efforts. A single campaign has many components, all of which must work together successfully for the plan to succeed."

    So if you need to be schooled on advertising or need "up to a 10% discount" on your next campaign, give a shout out to Eye to Ad Media  (http://www.eyetoad.com/) whose URL, oddly, spells "eye toad" -- bringing up an entirely different image than that of a professional ad agency.
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