Epic Used Car Ad Brings Attention to Australian Digital Agency

Jumping aboard the whole used car ad trendlet, Australian ad man David Johns has created a dubstep infused, pulse-pounding ad for his old 1999 Holden Barina which borrows heavily from every car ad cliche you have ever seen. The video, with over one million views since its launch July 13, ends with a plea to tweet Johns an offer or to visit BuyMyBarina.com on which the vehicle's "specs" are highlighted. The whole thing may or may not be a promotion for Johns' agency, Sydney-based digital agency Chimney Group. Tiny links from the BuyMyBarina site point to the agency's Web site. Either way, this little bit of work ups the wacky used car ad game. And who can blame an ad exec for garnering notoriety any way he can? After all, pretty much everything we ad folks do is self-promotional anyway.

That little New York digital agency that the pot likes to call black, Kettle, is amping up its bi-coastal presence with two new hires -- one in San Francisco and one in New York. Amanda Hughes-Watkins will join the San Francisco office as creative director and Crystal Ginn will join the New York office as senior producer. Hughes-Watkins joins Kettle after spending the last two years as a creative director at Digitas San Francisco, where she led the creative work for eBay, Paypal and Kraft/Taco Bell Sauces. While there, her excellence in digital advertising was recognized with a Clio, Webby, MIXX, OMMA, and Communication Arts award. Prior to Digitas San Francisco, Amanda worked at R/GA San Francisco on Microsoft. Ginn comes to Kettle with experience as director of production at AREA 17, where she led work with brands like Google Chrome, Billboard, SPIN and Dering Hall. Prior to that, she worked at agencies including Razorfish, Syrup (LBi), Coty Prestige and createthe group with Axe, Marc Jacobs, Gwen Stefani Fragrances, Bottega Veneta, Calvin Klein X Underwear, Polo Ralph Lauren, David Yurman and Juicy Couture. She started her career at JWT and later served at Siegel+Gale.

Canadian marketing agency, Pivotstack took it upon themselves to determine the 50 most social ad agencies. Taking a look at each agency's presence on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn along with Alexa, the agency arrived at the list. Topping the list is Ogilvy & Mather with a score twice as high as the number two agency, IDEO. Given Ogilvy & Mather's social presence at Cannes and throughout the year, it's really no surprise that the agency snagged the top spot on the list. Rounding out the top five are Wieden+Kennedy, JWT and Leo Burnett. Not that "most social" actually means anything when it comes to creating advertising that sells a client's products, but it is an indicator of an agency's willingness to embrace and engage with social media.

In more mundane (excruciatingly boring) news, McKinney has announced former TBWA\Toronto Managing Director and Chief Strategy Officer George Nguyen has joined the agency as managing director in New York. Nguyen will be charged with attracting global brands and talent to the agency. Of the hire, McKinney Chairman and CEO Brad Brinegar said: “George is a great addition to our leadership team. His infectious passion for brands and entrepreneurial spirit fit our plan for growth to a tee.” During his six years with the TBWA network, Nguyen worked with Visa, Asia Pacific Breweries, Johnny Walker, L’Oreal, Nivea, Nissan and Gatorade, among others. He was country manager of the operation in Vietnam and also helped to launch Vietnam's first professional international sports team, the Saigon Heat. Okay -- so that last part isn't so boring after all.
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  • Grey New York Sticks Annoying Millennials In Their Own Private Playpen

    Oh this is rich. Ever since the 88 million Millennials started swarming the office world, freaked out GenX and Baby Boomer managers have tried just about everything to better meld with these stereotypically self-entitled, hierarchy-agnostic, trophy-for-participation 20-somethings. Well, it seems Grey New York has found the answer.

    What's Grey's solution? They rounded up all the whiners...uh...Millennials and gave them their own playpen. No, seriously. A while back, the agency moved all its assistant account executives into one area of the office, effectively segregating them from their managers. Why? So they'll grow up and think before they speak. And that comes right from the mouth of a Millennial!

    Of the segregated office space, called Base Camp, Grey AAE Sean McNamara said, “Since I’m not sitting in front of my supervisor, I’m not able to just turn around and say, ‘Hey, this is what I think.’ It makes you think: When does this call for me to go over and talk about things, and when will an e-mail suffice?” That's right. Apparently, Millennials must be physically separated from their bosses to rescue management from an incessant stream of mindless, ill-thought-through banter.

  • Leo Burnett Eschews Holiday Silliness With Meaningful Toy Drive For Chicago Children

    It's non-stop charity action this year with ad agency holiday cards. It's as if every agency in the land is finally hanging their head in shame for the decades of trite, meaningless holiday silliness they've foisted upon us for far too long. Nice to see things changing.

    Leo Burnett Chicago is out with a program that makes donating gifts to children at Off The Street Club as easy as tweeting a photo. "Gift of Giving 2014" allows people to donate by snapping a Twitter or Instagram photo of the gift and tagging it with #GiftOfGiving2014.

    That gift image will appear on digital display gift boxes under an actual Christmas tree at Off The Street Club in Chicago's West Garfield Park neighborhood and virtually at TheGiftOfGiving.co where one can search for it using one's screenname. Once found, people can download a pre-paid postage label to ship that gift directly to Off The Street Club at no cost. Now isn't that much nicer that some silly video?

  • DigitasLBi Quiz Determines Your Ugly Holiday Sweater Preferences

    You know  that holiday sweater? The silly one that the office doofus insists upon wearing every year? Yeah, that sweater. Well now you can have one of your very own too. And all you have to do is take this Ugly Sweater quiz DigitasLBi put together.

    So head over to the agency's sweater-ific quiz site and answer a few questions such as your preference in Blizzard Survival apps, wearables, holiday party bites and what you plan to watch come 2015. You'll then be presented with a "hand-sewn" customized sweater which may or may not end up being called The Bun Toaster. And after you have taken the quiz, the agency will make a donation to Goodwill in an effort to keep everyone warm this year.

    As you take the quiz, a very nice lady, likely some agency person's grandmother, furiously works on creating a masterpiece of personalized wonderment. Now if only the sweaters were real.

  • Boston Agency Asks Santa What He Wants For Christmas

    Boston-based Captains of Industry is asking us all to turn the tables a bit on the whole Santa Claus thing. After all, year after year after year, the poor guy has to do all the giving. What if we asked Santa what he wanted for Christmas. Well, that's exactly what Captains did.

    So, what does Santa want? The agency hit the streets of Boston to find out. And here's what they found: a slap chop, a reduction of parking fees for reindeer, bigger candy canes, a satellite radio for the sleigh, a few days off for Mrs. Claus, a little less turmoil in the world for a couple of weeks, more happiness, help for drug addicted family members.

    The video ends with a simple reminder: "This holiday season, let's remember there's a man behind the beard.”

  • 10 Books Every Agency Person Should Read

    Well, at least according to Strawberry Frog Founder Scott Goodson, who has compiled a list of ten "mind-altering business books from 2014." He acknowledges that most business books simply repeat what many of us already know but these ten books (and a few honorable mentions) will truly shift your thinking and open your mind to new possibilities, according to Goodson.

    His list, compiled in a piece for Huffington Post, includes CREATIVITY INC: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration, A MORE BEAUTIFUL QUESTION: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas, THE HARD THING ABOUT HARD THINGS: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers and Sally Hogshead's HOW THE WORLD SEES YOU: Discover Your Highest Value Through the Science of Fascination, among others.

    Check out the full list and get smarter. Because the last thing this industry needs is more of the same. We already have that is spades. Let's be different, Okay?

  • This Canadian Agency Used Airbnb to Raise Money For the Homeless

    In acknowledgement of the 3,500 homeless and 15,000 at risk households in their area, Calgary-based Trigger Communications decided to tackle homelessness in Calgary this season with what they are calling "The first-ever airbnb PSA." 

    The "PSA" which the agency created for Alberta charitable organization, The Mustard Seed, consists of airbnb listings that document what it's like to be homeless. Through social media, the agency encouraged people to book a night at one of these listings for $20 -- the same amount a person in Alberta receives for social assistance. 

    To further promote the fund-raising effort, the agency placed cardboard signs around the city promoting the listings. Now isn't that better than a bunch of agency employees tossing on some Christmas costumes and prancing around the office sharing their poor acting skills? Yes. Yes, it is.

  • Agency's Bitmas Pudding Mobile Game Awards Bitcoins to Winners

    London-based WCRS decided to marry the Bitcoin trendlet with some Christmas spirit. The agency has created Bitmas Pudding, a mobile game that takes its origins from the traditional practice of placing silver coins inside a Christmas pudding. The game, just like the tradition, has players eating their way through the pudding to find the bitcoins.

    The agency sent the game to clients, prospects and friends of the agency awarding winners with various prizes including a bitcoin worth $349. Players could also choose to donate their winnings to the homeless charity St. Mungo's Broadway.

    Of the game, WCRS Head of Technology and Innovation Dino Burbidge said: "Most people have heard of Bitcoins but almost all are totally baffled by them too. The simple idea of transforming a Christmas tradition was a great opportunity for our in-house creative and digital innovation teams to have some fun and demystify Bitcoins a little. At least it'll spark an interesting conversation over Christmas dinner when the pudding come out!"

  • Agency Enlists Christopher Walken to Help Sell Holiday Cheer in A Can

    Boston-based Small Army is out with a new product it hopes will help everyone spread holiday cheer far and wide. They have put holiday cheer inside a can. Which anyone can order. No, really, it's true. And the agency will donate 100% of net proceeds to the Boston Medical Center's Preventive Food Pantry.

    As explained on the Web site, which is filled with hilarious videos including a Christopher Walken impersonator hilariously touting the product, Holiday Cheer is "a fine paste packed into the most technologically advanced chemical processing plants in all of East Asia. This paste is fused with active cultures and injected into fermented eggnog batter, which is then aged to perfection inside casks of hollowed out fruit-cakes. This process results in a smooth, buttery cream, packed with patented Festive Pheromones which saturating your synapsis with cheer and general merriment."

    So how does one use a can of Holiday Cheer? Simply spread a liberal amount on your entire face, wait until the "active ingredients" absorb into your skin and you are guaranteed cheeriness. Well, at least until January 1.

  • This Agency's Santa App Aims to Bring Christmas Magic to Children

    Agencies, it seems, are really amping up their holiday card efforts this year with many going the mobile route. Spanish agency Shakleton Group has developed SantApp, a mobile app which creates the illusion that Father Christmas or the Three Kings are moving around in one's living room to enchant the little ones. To get it to work, you enter the name of the child or children, place the phone in the room with the presents, close the door, turn off the lights.

    According to Juan Silva, executive creative director at Shackleton: “People say that technology is robbing children of their innocence. We believe that, for once, we are actually helping to give it back to them.” That's all well and good -- but a video explaining the app leads on to believe all it does is play various Santa voice and flash light. But, hey, sometimes that's all kids need.

  • AKQA Creates Awesome 3D Snowglobe For Your Phone

    AKQA decided to go mobile with its holiday card this year. The agency has introduced Winterlands, a mobile messaging site that lets you send this season’s greetings in a 3D snow globe experience.

    If you visit snow.akqa.com on any mobile device running iOS 8+ or Android 4.3.3+ and choose one of the snowscapes and write your personal message that when opened by a recipient will reveal a message inside a virtual snow globe. And shaking the phone will make it snow. The experience is really quite cool and makes use of the phone's gyroscope and accelerometer.

    Winterlands launches with one wintery and five city-inspired snowscapes including London, Paris, Portland, Tokyo and Washington DC, more cities to be added in the coming days. So grab your phone, head over to the Web site, create your own snow globe extravaganza and shoot it over to a friend.

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