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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  • Martin Sorrell Says IOC Needs To Reach Millennials Between Two-Year Olympic Cycle

    Speaking at the International Olympic Committee meeting on Sunday, WPP CEO Martin Sorrell said the Committee needs to make it a priority to connect with and stay connected with younger generations during the two-year span between games.

    Pointing out that live coverage is the IOC's biggest asset, Sorrell said: "Live sports coverage is the last bastion of high-value traditional programming. Most consumers want to watch videos when and where they choose. But they can't do that with live sports. Its power is its immediacy."

    Sorrell suggests that between games the IOC increase its presentation of on-demand content and presence in social media, with the goal of maintaining and generating new excitement for the next Olympics.

  • Yawn. Yet Another Marketer Argues Agencies Are Dead

    Funny thing. For years now, hundreds of articles have been written about the death of the traditional ad agency. Another funny thing -- most of them are still around. Why? Because any good company, no matter what the industry, follows the money. If brands want a million-dollar branding campaign consisting solely of tweets, that’s what the agency will do. If the brand wants to Snapchat its CEO Periscoping a Reddit AMA, that's what the agency will do.

    While it's certainly true that companies that only create TV, radio and print ads don't exist anymore, it's not because they closed up shop and called it a day. No, they got their shit together and learned all about this newfangled content marketing thingamajig. 

    So it gets kind of tiresome when upstarts like a company that touts that it "instantly organizes the world’s social and digital signals by location, giving an unprecedented level of understanding of what’s happening anywhere in the world, in real time" begin penning articles saying ad agencies are dying. 

    It has already happened. Agencies have moved on. 

    And yet, penning a piece for Mashable, Banjo CMO Stacey Epstein writes: "Ad agencies and brand advertisers persist in focusing on that perfect 30-minute spot. It's what they know and what they're good at, but they're failing to reach their audience who now spends their time in an entirely different place."

    To a certain degree, Epstein is right. But many of these agencies that are still stuck in the land of the :30 second (and I'm quite sure she meant second and not minute) TV ad are also forging ahead with marketing programs that incorporate the kind of media that's being consumed today the way TV was consumed yesterday. 

    In the piece, Epstein does point out super-smart work that brands have done such as components of Bud Light's Up For Whatever and Under Armour's Giselle Bundchen campaign -- which, by the way, involved an agency.

    My point is that it's time to stop screaming "The ad agency is dead!" Because it's not. It has just become something else. Something that is better suited to today's media habits and consumption patterns. Yes, there will always be Super Bowl and Cannes Lions stupidity -- but hey, ad agencies are filled with self-centered, egotistical, self-esteem award-craving people who would all curl up into a fetal position if they didn't get the occasional pat on the back.

    So let them have their Super Bowl ads and their Cannes Lions. Because maybe, just maybe, they'll also keep creating cool shit that matches today's media consumption patterns.

  • This Copywriter Thinks Successful Female Ad Execs Can Be 'Back-Stabby' Mean Girls

    Answering a Quora question, "What is it like to work at an advertising agency?", advertising copywriter and critic Caroline Zelonka wrote, among other highly informative and insightful information about working in ad agencies: "It all sounds like heaven, right? It is, but agencies can also be high-pressure, with lots of competition and politicking. The agency environment is also male-dominated, especially in the higher creative echelons. Women who succeed can often be back-stabby, and in my experience, not very nurturing when it comes to younger female talent. This is one thing I did not like about working for big agencies; a lot of the women reminded me of the Mean Girls movie."

    Yes, I am fully aware this question was answered two years ago so you don't have to get all over me for that one. Zelonka does offer some very valuable -- and timeless -- information to those thinking of working in an ad agency. Having spent many years there myself, I can completely concur with her assessment.

    She points out that it can be "awesome" and rewarding both personally and professionally. She points out the many perks that come with working in an ad agency, and equally, the many long hours and client frustrations that go hand in hand with all the awesomeness.

    Perhaps you've already read her Quora post. Perhaps you haven't. It's worth a read if you're interested in considering an ad agency career or if you have been asked this question by another person who's interested.

  • These 3 Agency Guys Are Walking 125 Miles To Pitch A Piece Of New Business

    Three guys from Italian ad agency Le Balene decided to do something a bit different to pitch a piece of business. They decided to walk from their agency in Milan to a prospect's office in Reggio Emilia, a distance of 125 miles.

    Agency CEO Marco Andolfato along with creatives Davide Canepa and Francesco Guerrera left their office last Friday, and if all goes according to plan, the trio will arrive at the prospect's office today, Friday.

    The brand they are pitching is a mobile accessories provider and the purpose of the trek, according to Andolfato, is to demonstrate just how mobile society has become and how much actual work can get done outside the confines of an office because of the mobile tools available today.

    Elaborating on this, Andolfato told AdWeek: "We want to demonstrate that technology is an enabler of whatever you want to do. Every worker is a mobile one these days, and every worker can use technology to work better. As advertising people, to work better we need to take more time to think, and technology is helping us to savor slowness, and to think faster. So, we decided to walk the 200 kilometers from our office to the client's, working on the presentation while on the journey."

    Here's a video of them on the excursion. They've hashtagged their journey #mobileworkers and their experiences will be incorporated into their pitch once they arrive.

    Andolfato explains: "We are preparing a movie — shooting during the days and editing it during the evenings. This should exemplify the idea, but just in case, we're preparing 4/5 strategic slides. Of course, we're planning to enter the meeting room with backpacks and boots."
  • Arnold Worldwide Wins Association of Realtors, Will Teach Digital Millennials The Value of Human Realtors

    Increasingly, there aren't many people who know what a Walkman is. And it seems, there are a lot of Millennials who don't really understand what a realtor is or how this non-digital human can add value beyond the mouse click to the home-buying process.

    The National Association of Realtors just awarded its account to Arnold Worldwide after having been handled by Most for the past 20 years. Arnold will be charged with making the realtor relevant again.

    Of the win, Arnold Global President Pam Hamlin said: “Arnold is tasked with helping NAR reclaim the Realtor’s role in the overall home-buying process, and to educate millennials on what a Realtor does and the value they can provide."

    Hamlin adds that Arnold will “target millennials through an integrated cross-channel campaign, which will center primarily on television and digital activations.” Work is expected to break in the fourth quarter.

    Of choosing Arnold over incumbent Most which also participated in the pitch, National Association of Realtors Senior VP of Communications Stephanie Singer said: “Most participated in the pitch and made it to the final round. The decision ultimately was not about the past quality of their work, only an interest in moving in a different direction.”

     

  • Hey Creatives, Six Out of Ten People Say Your Twitter Ads Are Irrelevant

    On the upside, a recent eMarketer report found Twitter ad revenue will rise 62.1% to $1.34 billion in 2015. On the not so upside, a June 2015 Cowen and Company research report found that 58.7% of people don't find Twitter ads relevant to their needs. Only 3.1% said Twitter ads were relevant and insightful.

    In terms of how often people notice Twitter ads, 56.6% of respondents saw ads at least every 20 tweets. Breaking that down a bit, 5.8% saw ads every 5 tweets; 18.2% every 10 tweets; 17.1% every 15 tweets and 15.5% every 20 tweets.

    And while better creative will certainly improve these numbers, the onus stretches beyond ad creativity to targeting capability. While Twitter currently has targeting capabilities, these capabilities will very likely improve with the recent acquisition of TellApart and a partnership with Google's DoubleClick.
  • For 11 Years, Woo Creative Founder Has Been Wishing Arnold Schwarzenegger Would Show Up At His 'Arnold Day' Event

    Way back in 2004, University of Central Florida graduate and Woo Creative Founder Ryan Boylston began hosting an event called Arnold Day. Arnold Day, which started with just Boylston and a few friends gathering at Orlando bar Lazy Moon to watch Schwarzenegger movies on the actor's birthday, has grown to a 1,200-person event.

    Of the event's genesis, Boylston said: "Way back when, it was a simple concept… two Arnold fans, a 19-inch TV, a VCR -- that's right, a VCR -- and the greatest pizza/beer establishment in Orlando."

    Each year, diehard Arnold fans showed up in their favorite Arnold movie attire, to share their love for Mr. "I'll be back!"

    On how the day will go down, Lazy Moon Co-Owner Tim Brown said: "Ryan's awesome. On Arnold Day, we'll serve German or Austrian beers, bratwurst pizza and the event has caught on with both employees and customers. We're not sure Arnold will show up, but it's a fun day either way."

    The event also supports Boylston's fundraising goals, which include collecting $20,000 which will be donated to Boynton Beach-based CJ Foundation which provides financial resources to families with special needs children.

    Of the charity side of the effort, Boylston said: "The monies we raise are for kids to receive therapy not covered by insurance. This therapy can change the trajectory of a child's life."

    Donations will be collected at the Arnold Day event but anyone can visit the Arnold Day website on which contributions can be made. 

    This year, Arnold Day will be Aug. 1 at Lazy Moon Pizza, 11551 University Blvd., in Orlando.

    Come on, Arnold, show up for Ryan, won't you?

  • New Agency to Focus on Developing Google Chrome-Friendly HTML5 Display Ads

    I suppose it's entirely possible that there are hundreds of companies with the word "shift" in their name. And here's another; one that might raise an eyebrow with marketing agency Shift Communications. Why? Because ShiftRGB.com (which, anachronistically, displays only 1995ish "coming soon" text).

    Petrol Advertising Motion Director David Edeburn is launching ShiftRGB, a creative firm he says he's launching in response to Google Chrome's September 15th move to discontinue auto-playing Flash media. ShiftRGB will specialize in creating HTML5 display advertising for ad agencies transitioning to HTML5 display ads.

    For the past 15 years, Edeburn has worked as an HTML5 animator, Flash animator, creative director and web developer at WOO, Arsonal and Petrol.

     

  • More And More PR Agencies Continue to Swoop In On Ad Agency Territory

    Given the current focus on content, it really isn't all that surprising that public relations agencies are morphing into full-blown marketing agencies. After all, public relations agencies were always the masters of manipulation when it came to the written journalistic word. 

    The CEO of Zeno Group, Barby Siegel, says her previously PR-focused agency has become "an integrated communications agency born from PR. We have cracked the code in terms of the kind of agency we are and the kind of work we want to do. Now that does not mean we all look the same all over the world, but it means we are all focused on integrated communications born from PR. In terms of Edelman, we’ve also cracked the code as a sister agency that is not better or worse, but different. We have our own culture and fill a niche in the marketplace."

    And on the creative aspects of her changed agency, she adds: "To come up with a big creative idea is brave, but to then say we are not going to go ahead with that idea because it’s not going to sell more phones or tablets, bottles of juice or whatever is even braver. Our guiding light every day is the fearless pursuit of the unexpected, but it is not creativity for the sake of it."

    None of this, of course, is surprising. While the "big idea" is still central to the success of any good marketing program, where that big idea plays out -- increasingly in native advertising, social media and other forms of written content rather than TV commercials -- has always been the strong suit of a PR agency versus an ad agency. Given this, it's only logical that PR agencies lay down a bigger footprint.
  • Saatchi & Saatchi Still Pimping 25th Anniversary New Directors' Showcase, This Time With MoMA Screening

    Following its premiere at the Palais des Festivals during the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity and a showing in Milan on July 15, Saatchi & Saatchi continues to celebrate the 25th anniversary of its New Directors’ Showcase, this time with a New York City screening event at the Museum of Modern Art Tuesday, August 25.

    Saatchi & Saatchi will present the New Directors Showcase featuring this year’s directing talent as well as the U.S. premiere of “25X25”: an "experiment in film" directed by 25 New Directors' Showcase alumni who have been recognized for their successful film, television, and advertising careers.

    The “25x25” directors include Daniel Kleinman, Dawn Shadforth, Floria Sigismondi, Jonathan Glazer, Michel Gondry, Ivan Zacharias, Traktor, Dante Ariola, Ringan Ledwidge, Antoine Bardou-Jacquet, Carl Erik Rinsch, Noam Murro, Tim Bullock, Dougal Wilson, James Rouse, Jamie Rafn, Fredrik Bond, Philippe Andre, Jake Scott, Ne-o, David Wilson, Daniel Wolfe, Ilya Naishuller, Vania Heymann, and Charlie Robins.

    Of the event, Andy Gulliman, Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide Director of Film & Content and curator of the New Directors Showcase said: “Back in 1991 an idea was conceived for a Showcase that would reflect the agency’s reputation for nurturing and developing new talent. 25 years later we are still committed to providing a global platform for new directing talent.”

    Saatchi & Saatchi New York CEO Brent Smart added: “It was a real highlight to experience the New Directors’ Showcase and 25X25 Film at Cannes this year and we couldn’t be more excited to bring this event to New York. I hope our clients, partners, and people find the same inspiration from the next generation of filmmakers.”

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