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 Australia -- because for the last four days everyone in America has been in a turkey coma and not doing anything newsworthy, at least in the advertising space -- the Media Federation of Australia, in partnership with the Australian Association of National Advertisers, has unveiled its Australia Transparency Framework.
The Framework is a set of guidelines to help the industry tackle ongoing fraud and transparency issues in advertising, particularly in programmatic. An email to MFA members read: “One of the challenges our industry has faced this year, both globally and locally, is in the area of a perceived lack of transparency by media agencies in relation to value extraction and the resulting impact this has had on our industry’s reputation. The MFA Board, working with PwC, set out early in the year to better understand the issue and determine how the MFA can play a positive role on an area that sits squarely within the bounds of agency/client commercial in confidence dealings.”
The Framework addresses and sets guidelines for media agency rebates, commissions, agency trading desks, ethics and proper steps for disclosure.
Of the direction the MFA took, the email continued: “A number of different avenues have been explored, including compulsory and opt-in compliance processes and member codes. However, following extensive consultation, we believe advertisers' own compliance processes and sound agency/advertiser contracts are of much greater importance. As a result, the MFA Transparency Framework has been developed in conjunction with the AANA, to set expectations for agencies and advertisers in the key areas of advertisers' concern.”
Last Wednesday as the entire ad industry and all of America was preparing for four days of turkey-infused rest, relaxation and football watching, DDB Chicago posted a cute Instagram video.
In the video, which is shot in slow motion, several DDB Chicago employees help demonstrate the importance of canned cranberry.
It's just a bit funnier than your standard agency holiday greeting. You can watch the video here.
In remembrance of Havas Health Art Director Christophe Foultier who lost his life in the Paris attack November 13, the agency has launched a giving campaign in concert with #GivingTuesday that will benefit Foultier's family, his wife and two children. To date, the campaign has raised $3,816.
#GivingTuesday, which occurs the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, marks the traditional beginning of the holiday giving season and is designed to bring people together in the spirit of giving. In 2014, 30,000 partners around the world participated.
Foultier, 39, lived in the western suburb of Paris, Courbevoie and was among the 130 people killed by four men with assault rifles during the massacre at Bataclan concert hall. In addition to his career in advertising, Foultier was also a musician who played bass guitar for more than 20 years, most recently with a newly formed band called Nite Nite. Along with his best friend, Randy Fagnaud, the pair were about to complete the band's first album.
In an open letter to the advertising community, Havas Global CEO Donna Murphy wrote, "We stand together in support of France and our Havas Health agency in Paris in mourning Christophe Foultier, a dear member of our team who lost his life in the massacre at the Bataclan last Friday. And now we can stand together to reach out to Christophe’s wife and children and help ensure that their future is financially secure."
Havas agencies, along with the entire global advertising community, can participate in the #GivingTuesday initiative now through Tuesday, December 1 by heading to a website the agency created in honor of Foultier, All4Chris.com (http://www.all4chris.com). On the site -- and on the donation sites the site leads to -- anyone can share memories they may have had with Christophe and make donations in support of Fortier's family.
After having founded and worked at Mother New York since 2003, Andrew Deitchman -- who left the agency in September -- has decided it is time for something different. Deitchman has launched The New Stand, a 150-square-foot shop located in the Union Square subway station in New York.
The New Stand will sell everything from art supplies to bags to cosmetics to snacks on a rotating basis that will see new and different items populate the store on a weekly or even daily basis. Items will sell for 20 to 50% less than elsewhere because of partnerships that Deitchman has set up with brands and media companies. Some items will even be free.
Of the setup, Co-Founder and COO Lex Kendall said: "The idea is to give people everyday conveniences by being a launch pad for brands to push product." In addition to sharing revenue on sales of items with ongoing fees, the store will have a free app that will be populated by ad-supported content from various media companies including Time as well as products from eBay.
In an about face that, unbelievably, has everything to do with common sense and nothing whatsoever to do with the usual agency-stye thinking when it comes to the latest and greatest social media toy, ad agencies are shying away from Snapchat.
Ever since Snapchat launched its ad program and priced it at approximately $500,000 per ad, agencies have been skittish about making a commitment to the social network. Along with the high price tag, there has been concern over the ability of Snapchat to provide useful metrics for campaigns. That skittishness became more prevalent when Fidelity recently slashed the valuation of its stake in Snapchat by 25%.
Even with upwards of 100 million unique visits per day, agencies and the brands they represent have said they need more concrete information about who uses the service and the ability to better measure campaign success.
Of the concern over Snapchat's measurement and targeting capabilities, RAIN COO Nick Godfrey told Reuters: "If Snapchat doesn't get that figured out, they're in trouble."
Sydney Williams, manager of social media marketing for General Electric, which just signed a deal with Snapchat for its second campaign, said: "I'm looking forward to Snapchat coming out with a little more in-depth analytics."
Early this year, Toyota ran a campaign with Snapchat but isn't sure it will continue citing (according to a representative who wished to remain anonymous) the networks inability to provide better targeting capabilities.
However, even though a recent Coke campaign on Snapchat saw 75% of users skip the ad after three seconds, Coca-Cola North America Senior VP of Content Emmanuel Seuge said: "Snapchat has earned a seat at the table in terms of the options that we look at for consumer engagement.
While the company has raised $1.2 billion from investors and is said to be valued at $16 billion, it lost $128 million in the first 11 months of 2014 according to a leaked financial statement and, during the same time period, had $3.1 million in revenue. Snapchat did not launch its advertising program until October of 2014. Re/code estimates Snapchat could hit $50 million in revenue by the end of 2015.
Saatchi & Saatchi LA, Saatchi & Saatchi New York and Team One received perfect scores of 100 percent on the 2016 Corporate Equality Index, a national benchmarking survey and report on corporate policies and practices related to LGBT workplace equality which is conducted by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. The three agencies join the ranks of 407 major U.S. businesses that also earned top marks this year.
Of the perfect score, Saatchi & Saatchi Executive Director of Talent Kirk Guthrie said: “We are honored to be added to the HRC Equality Index and proud to serve as yet another face of equality in the workplace. Diversity, Inclusion, and a genuine belief in equality are core to who we are and a valuable part of what drives great creative work for our clients.”
The 2016 study rated 1,027 businesses in the report, which evaluates LGBT-related policies and practices including non-discrimination workplace protections, domestic partner benefits, transgender-inclusive health care benefits, competency programs, and public engagement with the LGBT community. Saatchi & Saatchi’s score in the study earned the agency the designation as a Best Place to Work for LGBT Equality.
Other agencies/marketing firms obtaining a perfect sore were DigitasLBi, Interpublic, Leo Burnett, MSLGROUP, Ogilvy, Razorfish, Re-Sources, Starcom and ZenithOptimedia.
In the Shower Thought subreddit, Narokkurai posted: "Every ad agency should have an 'office pervert,' a boorish slob whose sole job is to review every pitch and find every innuendo/offensive subtext he can."
To other redditors who thought he was joking, Narokkurai clarified by writing: "No no no, this is to AVOID the penis. The Office Pervert is a specially trained operative, a man who can find a penis-shaped needle in a haystack, so the art department can correct it before it goes out to the public."
In a way, Narokkurai has a solid point. Far too much work seems to escape the common sense review process and not just for reasons of sexual innuendo of offensive language. Of course, it's also hard to contend with rampant -- but ever so faux -- social media "outrage" which often turns a seemingly innocuous ad into a poster child some egregious offense. In other words, there is always someone out there who will be offended by whatever is created no matter how harmless it may seem at the time of creation.
That said, it really would behoove an agency to instill a bit of common sense into the process to minimize the chance of turning the brands they work for into idiotic, insensitive dolts who are then ravaged by trolls who have nothing better to do than to sit around in their underwear and trash whatever crosses their screen.
As much as this function is needed, it's quite clear no one would pine for the job title of Office Pervert. Even if, deep down, they are one.
The Seattle outpost of Publicis has hired a new creative team. Joining the agency are James McKenna and Mathew Trego. The team will be assigned the T-Mobile account.
McKenna comes to Publicis Seattle after a period of freelance work and two years as creative director with TBWA\Chiat\Day where he worked on Google, Disney, Grey Goose, Jimmy Dean and Reebok.
Trego joins Publicis from McKinney where he was associate creative director on Travelocity, ESPN, Mizuno Golf and Sherwin Williams. Prior to his six years with McKinney, Trego spent three years with Eleven Inc. working on Apple, Callaway and the Oakland A's.
As you have undoubtedly heard, Minneapolis ad man Pat Fallon died last week. In honor of Fallon, former Fallon staffer and current partner at GdB Doug deGrood created a tribute ad that appeared as a full-page ad in the Minneapolis Star Tribune on Wednesday. But deGrood did much more than simply create a tribute ad.
deGrood, along with several other co-workers, went much further reaching out to the Minneapolis ad community asking for their participation in the ad. Over 40 agencies participated.
The ad contains the logo of all the businesses that participated along with the copy, "While any other day we might be business adversaries, today, we the members of the Twin Cities advertising community are united in expressing our gratitude to a man who literally changed the face of Minneapolis advertising. And on whose shoulders countless individuals have built their careers."
Of his efforts reaching out to the ad community, deGrood told me: "The conversations were very short, because it took people all of a nanosecond to say, 'Damn right, we want to be part of this!' And that was when everyone thought we were going to have to pay for the space. The Star Trib later graciously comped it. Classy move. Not sure they want their other advertisers knowing that though!"
You can see the ad here.
Well done, sir!
Last week Pepsi made news announcing it would get rid of its procurement department and hand that role to the marketing departments of individual brands. While many noted the move was a positive one, most brands -- according to a recent Association of National Advertisers study -- will not be dropping their procurement departments.
The study posed the following question to 148 of its members: “PepsiCo has eliminated its marketing procurement department, saying moving the function to brand teams will allow it to be ‘more efficient and effective.’ Do you think PepsiCo’s move is indicative of a wider industry trend toward the elimination of marketing procurement departments?”
Of the 148 respondents, 68 percent said they do not believe this will become a trend, 15 percent said it would and 17 percent said they did not know.
Several reasons were given by respondents explaining why they thought widespread dismantling of procurement departments will not occur:
While the findings do suggest there will not be widespread dismantling of procurement departments, another study, also from the ANA, found that just 47% of brands see value in procurement departments. In other words, no one likes procurement but everyone realizes they're stuck with it.
And if there were any doubt as to where the ANA stands on this issue, ANA EVP Bill Duggan said: “Procurement can still bring significant value to marketing. Procurement provides expertise in areas that are beyond the skill sets of most marketers. That allows marketers to do what they do best: marketing! At the vast majority of ANA member companies, marketing procurement is not going away.”
Long live red tape and bureaucracy!