Writing in Forbes, Avi Dan points out the real dangers to increasingly common 120-day payment terms: interest rates. Currently, short-term credit rates are near zero, minimizing the
effect that longer terms have on agencies. But when markets turn and interest rates shoot back up to 5% or 6%, 120-day payment terms could be a death knell for some agencies. Agencies will need to
borrow at higher interest rates just to stay afloat while waiting to be paid. Of this impending doom, Dan writes: "If the ad industry is not able to thwart this move toward
extended payment terms, this could ultimately lead to the end of the agency business model, as we know it. If agencies cannot sustain themselves financially, marketers may have to resort to a new
arrangement in which Madison Avenue’s role as an independent entity could give way to a system akin to in-house agency relationship, and where agency vendors are paid directly by the client."
Social media agency Movement Strategy has announced the addition of creative strategist, Stephen Para, as executive vice president and chief growth officer. An early proponent of digital marketing strategies, Para has helped build digital departments within agencies such as Catalyst/IMG and Tom, and Dick & Harry. He also developed a boutique design agency, The Conspiracy Project, and most recently, founded social media agency Kodiak/Samurai, contributing to his reputation as a brand communications expert. Of the hire, Movement Strategy Co-Founder Jason Mitchell said: “Over the past five years we have grown from a start-up to a highly respected agency. Bringing on Stephen marks the next step in our evolution as we focus on becoming a global social media agency. Stephen’s knowledge, creativity and relationships are helping us accomplish that.”
Advertising Age has a glowing piece on what it's touting as the new ad mecca: Austin, TX. Home to Omnicom's GSD&M, Dell, Whole Foods and SXSW, the town is indeed a happening place. But don't try to drive there. The place needs no less than three more Interstates to handle the growth. Sadly, that isn't coming anytime soon. What is coming is Ad Age's Small Agency Conference. And we have no problem mentioning that here at MediaPost. We've all got our conference series to keep the publishing side of things afloat. There's no secret there. But does one biggish ad agency and one big brand really make Austin a new ad mecca? Nothing is really going to unseat New York and San Francisco as Kings of Advertising. Think about it. What would Austin really have if it didn't have SXSW, which of course is the new love child of marketers and agencies?
Remember David Lipman? He was the guy whose agency, Lipman, tanked allegedly because of financial problems at parent company Revolate resulting in lawsuits filed for non-payment of vendor invoices. Well, he's back on his feet and has been tapped as chief creative officer for Town Creative. Of the hire, Town Creative President Wendy Maitland said: “By bringing David Lipman on board as chief creative officer, Town is revolutionizing branding and marketing in the worldwide real estate industry.”
In an ingenious, holiday-themed effort designed to call attention to the importance of the Oxford comma in certain situations, San Francisco-based MUH-TAY-ZIK | HOF-FER has launched a browser bookmark-let that will automagically add missing Oxford commas.
A video accompanies the effort with clear examples as to why you really should employ the Oxford comma at times. The video says "Missing Oxford commas ruins Christmas." It then cites some unintended results such as "I was shopping for your Christmas presents, toilet paper and prunes," "We went caroling with our dogs, grandma and grandpa" and "Merry Christmas from your parents, Santa and Rudolph." Images accompany the statements to illustrate just how wrong those sentences are without the Oxford comma.So if you're ever confused as to whether or not the Oxford comma is necessary, you can recall the awkward examples given in the video.
Like the holidays? Like games? Then Deep Focus has something you might like. The agency has developed an old school interactive game called #DeepSnow. The agency developed it from scratch using Google Maps, HTML5, WebSockets, SASS, OpenLayers, and custom animations.
The aim of the game is to steer a snow plow through the streets of New York City and rescue Deep Focus employees and toys spilt by Santa from the grasps of a winter snowpocalypse. In tandem with the web experience, players use their mobile device as a game controller. Data from the phone’s gyroscope is used to power the steering wheel for the snowplow as it maneuvers around angry Yetis and actual NYC landmarks on the computer screen.
And, of course, there's a charity element to the game. Because, after all, agencies need to somehow make up for their self-centered, egotistical outlook on life they vamp the rest of the year. Virtual points earned during game play will be turned into physical toys donated to Toy For Tots.
Oh the agency holiday card. Yawn. Oh wait, not yawn! Some agencies actually put some thought into the mundane annual event. One such agency is Digitas Health LifeBrands which has come up with something a little more meaningful. The agency has launched HUG, a social media campaign which aims to generate awareness of charities and provide a monetary donation from the agency to charities which are nominated by employees.
In its fifth year, the program involves employees from the New York, Philadelphia, London, and San Francisco offices who have nominated 24 charities to compete to win money. Each week visitors to the Group HUG Facebook page will vote for their favorite charity by “liking” and “sharing” the logos from the charities. At the end of the campaign, which runs through the end of December, there will be four winning charities.Check out the Group HUG video trailer here and be sure to visit the Group HUG Facebook page to vote for your favorite charity. After all, what better way to celebrate the season of giving than with a nice big Group HUG?
What if you had to pitch Christmas to a focus group? As we all know, focus groups are a disastrous means of coming to consensus on anything. And that's pretty much what happens in this video created by Ogilvy & Mather Paris.
After explaining some of the elements of Christmas such as a fat old man with a big beard, a little girl asks, "Why do I have to sit on his lap?" Just let that one sink in for a minute. Ick. Another woman offers up, "You know who else sneaks into your house through the chimney? Rapists." Ouch! This isn't going well.
The confusion continues with focus group members wondering why Christmas is proposed to be in December instead of the much warmer August. And why the fat guy gets all the credit when he doesn't even buy all the gifts. One panelist even claimed proposed Christmas carols make him feel horny. No, not going well at all. And let's not even get into New Year's Eve.
Copywriting legend Dick Rich passed away from a heart attack on November 1. He was 84. His daughter, Karen Rich, made his death known last week. Rich, along with Mary Wells and Rich
Greene, was one of the founders of the storied Wells Rich Green ad agency and creator of classic 60's work for Alka-Seltzer and Benson & Hedges.
He was known for his confident approach to his work telling The New York Times in 1983: “Clients don’t come to me for O.K. advertising. They come to me for great, great advertising.”
A real man’s man who will be missed.
Last month, we reported Canadian Agency, Cossette, was in talks with Chinese agency, BlueFocus Communications Group, to be acquired. That deal has been sealed for $210 million.
The sale involved the acquisition of a majority stake in Cossette's parent company, Quebec City-based Vision7 International, whose assets also include PR firm Citizen Relations. Of the acquisition, BlueFocus CEO Oscar Zhao said, “Having Vision7 join the BlueFocus family will help us gain better access to the North American market and emphasizes our ‘To Be Global’ strategy."
In its apparent quest for global domination BlueFocus last year acquired London-based social agency We Are Social as well as a 20 percent stake in PR firm Huntsworth.