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.
Did you know that Fort Lauderdale-based Zimmerman Advertising is one of the nation's leading retail agencies? Well that's what the press release said so it must be true. And guess what else? The agency has been hired by the world's fastest-growing sports nutrition company to grow even faster! Yes, it's true! The press release said so!
The agency will take on the $15 million account for BPI Sports, a sports nutrition company.
Of selecting Zimmerman to handle its business, BPI Sports Co-Founder and EVP James Grage said, "Hiring an ad agency is a key ingredient to significantly grow our business, establish BPI Sports as the premier sports nutrition brand, and position our company as an iconic, multi-channel business. Most agencies are full of smoke and mirrors and don't deliver on what they promise. It was refreshing to finally find one who's as good at making ads as they are at making money for their clients. I have no doubt Zimmerman will generate powerful results for BPI."
Clearly, BPI Sports believes it has selected the right agency for its business. The agency is on a roll having also just won American Media, a health and fitness publisher.
Press releases. They make you yawn. These committee-written documents are stuffed with silly platitudes aimed to placate marketing directors who still believe journalists want to read stuff that looks like it was written by a robot.
And so I'd like to give a big shout out to New York-based Catch which issued a hilarious gem of a release touting the fact they "may have been retained by the legendary brand Vans to develop an extremely confidential project, which may or may not be released this year."
The release goes on to quote an un-named (of course) Vans spokesperson who said, "We can neither confirm nor deny that Vans has retained Catch New York. All we are willing to say is that they seem pretty cool and creative and if we were going to hire an agency to help us launch something really awesome, we would hire Catch. But that's all we'll say."On the agency side, Catch ECD Marco Cignini said, "We're thrilled, excited, honored and humbled to be a part of the team that might be creating something amazing for Vans.”
Last week I made note of Alex Bogusky launching a start-up that that would focus on doing social good and that it would be called Spiffly. The first part was right. The second part was wrong. The
new entity will be called Fearless and "will help socially-minded corporations, foundations and non-profits develop 360° campaigns while providing the added value of a built-in millennial audience
through Fusion's television, social and digital platforms."
Fearless will be a division of Disney/ABC/Univision's cable network and digital platform Fusion and run in partnership with Bogusky, former CP+B'ers Dagny Scott and Lelsie Freeman. Fearless will "enable clients to engage with an ultra-connected audience in all of the places they consume media. The agency will develop multi-platform content spanning video, art, text, comedy, documentaries, television, events, and sharable content, all with an eye toward raising awareness and moving millennials to action on key issues and ideas that encourage positive change in the world."
Of the launch, Bogusky said, "Mashing up agency and media solves a huge problem for socially-minded clients who have incredibly compelling messages but no way to find their audience. Fusion is striking the right tone. Although millennials are more interested in doing good, they aren’t motivated by the same old dry boring, righteous approach. They have the attitude that changing the world can and needs to be fun. And I happen to agree with that.”
Fusion will be opening an office in Boulder, Colorado where Fearless will be based.
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.
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.