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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  • Creatives Without Borders Bolsters Nepal Aid Effort With Social Media-Based Outreach

    Creatives Without Borders, a nonprofit organization that aims to better the lives of underserved individuals and communities by connecting creatives and doers, has launched a program to show support and bring aid to those in need in Nepal.

    In addition to providing food and other aid, Creatives Without Borders is encouraging people to send photos, videos and letters to show support for those who have and are still suffering from the earthquake in Nepal. The images will be projected on a large screen on Wednesday, May 6 at 8 p.m. at Naya Bazar in Kathmandu and be accompanied with live music. 

    Reports about what has been done and is being done in the country will also be showcased to help locals to understand what efforts are being exercised across the country. 

    You can show your support for the effort by sending your images, videos and letters to cwbnepal@gmail.com or by using #cwbnepal when posting to social media.

  • Wongdoody Introduces Tuition Scholarship For Women

    Seattle-based Wongdoody has introduced a Women in Advertising Scholarship, a fund that will award $5,000 tuition twice each year to women pursuing creative careers in advertising. The scholarship will be awarded once in the summer and once in the winter, to women who are currently enrolled in undergraduate or portfolio school.

    The scholarship aims to "empower promising candidates to further their education as they work toward an advertising career."

    Of the scholarship, Wongdoody Executive Creative Director Pam Fujimoto said: “Women are a huge part of Wongdoody's culture and success, and we’ve always worked to bring diversity to our creative process because it brings a wider, more relevant range of thinking. But we know our industry as a whole has room for improvement. This scholarship is meant to help promising female creatives move closer to a career, to help bring a bit more balance to advertising.”

    With regard to female representation within Wongdoody, 54% of the staff are female and women comprise 43% of the executive team and 35% of the creative team.

    Wongdoody is accepting applications for the Women in Advertising scholarship now through June 15. You can find out more information and apply here.
  • What In The World Will We Do After 'Mad Men'?

    In two weeks, Mad Men will conclude. Shortly thereafter, all the Mad Men references every journalist and person working in advertising has been using over the past 7 years will begin to subside. What, pray tell, will we all latch onto after that? And just how is this series going to end?

    Will Don Draper/Richard “Dick” Whitman disappear into the Midwest sunset? Will he jump out of an airplane D.B Cooper-style? Will he jump out of that loose window in his McCann office? Will he find and shack up with waitress Diana? Will he start a new ad agency with Joan? Or will "he" wake up Bob Newhart-style in that foxhole in Korea as the real Don Draper who proclaims to Richard Whitman (Jon Hamm), "You will never believe the dream I had about you!"

    How will the ad industry go on without constant comparison to Mad Men? Will we have to stop comparing the 60's to the 10's? What will Barbara Lippert write about? What will happen to all those faux Mad Men accounts? Will we have to go back to riffing on the idiocy of Donny Deutsch, who will soon be seen in a new USA comedy series? Oh God, please, no! Will the Richard Whitman who writes this column have to out himself?

    These are the burning questions that we must deal with over the coming weeks as we all search for another metaphor to use in our next new business pitch, concepting session or industry boondoggle.
  • Eddie Bauer Taps Former Y&R, Leo Burnett, Saatchi Exec As Creative Director

    The Bellevue, Washington-based clothier Eddie Bauer has hired Jose Cabaco as its new vice president and brand creative director. Previously global creative director at Nike's Center of Design Excellency, Cabaco has a long history of agency work at shops such as Young & Rubicam, Leo Burnett, Saatchi & Saatchi, Grey, Wieden+Kennedy and Euro RSCG. He also ran his own agency called Home.

    Of the hire, Eddie Bauer CEO Mike Egeck said: “We are very excited to welcome Jose to Eddie Bauer. Jose has a proven track record of being able to develop emotionally compelling brand stories that inspire consumers. His talents will be vital as we continue to amplify our voice within the active outdoor community.”

  • Design Firm Debuts New Web Site...And 'Synergetic' Global Mindset

    I know, I know -- poking fun at an ad agency launching a Web site is so 1999 -- but the vim and vigor these agencies display while doing so is just so ripe for ribbing. So who's the latest Web site relaunch victim? Ventura, California-based SoCal Design.

    The agency, which focuses on clients in the fitness, healthcare, beauty and real estate segments, has not only relaunched its Web site but it's also adopted a seemingly more global viewpoint. 

    Of the repositioning, SoCal Design Partner Brett Hurle said: "The relaunch of our site is really a culmination of something we have been building for years here at SoCal Design. I believe the foundation of this agency's success is our ability to bring together synergetic teams from our global talent pool. We believe that every project is unique, and creating truly unparalleled teams enables us to provide our clients the best possible craftsmanship." 

    Yikes. Synergetic? Is it 1988?
  • Horizon Media Launches 'Dunes of Dreams' Employee Innovation Program

    Horizon Media has announced Dunes of Dreams, the agency's new "invention development program." The program invites employees to submit their best ideas or inventions that, if chosen, will see the light of day. The program is part of the agency's INVENT@horizon initiative which is run by Chief Invention Officer Taylor Valentine. 

    INVENT@horizon was launched in 2014 and acts as a launch pad to inspire invention across the agency. The invention team is responsible for pioneering product development and new forms of media, hopefully arriving at better ways to solve client problems and new ways to recruit and motivate employees. The agency's most recent invention is a roadmap for mood-based audio planning.

    Of the program, Valentine said: "Technology and the lightning speed of change across industries creates an opportunity to invent more and better than ever before. The Dunes of Dreams program will provide every employee the opportunity to invent, making invention a way of life and a culture driver for our people."
  • DigitasLBi Goes Gospel For NewFronts

    And so the NewFronts. That time when all things digital trot out their offerings to all things agency in hopes that the latter opens its wallet for the former. And any time you give a marketing person a chance to get on stage and sell themselves, what you usually end up with is, well, something other than normal.

    Today, it seems, DigitasLBi pulled out all the stops and went full on gospel. According to this tweet, it seems the agency has gone biblical.

    So what was the epic craziness all about? The agency struck a deal with Vox Media that offers the agency a first look at Vox Media's native product, Chorus for Advertising. Ah ha! There's the gospel tie in. Now it all makes perfect sense.

  • Attik Ceases to Exist After Scion Loss

    Last month, Droga5 won the Toyota Scion account -- besting incumbent Attik, which has had the account since 2002. Attik was to continue to be part of the creative team for the brand and support various marketing initiatives. Apparently, that has turned out not to be the case.

    Parent company Dentsu will absorb Attik with employees at both the agency's LA and San Francisco offices to be reassigned. While many Attik employees will find a home within Dentsu, there will be some layoffs, according to sources.

    Regarding the closure, a Dentsu statement reads, “After evaluating the Attik business with an eye towards future growth and sustainability, we have decided to bring Attik into Dentsu Aegis Network. The result will be a reorganization of the business with a long-term view towards client needs and opportunities that will most effectively leverage Attik’s talent, expertise and capabilities on a broader scale. We are actively working to ensure a smooth transition and to redeploy people within Dentsu Aegis Network.”
  • Starbucks Chief Digital Officer Honored With Chief Digital Officer of the Year Award

    CDO Club, a community of C-suite digital types with over 1,000 members, has named Adam Brotman, Starbucks Coffee Company's Chief Digital Officer, the 2015 U.S. Chief Digital Officer of the Year.

    Brotman was named the recipient of the award during CDO Club founder David Mathison's keynote presentation, "Hall of Fame: CDOs Who Have Become CEO and Board Directors," at the 3rd annual CDO Summit on Wednesday, April 29 and hosted at Thomson Reuters in New York City.

    Brotman joined Starbucks in April 2009, and under his leadership the company has become a leader in mobile payments, with more than 18% of its U.S. store transactions occurring via mobile. In addition, the company processes more than 8 million mobile payments per week.

    Brotman also led the team responsible for piloting Starbucks Mobile Order & Pay in 2014, a mobile ordering feature integrated within the Starbucks app that allows customers to place their order as well as pay for their food and beverage items in advance of visiting their store. The feature has been rolled out in 650 locations in the Pacific Northwest.
  • Bud Light Attributes Controversial Bud Light Beer Label Copy to BBDO

    Yup. Another brand throws another agency under the bus. Yesterday, Bud Light caught the wrath of the Internet for one of its custom taglines on its bottles. The tagline reads, "The perfect beer for removing 'no' from your vocabulary for the night." Doh! Many around the dark corners of the Internet have linked the tagline to rape culture.

    No, Bud Light is not advocating promiscuous sex and has apologized for the oversight in a statement which read: “The Bud Light Up for Whatever campaign, now in its second year, has inspired millions of consumers to engage with our brand in a positive and light-hearted way. In this spirit, we created more than 140 different scroll messages intended to encourage spontaneous fun. It’s clear that this message missed the mark, and we regret it. We would never condone disrespectful or irresponsible behavior.”

    Missed the mark? Uh, yeah. Now, certainly some blame can be laid upon BBDO for even proposing this copy but the brand and all its layers of approval should have caught it. In yet another statement, Bud Light basically admits that, saying: “BBDO is the creative agency for this UFW campaign, including all bottle scroll messages. We have an extensive review process and this label should not have made it through. It’s regrettable. This particular scroll will no longer be produced.”
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