Former TBWA Creative Director Says Apple's Awesome Advertising Died With Steve Jobs

Ken Segall, who worked on the Apple account while at TBWA/Chiat/Day, thinks a Job-less Apple has "lost its ad bite." Speaking to the The Australian, Segall said, “I feel that Apple is acting a lot like a big company now when it comes to marketing, and a lot of their recent efforts show that. Their iPad advertising is more like, ‘People all around the world are using the iPad to do amazing things.’ That may be true and that may be impressive, but people aren’t buzzing about their commercials.’’ And why is this happening? Segall goes on to say, “My sense is that they are starting to behave more like a typical large company when it comes to advertising. There seems to be plenty of competition, with a number of creative teams working on things -- the best team wins sort of thing. That isn’t the way Steve worked. He worked with a small group of people at our agency and if he didn’t like something we would do something else. We lived and breathed it and worked around the clock till it was right.’’

Has the current advertising landscape got you down? Do you hate that every friggin' brand wants to be your friend? Do you feel like a good ad campaign now consists of a Hyperlapse video posted to Vine and Instagram and then embedded in a blog post which, itself, is then posted to Facebook and tweeted out to a brand's followers who are asked to retweet that tweet and Like the brand's Facebook page so they can be entered into a contest that will award them Klout points if only they send in the best Snapchat of the brand's product? Well, Tomorrow Group CEO Tom Goodwin feels your pain. Writing in the Guardian, Goodwin says: "We’ve created the long tail of marketing, where each campaign has ever smaller budgets, ever shorter lifespans, diminishing aims, all so wonderfully cheap in execution, so wonderfully proficient in terms of outputs, but so entirely pointless. It’s this maintaining excitement for a Twitter feed of 4,000 people, or keeping the 500 subscribers on YouTube happy that is the marketing of our time. It may be cheap, but it’s a pointless distraction and it’s not solving any of the problems that are keeping our clients up at night." Amen, brother.

So, of course you've heard of ad:tech, right? That conference that is sort of the mother of all ad conferences? Trouble is, it's become so big and so unwieldy that perhaps it's lost its way. But on the upside, it appears the show runners realize that and are applying a fix. That fix comes in the form of PAN Communications, a PR firm ad:tech has hired to, as the press release explains, "increase show engagement with attendees, elevating brand awareness to potential audiences and strengthening relationships with core media." And in addition, "develop sharable content, manage social channels, and build out media and influencer relations in correlation with upcoming events in New York City and San Francisco." Will PAN succeed? We certainly hope they do.

And if things weren't already bad enough for ad agencies, brands are shifting away from agency trading desks for their programmatic buying needs and shifting that business over to independent specialists. According to a new report from the World Federation of Advertisers brands' usage of agency trading desks has declined from 81% percent in 2013 to 69% percent in 2014. On the flip side, usage of independent trading desks or demand-side providers has increased from 8% in 2013 to 29% in 2014. Better get your acts together, agencies.

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  • Brooklyn Artist Sues Starbucks For Allegedly Copying Her Work

    Brooklyn artist Maya Hayuk spoke with Starbucks agency 72andSunny over the course of eight days regarding her artwork and how it might be incorporated into promotional work for the new Starbucks Mini Frappuccino. But after the eight days, she told the agency she was too busy to create new work and the talks ended.

    Upon launch of the Mini Frappuccino, Hayuk felt the rainbow-style artwork was a bit too similar to work of her own and she filed a $750,000 copyright infringement lawsuit against Starbucks saying the finished product was "strikingly similar" to her work. 

    The lawsuit states: "Starbucks brazenly created artwork that is substantially similar to one or more of Hayuk’s copyrighted works.” Hayuk's lawyer added: “When things like this happen, it cheapens the value of the art -- it’s really true. And her only source of income is her art.”

    For its part, a Starbucks spokesperson said: “We are aware a complaint has been filed, and we are investigating the allegations.”

  • New Agency Theme Song Generator Totally Not As Exciting As 'AdWeek' Editor's Picture of Couple Having Sex on Red Carpet at Cannes Lions

    This is most assuredly not as exciting as AdWeek Editor David Griner's picture of a couple having sex on the red carpet at Cannes Lions a day ago, but, hey -- we can't all be in the perfect place at the perfect time. Anyway, nice work, David. 

    Okay. Back to the mundane world of stupid things agencies do when, apparently, they have no client work to keep them busy. Digital product design agency O3 World Labs has developed an app that plays a person's favorite song (anthem?) when they walk into work. 

    The mobile phone app pairs with an iBeacon, which is paired with a Raspberry Pi (a mini computer) attached to a sound system. When the app senses a person in the office, a digital chain of events occurs and the individual's theme song is played for all in the office to hear. 

    The agency says the thingamajig will "make those first few minutes in the office just a bit more pleasant." I say, after the first play or so, co-workers will probably be gouging their eyes out wishing the stupid thing was never cobbled together. 

    Check out the project video here .
  • This Map Re-Draws the World According to Cannes Lions Wins

    Global agency We Are Social has created the Cannesogram, an interactive cartogram that reveals how countries have performed over the last ten years at Cannes Lions.

    The countries are displayed with a combination of color and size that changes according to how successful they have been at winning Lions. Users can drill down into many of the categories using a timeline to find out which countries were most successful in specific years.

    Hovering the cursor over a specific country brings up its record of Cannes Lions wins in the selected year and category -- Grand Prix, Gold, Silver and Bronze.

    Of the map, James Nester, creative director at We Are Social and a Cannes Lions Cyber judge for 2015, said: “There’s always a lot of debate about which countries do best. So we thought we’d use data to show the world according to Lions wins. It’s fascinating to see how fast the creative landscape has changed. And it’s revealing to see that different countries consistently own different categories.”

    We Are Social’s interactive cartogram is based on data from Cannes Lions: International Festival of Creativity, between 2005 and 2014. Among the interesting patterns revealed are:

    - Cyber is consistently dominated by the U.S., Europe and Japan.
    - Film is still a category the UK rules, alongside the U.S.
    - Outdoor is ruled by Brazil, with Europe also performing consistently.
    - The UK and Europe have been doing well in the relatively new category of PR.
    - Brazil rules in terms of press.
    - South Africa is the king of radio.
  • Design Studio Offers Coloring Book Filled With Cannes Jury Heads And Invites Delegates to Get Creative

    In conjunction with their presence at Cannes this year New York-based design and animation company the STUDIO has created the Cannes Coloring Book along with the accompanying Twitter hashtag #ColorCannes.

    If you're in Cannes and you visit STUDIO's booth at Little Black Book & Friends Beach between the Carlton and the Martinez, you can get a free coloring book and pencils featuring all of the Jury Heads including BBDO’s David Lubars, Grey’s Tor Myhren, Matt Eastwood of JWT and more.

    The coloring book is also on Facebook. Anyone who feels creative can upload their masterpieces to Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #ColorCannes.
  • 'Cannes You Please Shut Up': Tumblr Gleefully Pokes Fun At Stupid Agency Tweets

    It's Wednesday. It's Cannes Lions week, It's awesome, right? Mostly, yes -- but certain aspects of the festival are just, well, annoying. Which parts? The parts where ad agencies, brands and other parties attempt to be witty and intelligent with their social media activity. Sadly, and annoyingly, this fails most of the time.

    A new Tumblr post entitled "Cannes You Please Shut Up?" has taken on the task of collecting the most inane, most insipid and most annoying posts and posting them for posterity's sake.

    Posts include poking fun at Interpublic CEO Michael Roth enjoying an #unskippable moment on a yacht, Havas Group posting images of super-smug people accompanied by stupid  #HumansofCannes quotes, something about Martin Sorrell eating his own children and super insipid comments like Ogilvy & Mather tweeting: "If we don't push our creativity, then we can't evolve."
  • 'Cannes We Meet' App Offers Cannes Lions Delegates Tinder-Like Hookups

    It seems the "hook up" is the predominant theme at Cannes Lions this week. Just like Barbarian Group's Dumb Phones, Virool's "Cannes We Meet" helps delegates connect with other delegates.

    Cannes We Meet is a web app that works just like Tinder. After you visit the site and log in using LinkedIn, you can swipe right to meet or left not to meet in a manner very similar to the Tinder dating app. 

    Of the app, Virool CEO Alex Debelov said, "We know that clients meet agencies, agencies win business, startups win funding and products find buyers. Now we're helping bridge that gap and propel our industry forward."

    Nice effort though I'd venture to say that I'm not all that far off base when I suggest rose-fueled delegates are thinking about propelling forward something entirely different than the industry while boozing it up in Cannes.

  • Barbarian Group Unleashes Tinder-Like Action At Cannes With 80 Dumb Phones

    As a fun little experiment during Cannes Lions -- because, after all, sitting on a yacht drinking rose all day long gets pretty boring -- Barbarian Group has handed out 80 old and bricked phones, each programmed with only five numbers. 

    Each of the 80 people can call or receive calls from 5 of the other 80 people to have a random chat, meet in person or, well, you can use your imagination.

    Advertising Age's Alexandra Bruell is testing one out and has had calls with an anonymous fellow with a British accent, a Vox Media person inviting her to a party, a French person who spoke no English and Nick Parish from Contagious.
  • Mullen Lowe to Donate Value of Every Cannes Lions Win To Charity

    Mullen Lowe has launched a program this week that will see the value of any and all Lions it wins during Cannes Lions donated to hunger and earthquake relief efforts in Nepal.

    The program, Can Your Lions, encourages other Cannes Lions-winning agencies to join the cause by declaring their intention on the site or by supporting the effort publicly using the hashtag #canyourlions.

    According to the Can Your Lions site, it costs fifty cents to feed a person in Nepal for an entire day. Based on that number, a Grand Prix -- worth $2,906 -- would feed a person for 5,812 days and a Gold, Silver or Bronze -- each worth $1,280 -- would feed a person for 2,560 days. 

    Currently, it appears that calls for industry participation have so far gone unanswered. Mullen Lowe Group is the only pledging partner listed on the site. Come on, agencies! After all the obscene cash you spent to get to Cannes this week, donating the value of your Cannes Lions wins is just a drop in the bucket. 

    Of the effort, Mullen Lowe Global CEO Alex Leikikh said, “We’re excited to be in Cannes celebrating the best of global creativity, and we’re hopeful that the global creative community will join us in sharing our good fortune in support of this important humanitarian initiative."

    Step up, people!
  • 180LA Recruits Cannes Lions Judges With 'Most Direct Recruitment Ad Ever'

    Leading up to and during Cannes Lions, a handful of the world's best and most respected creatives convene on jury panels in Cannes, France to judge the world's creative. These judges are the cream of the crop. Any agency would love to have them work for their shop --  but how does an agency reach out to all these amazing creatives all at once? Easy. Turn your Cannes Lion entry case study video into a recruitment ad.

    180LA did exactly that by submitting a case study video of an entry into four Lions competitions; Film, Press, Direct and Radio. So as jury members were in the midst of reviewing hundreds of entries, they were also delivered a sneaky recruitment video. Quite brilliant actually, and from the tweets some of the judges sent, the stunt seems to have gone over quite well.

    Y&R/Bravo Miami VP Creative Director wrote: "Hey @180LA thanks for the offer in the middle of the judging process. Lol. I'll call Monday." Proximity Creative Director Eva Santos wrote, "A case study just called me by name and offered me a job. Great idea @180LA #canneslions "lionsjudging."

    Delivered with the drollest of droll voice overs, jury members, if not interested in the offer, are asked to "pass this idea to the shortlist and help change the life of another CD."

    Check out the video here.

  • Union Creative's 'Cannescellation' Is The Perfect Gift For Everyone Not In Cannes This Week

    This week, of course, is Cannes Lions week -- that annual Festival of Creativity thingy to which the entire advertising industry heads each year to consume massive quantities of rose, bask in the sun, mingle at the Gutter Bar and oh yeah -- hopefully take home a few Lions.

    Alas, not everyone can make the trek to Cannes and for those who don't, witnessing all the fun everyone else in the ad world is having is, well, excruciatingly painful -- yielding a major case of FOMO. So what's an unlucky soul to do when the biggest event in advertising is occurring without them? Ignore it all, of course.

    Well, thanks to Union Creative, that's now entirely possible. The agency has created a Chrome plugin called Cannescellation  which will eliminate the deluge of Cannes Lions-related tweets flowing from the South of France -- which, in the case of a non-attendee, accomplish nothing but to make the blood boil with raging jealousy.

    Now, if only there were similar solutions for Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Vine, Periscope, Meerkat and Pinterest. But hey, at least it's a start.
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