Hedge Fund Investment In Interpublic Fans Flames Of Sale Rumors

Activist hedge fund Elliott Management has taken a 6.7% stake worth about $570 million in Interpublic Group, in what could be a precursor to a sale. The $24 billion hedge fund, run by Paul Singer, made a regulatory filing on Thursday indicating that IPG's shares "are undervalued and represent an attractive investment opportunity." The firm said it wants to "engage in a constructive dialogue" with the company's board of directors. A source familiar with Elliott's stake in Interpublic said it is gearing up to push the company to the auction block with hopes of attracting IPG's larger competitors as buyers. Pivotal Research Group Analyst Brian Wieser, as do many others, believes Japan's Dentsu is the likely buyer.

Right in step with the ad industry's penchant for inventing new buzzwords and job titles, CP+B has crowned account management staffer David Corns, VP director of product & brand invention. It's part of the agency's effort to grow its product innovation group headed by EVP Executive Director of Product Innovation Neil Riddell. All of this is part of a larger industry trend -- agencies getting into the business of developing products rather than just developing ad campaigns to help sell products. Which, itself, is an acknowledgement of an even bigger trend; the fact that most advertising has become pointless and agencies best do something (anything) to keep themselves afloat.

eBay has finally decided who it will work with to update its image, an effort the online auction giant began this spring. eBay has chosen WPP's MediaCom for media and Omnicom's Goodby Silverstein & Partners for creative. Of the selection, an eBay spokeswoman said: "As our brand evolves, we're constantly looking for new ways to inspire and engage our buyers and sellers around the world. We have recently engaged Goodby Silverstein & Partners and Mediacom as one of our agency partners to help us explore how to continue telling the story of eBay."

Netflix is looking to do big things in Europe. After having worked with Fallon since last September for work in the UK, the brand is gearing up for expansion into Germany, France, Austria, Belgium and Luxembourg this fall. Netflix, which just hired former Starbucks VP of Marketing Jenny Dennee McCabe as director of marketing for Europe, is in discussions with several un-named agencies for this pan-European efforts.
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  • Saatchi & Saatchi Opens Dallas Office, Will Recruit At SXSW

    Are you going to SXSW? Do you want a new job? Then, it appears, you might want to hook up with Saatchi & Saatchi, which is opening up a Dallas office and will be trolling the streets of Austin during SXSW for new hires. 

    The new office is for the agency's Team One unit, which focuses specifically on the Toyota and Lexus accounts. The agency's move to Texas is in reaction to Toyota moving its U.S. sales and marketing operations to Plano, Texas. 

    And so between barbecue and overcrowded sessions, head over to the SXSW Job Market at the JW Marriott (Floor 2). The hours are Friday, March 13 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday, March 14 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

  • MRY Hires Drones As Employees, Says They Will Be A Game Changer

    As part of its sponsorship of the New York City Drone Film Festival (yeah, apparently it's a thing), MRY put out a video which envisions what life would be like in an agency if it hired several drones as employees. 

    The comical, tongue-in-cheek video stunt has MRY CEO Matt Britton waxing eloquently just like any other agency CEO might do when talking about whatever bleeding edge, innovative, cut-through-the-clutter stunt of the week agencies are so prone to do.

    Britton talks about a crop of drones that have come into the agency with some tremendous creativity and yet the rest of the agency isn't so high on the idea complaining about the more scary elements of the drones. Britton isn't deterred. He thinks they're going to be a game changer.

    Watch the video here.
  • Saatchi & Saatchi's Kevin Roberts Says Marketing Is Now All About Table Licking

    Hmm. First, TV was dead. Then advertising was dead. Now, according to Saatch & Saatchi Worldwide CEO Kevin -- aka Mr. Lovemarks -- Roberts, marketing is dead. Now it's all about creating a "movement." Yeah, that sounds about right. The kind of movement one makes when they visit the bathroom. 

    But Roberts is a bit more eloquent saying: “You do that by figuring out how you add mystery, sensuality and intimacy to a brand. Sensuality: we feel the world in five senses. Whether you like this room or not, [the architect] Antonio Citterio designed it and all five senses are at work in here. I mean, people want to lick this table.”

    What. The. Actual. F*ck?

    If Lovemarks wasn't crazy enough, now Roberts wants us to go around licking the brands we love. What is up with that, dude?

    Apparently, though, his followers at the agency love him. One such follower put it thusly: “His personality does not transfer to paper. He overdoses on the bullshit massively, but he is a great leader and without him Saatchi & Saatchi would probably not exist.”

    Overdoses on bullshit. Yeah, that sounds about right.
  • Fuel Interactive Re-Brands to Fuel Because, Well, Typing Two Words Took Too Long

    The agency formerly known as Fuel Interactive, not to be confused with Fuel Industries -- oh wait, they changed their name too -- has changed their name to, simply, Fuel. Why? Well, as the press release says, "to better reflect the effect the addition of their capabilities has on a client's business." Okay...so the agency now just fuels brands? But not interactively? Wait, is there still such a thing as non-interactive marketing? I'm confused.

    Maybe Fuel CEO Stuart Butler can explain more succinctly. He says: “It’s been a period of unprecedented growth for us here at Fuel. With these changes came a fundamental shift in our focus and how we approached solving problems for our clients. We found that our old name no longer captured the essence -- the spirit and energy -- we are looking to bring to the market. We needed something that reflected what we really are, what we really do for our customers.”

    Right. Because no other agency on the planet fuels growth for their clients, right? I think everyone in the agency just got tired of typing Fuel Interactive all the time. Now they can just type Fuel. Because, you know, shorter is always better.

    In any case, they agency is excited about the change. Butler adds: “The rebranding has ignited us to reinvent the way that the hotel and travel industry does marketing. Our services make hotel marketing simple. And our new logo, new Web site and tagline provide a new feel and energy that brings us to an entirely new level of drive.”
  • New Cannes Glass Lion to Eradicate Boobs, Booty And Dumb Dads From Advertising

    As if there weren't already enough Cannes Lions awards to suck the ad world dry with entry fees, now there's another one. Cannes has introduced the Glass Lion to honor work that shatters gender stereotypes. The organization notes the award "specifically recognizes work that challenges gender bias and shatters stereotypical images of men and women which remain rooted in marketing."

    It would seem the aim of the new award is to root out sexism, misogyny, misandry and all other forms of gender stereotyping from advertising. What a bummer. I'm going to miss those Carl's Jr. ads. Okay, kidding. Well, maybe not completely.

    Anyway, Cannes has brought in the master of stereotype eradication to head up the Glass Lion Jury. Founder and CEO of IfWeRanTheWorld, MakeLoveNotPorn and former founder of BBH New York Cindy Gallop will head the jury. Gallop is a well-known proponent of proper gender representation in advertising.

    Of the award category, Gallop says, “I couldn't be more thrilled about the introduction of the Glass Lion, which demonstrates Cannes Lions' commitment to ensuring that both our industry and the work we create not only more accurately reflects the world around us, but actively changes it for the better. I am honored to be Jury President, and look forward, together with the jury, to celebrating work that will set the gold standard for creative and sociocultural change."

    Now even though Cannes Lions may never stop bleeding the industry dry with its entry fees, the organization will allocate all the Glass Lion entry fee proceeds into programming that promotes a more gender-neutral media landscape.
  • This Director Of Earned Media Wants To Be Ace Ventura Pet Detective

    While every morning she's grateful her clients haven't become part of some social media disaster and Twitter is her go to outlet for news, Huge (no, she isn't huge -- that's the name of the agency) Director of Earned Media Alyssa Galella says that if she weren't working at Huge, she'd love to be "a detective. Or work in an animal shelter. I would basically be Ace Ventura, Pet Detective."

    That's an interesting goal for a woman who was recently named one of PR Week's Innovation 50 or who accomplished a killer social media stunt by sending 99 boxes of Cap'N Crunch cereal to Jay-Z who later mentioned the stunt on the radio. Of course, yes -- she's just kidding, but Ace Ventura who certainly was a character. And I like people who aspire to be interesting characters.

    But what's most interesting about Galella, who is far from being an old timer, is her wise view of social media today. She says, "There's no longer a dividing line between 'media' and 'social media.' You need to be fluent in both traditional media relations and social media to do your job most effectively. Most of what I've learned hasn't been on the clock, either -- take the initiative to read a ton, be active on social media, attend events, and take classes you're interested in." You know -- become educated in the ways of life. 

    Thank God. Someone who doesn't think Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat are the only valid forms of media in existence.

  • Havas CEO Yannick Bollore Keynote At MIPTV To Explore Shifting Tides of TV In The Digital Age

    So MIPTV -- a conference that takes place in Cannes and explores the production and distribution of TV, film and digital content -- is right around the corner. It's not Cannes Lions and it's not necessarily an ad conference, but as TV proper continues to die and "content" reigns supreme, the world of content production and advertising continue to blur.

    Havas CEO Yannick Bollore will deliver a keynote entitled "Content Redefined" on Tuesday, April 14 at 12:10 p.m. in the Grand Auditorium of the Palais des Festivals. Bollore will explore the future of TV, but since everyone thinks TV is dead, he will really be exploring the shifting tides of content and the future of media and entertainment.

    Of his keynote and content, Bollore said: “The market is at a turning point. On the one hand, some business models in the industry are being seriously disrupted and more will follow. But on the other hand, consumers have never been thirstier for content than today. It is a great time to be a storyteller."
  • Tumblr Site Says 'Phuck You' to Photography Reps

    If you're on the creative side of the ad agency business, you are quite familiar with the barrage of emails from photo reps that land in your inbox on a daily basis. In fact one agency claims its art directors receive over 100 emails each and every day from photo reps. And it was this little data point that sparked action.

    Enter Phuck You Photo Reps, a Tumblr site designed to shame photo reps out of art directors' inboxes once and for all. The site is a collection of emails from photo reps and everyone is encouraged to contribute the emails they have received. 

    The site is a collection of what you'd expect, fluffy puffy emails pontificating about the balance of light and the magic of some Joe Photographer. Check out the insanity and contribute your own. 
  • Lowe Lintas India Wins Warc 100 Agency Ranking

    The Warc 100, an annual list of the best agencies based on an analysis of winning campaigns across 87 different award events or competitions, has named Lowe Lintas India the number one agency on its 2015 list. The agency scored 213 points and was closely followed by AMV BBDO with 191 and Colenso BBDO with 148.

    Of the recognition, Lowe Lintas India CEO Joseph George said: "We have had a terrific run on creative effectiveness this year across the globe; and all the accolades have further reinforced our belief in the type of work we want to do and believe in."

    Chicago's Starcom MediaVest Group Chicago was named top media agency, followed by PHD Mumbai. 360i New York was named top digital agency with R/GA New York taking second place.

    The Warc 100 is a ranking of top marketing campaigns and companies that the organization says is based on their performance in effectiveness and strategy competitions. The organization does not disclose the competitions that it uses to devise the ranking.

  • This Ad Contest Could Get You A Free Trip to Cannes. Just Don't Tell Your Boss

    Here's a semi-hilarious promotion for Canada's National Advertising Challenge that brings to light an all too prevalent problem in the ad industry -- an overzealous focus on awards. But the promotion promotes just that -- an overzealous focus on awards, and in this case, awards for non-client ads developed simply to win those awards.

    Yes, this is what you brands are paying for. Because you know the creatives in the agency you've hired are going to be doing this work in the office, conceivably on your dime. But, hey, when you dangle the chance to win a trip to Cannes as the prize for this contest, you're going to have creative salivating like dogs in heat.

    Of the Challenge, NAC Marketing and Communications Manager Ellie Metrick said: "We have big aspirations for the NAC, but we were facing a serious comprehension issue within the creative community. This year's online video goes a long way in explaining that we offer creatives an opportunity to do original work in exchange for a chance to go to Cannes."

    But because I know all you creatives are just jonesing for this, the briefs go live March 2 and the work must be completed by March 30.
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