Of the importance of staying abreast of changes in the digital space, Deutsch LA Chief Digital Officer Winston Binch says: “If you’ve been in the business for a while,
particularly on the creative side, and are not open-minded and curious to learn new things, someone’s going to take your job.” That sentiment is reflective of many in the industry, some of
whom are going back to school, attending workshops or taking courses to keep current.
Deutsch offers what it calls D School, an annual course offered to everyone in the agency to -- as Binch says -- "give everyone a brush up on digital, make them aware of the landscape and expose them
to some of the opportunities.” And he thinks the ad schools just aren't cutting it anymore. He adds: “There are lots of kids coming out of ad school that still want to do TV spots,
but the reality is more and more has to be designed for the Internet, the Internet is first. We really want to help everyone here get the tools and the abilities to get really fast creative.”
Making note of the sad fact that 20 CEOs of creative agencies have lost their jobs in the past 12 months, Avi Dan, writing in Forbes, worries that Madison Avenue's shift from focusing on profit versus big ideas is gravely harming the practice of advertising. He writes: "The growing bottom line orientation of Madison Avenue could affect agencies culturally and lead them to become more risk averse, and damage their value proposition to their clients. Ideas and innovation are born out of a culture of risk taking. And agencies at their best are always an independent voice, pushing the envelope. Will an attitude of 'holding to the client at all cost' mitigate that spirit and encourage agencies to become conformists?" Sadly, yes and sadly, that's exactly what is happening. Which is why we see so much lame work coming out of agencies lately. Management by consensus and approval by committee is killing this business. Do we have the guts to put the brakes on this impending train wreck?
MRY has said goodbye to six of its developers. Of the layoffs, MRY Chief Marketing Officer David Berkowitz said: “We unfortunately did have to part ways with a few of our colleagues earlier this month as part of normal reshaping based on industry demand. MRY continues to grow, though, and we have 15 open positions right now across a number of departments.” But those 15 open positions are not development positions, which causes one to wonder what broader changes are underway at MRY.
It's interesting, though entirely unsurprising, that those who love to work together, well, continue to do so. A couple of years ago, three Crispin Porter + Bogusky staffers -- Dave Schiff, Scott Prindle and John Kieselhorst -- left to form a new shop named Made Movement. Now CP+B VP Account Director Kate Higgins has also left the shop to join Made Movement. Of the move, Higgins said, “I love CP+B, but I’m excited about the chance to be a partner and to help grow and shape this place. We always joke that at some point you either own your own shop or become a client, and I like the creative process too much to turn the opportunity down." We wish Higgins well. And she's right. If you don't start your own agency, climb to the top of one or, yeah, become a client, you're likely out on your ass the day you turn 40. It's sad but it's true.
Kevin Foreman, whose creative career spans 25 years at shops such as Backer Spielvogel Bates/NY, The Richards Group, Publicis, Tribal DDB, Rapp Worldwide and SHOP.COM, will join Moroch Partners as the agency's Digital Creative Director. Which, when you think about it is pretty awesome because Foreman has to be at least 47 so props to
the agency for going against the grain and entrusting an "old guy" with your digital creative.
Of selecting Foreman for the position, Moroch Partners ECD Kevin Sutton said, “Having Kevin on board will ensure the agency remains ahead of industry shifts and will continue to develop the most significant campaigns we can across multiple consumer-centric platforms. With consumers’ increasing demand for real-time information and brand engagement, digital has become one of the most critical components of our clients’ marketing strategies.”
Foreman seems pretty happy with the new gig saying, “Moroch was built on the belief that true 360 integration is the key to driving shifts in consumer preferences and behaviors to deliver more immediate, sustainable and significant client results. The leap was intuitive as I share the same belief and passion. I’m excited to dive in and get started.”
The Big Ten Network has announced it officially named Fallon its agency of record following the agency’s development of a fall national campaign focusing on BTN’s college sports focus
and ever-expanding reach.
Of Fallon's work and selecting the agency as AOR, BTN VP of Marketing Erin Harvego said, “The fall college sports campaign was a huge success for the Big Ten Network. We look forward to continuing the momentum with dynamic, original creative that showcases what the Big Ten and college sports are all about. What we enjoy most about working with Fallon is the agency’s ability to present original ideas, and I think they’ve found fun and exciting ways to share our vision with our viewers.”
Of hooking up with BTN, Fallon Creative Director Josh Combs said, “We like to work with ambitious brands and BTN is among the most motivated with which we’ve worked. The network is determined to become the best network in college sports and our job at Fallon is to help it turn those dreams into a reality.”
Influencer marketing. It's the strategy du jour these days. Everyone's doing it, but not everyone is succeeding. In fact, Oliver Luckett, founder of digital influencer agency TheAudience says: “There’s a new company every week that says it does what we do. They don’t have any fuckin’ clue what we do.
They think we still manage celebrities’ social media presences. We haven’t done that for a year and a half. It was a terrible, thankless business. Why try to move celebrities that are
digital immigrants into it when I’ve got 6,000 kids that speak this language that can push anything and make it trend globally with a push of a button?"
Luckett isn't shy about his company's success, adding: "We are like the puppet master inside of these social media systems, and we work with these creators that do their thing every day, and we bring them funding. We did that to the tune of $27 million in revenue last year. And we’ve doubled every year.”
Luckett has no kind words form brands or agencies or celebrities who don't get the new media landscape. Of Katy Perry's lead up to her Super Bowl performance, of which there was none, Luckett said: “Shame on her. Look at her Facebook page -- not one mention of the Super Bowl! It’s unbelievable. The night of the Super Bowl, I sent her page to the execs at Universal and said, ‘Guys, y’all need to be fired. You’re embarrassing yourselves.’ Her fans wanted to interact with her. Where are the Instagram photos? Show me her inspirations. Show me something. Get people excited.”
As one who watches this space with rapt attention, I can certainly concur with Luckett. Time and time again, too many brands and agencies simply do not understand or simply do not care to understand how dramatically things have changed (and continue to change) and how completely different marketing approaches are now required to affect any metric a brand cares about.
This is not to say you all suck. Far from it. Change takes time, but you can't go around with your head in the sand and adopt a wait-and-see attitude like the agency president who, in an interview I had in 2003, said to me: "Oh, the Internet. No, it's not really anything we concern ourselves with." I swear that actually happened.
No one, of course, is saying that anymore -- but there was a time when, you know, this whole "Internet thing" was just some stupid thing those IT geeks screwed around with when they were supposed to be making sure your Lotus Notes worked.
All of which is to say the "we've always done it that way" attitude will get you nowhere. And companies like TheAudience will be stealing business from you left and right. Of course, you could just do what agencies always do -- promise your client you can do it and then just call TheAudience, pay their fee and take all the credit. At least that would be better than doing nothing at all. And who knows -- you might actually learn something; enough to, you know, realize your agency should be smart enough to provide your clients this kind of service with the ease and panache you display when presenting your latest Flashturbation creation way back in 2005.
WPP has launched Gain Theory. It's a new "marketing foresight consultancy," which aims to help brands deal with the explosion of data, predicted to be 44 times greater in 2020 than it was in 2009.
Heading up the new entity is former WPP Maxus CIO Jason Harrison.
Of the endeavor, Harrison says: “There’s so much more information available about business performance, consumers, what’s happening with marketing campaigns. The expectation is that marketers would be able to digest all that and be able to know what to do next and do that very quickly. That is incredibly complicated.”
While the entity will be part of WPP's media operation, it will remain independent of media buying. Harrison adds: “The reality is we get the best of both worlds. Because we sit alone as an independent entity, we can bring a point of view to a marketer that’s not connected to any of the decisions that get made about actual tactical executions. We don’t have a dog in that fight… But as well, we can connect to the vast array of tools and assets that live within WPP in a really independent and objective way.”