Ad Agency Wants You to Live Without Facebook For 99 Days

In reaction to Facebook's secret experiment which attempted to manipulate people's moods by filtering negative and positive posts to see if it would make a person happy or sad, Dutch ad agency Just launched a campaign which urges people to quit Facebook for 99 Days. To do so, they've launched the 99 Days of Freedom Web site on which you can create a personalized countdown clock and see if you can make it 99 days without Facebook. Of the project, Just's Art Director, Merijn Straathof, said, "Like a lot of Facebook users, many of us were bothered by reports of secret mood experiments. As we discussed it internally, we noted an interesting tendency: To a person, everyone had at least a 'complicated' relationship with Facebook. Whether it was being tagged in unflattering photos, getting into arguments with other users or simply regretting time lost through excessive use, there was a surprising degree of negative sentiment. Then someone joked, 'I guess that the real question is, 'How do you feel when you don't use Facebook?' There was group laughter, followed by, 'Wait a second. That's a really good question!”

I thought Oz was an HBO prison show. No, wait. It's a classic book/movie. No, wait. It's the name of a new division of a Chicago-based ad agency. Yes, Otis Gibson, founder and chief creative officer of Gertrude Inc., has launched OZ Manufacturing Co., which will offer brand management, digital branding and packaging, and product design. Of the launch, Gibson said: "We were already doing this sort of thing for some of our clients, so we decided to take that expertise and expand it into a separate unit." Currently, the division has seven staffers and includes Mead Johnson Nutrition, ColecoVision, FarmedHere and Around the Bend Beer as clients.

It appears that Anheuser-Busch InBev will be hiring Dentsu's 360i to handle its global digital needs. Neither A-B InBev or 360i are commenting, but the selection is not expected to affect the brand's current relationship with its agency, AKQA. Predictably, the selection follows the appointment of Ricardo Dias as the brand's global VP of consumer connections in February.

Further beating the crap out of ad agencies is Unilever -- which is currently conducting a review of its digital agencies with the goal of reducing agency fees. It's just part of the brand's ongoing effort to reduce the cost of non-working media, which is made up 25% of the brand's spending in 2013. Martin Sorrell is not a fan of the practice saying, “some companies seem to think they can cost-cut their way to growth." The rise in prominence of procurement departments and an increased focus on programmatic media buying and other cost-reducing practices have re-focused advertisers away from "big idea" creative which, when you really think about it, is what advertising needs more than anything today.

Publicis Groupe is on an acquisition binge. Not to be put off by its gigantic #fail of a merger with Omnicom, the holding company has picked up South African agency Prima Integrated Marketing, which it will rename Prima Arc and include under its Publicis Africa Group Network umbrella. Also, Publicis has taken a stake in AG Partners, an African network with 14 communication agencies in 13 countries across Africa. And in Mexico, the agency has acquired Lead2Action, a digital agency which it will integrate into Publicis Mexico.
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