An agency is in stealth mode! Or at least they were. But wait. An agency in stealth mode? We thought only tech startups had a stealth mode. Anyway, what do we know? We're just a journalist.
Speaking of journalists -- or rather, stealth mode agencies (or both) -- Ready State, a just-out-of-stealth mode ad agency has hired Wall Street Journal reporter Ben Worthen to join the
agency's team of "trained reporters who are fusing journalism and content marketing." Fusing journalism and content? WTF. Only an ad agency could coin a phrase like that. And only an agency could
actually say, "We want to be the first marketing agency to help a brand win a Pulitzer." Well, hell, can a journalist win a Lion? Because we'd sure as hell love to go Cannes and pick one up!
Why is no one comparing that GoDaddy ad, which featured Jean-Claude Van Damme doing splits in a bakery, to that Cannes Lions-winning Epic Split ad for Volvo? Yeah, sure -- Van Damme's bakery split is far less epic but it's a hell of a lot more real. And why isn't GoDaddy screaming copycat? Maybe it's all moot. Maybe GoDaddy was too busy selecting a new ad agency to notice. Yeah, the brand has hired Barton F. Graf 9000 as its new agency. Which is probably a good thing. Barton F. Graf 9000 and the craziness it's displayed in its work for Little Caesars appears to be the perfect match for GoDaddy's apparent penchant for kookiness. New work will debut in September. And in a quote from an ad agency exec that is less about platitudes and more about stuff that matters, Barton F. Graf 9000 CEO Gerry Graf said: “GoDaddy is an iconic brand, which makes this an exciting challenge, and really, our team is much like a GoDaddy customer because we are a small agency with big ideas. GoDaddy has some innovative tools to help people who own their own business. I know this because I own my own business and I use GoDaddy’s tools. We're going to let everybody else in the world in on this.” Hmm. Is he also a member of Hair Club For Men?
Aiming to bolster its digital offerings, Publicis Groupe has acquired e-business consulting firm Crown Partners. No one is saying for how much, but the acquisition will become part of Publicis Groupe's Razorfish unit -- which it seems needs all the help it can get these days. Of the acquisition, Razorfish CEO Pete Stein said: “One of the biggest trends we’ve seen over the last five years is technology platforms are playing a bigger and bigger role in this transformation. It can be a huge enabler in helping clients go to market differently but also transform the way they deliver products and services.” That's about as clear as Razorfish co-founders explaining what they did back in the dot-com era -- but hey, what do you actually expect from an agency CEO? Everything's all roses all the time.
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.