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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  • The Average Age Of A Creative Is 28 While The Average New Car Buyer Is 56; That's A Problem.

    In a Washington Post article entitled,  "I’m 60. My boss is a 20-something. It’s awkward," 60-year-old Lisa Reswick discusses the trials, tribulations and challenges of working in an office where she takes orders from a boss whose mother is younger than she is. 

    She, of course, is one of the lucky ones. Especially in the youth-obsessed advertising industry where age discrimination runs rampant with most everyone over the age of 30 experiencing age discrimination in one form or another. And where most anyone over 40 is basically banned from working inside an ad agency.

    Age discrimination is bad enough for those who are of a certain age and doing all they can to "stay relevant" in a world which values youth over wisdom. But ad agency employees are not the only ones suffering from age discrimination in the marketing space. Brands do too. 

    Reswick explains, writing, “This obsession with young talent may be short-sighted...people older than 50 have double the discretionary spending power of any other age group. The average head of household is 52. The average new car buyer is 56. The average Mac user is 54. So marketers must appeal to older consumers and may soon regret banishing everyone who saw the Beatles sing 'I Want to Hold Your Hand' live on the 'Ed Sullivan Show.' In your 20s and 30s, it’s pretty hard to understand the mind-set, needs and tastes of those decades older."

    Yes, the AARP has launched an ad agency  specifically to help brands promote their products to the over 50 crowd but that's not enough. 

    We need to do more. 

    Just how well do you think a 28 year old can connect with a 56 year old? Oh sure, the 28 year old can refer to reams of research that will point to behaviors, traits and other indicators which might shed light on an effective marketing approach but that's far removed from walking in that 56 year old's shoes. 

    It's time for us all to dump the "clueless old person" attitude and realize these supposedly clueless old people have years and years and years of valuable experience that can be tapped for the betterment of the work an agency does for its clients. 

    Because, let's be honest, not every consumer is under 30. And face this fact: By 2020, it’s expected that 25% of U.S. workers will be older than 55. And they have a lot of money. Way more money, on average, than that hipster 32 year old with whom you're so obsessed.

  • This Agency Turned Two New Hires Into Pez Dispensers

    Red Tettemer O'Connell + Partners has had a long tradition of welcoming new hires in interesting and inventive ways. Once the agency welcomed new hires by carving totem poles in their likeness.

    This week, the agency welcomed new creatives, Ron Villacarillo and Ben Levy, by creating actual, working Pez dispensers in their likeness. Check out a video of the Pez dispenser creations here.

    Villacarillo will join the agency as creative director/art director and will work on the agency's Dockers and Morningstar Farms clients. His past experience includes work at TBWA/Chiat/Day, McCann, CP+B and The Martin Agency. Levy will join the agency as creative director/copywriter and will work on the agency's Planet Fitness, T Rowe Price and Under Armour accounts. He joins the agency from Havas New York.

  • This Israeli Ad Agency May Have Solved All-Male Conference Panel Problem

    We've all seen it. Conference after conference where panel after panel consist solely of men. Well, Hana Rado, COO of Israeli ad agency McCann Tel Aviv, has come up with a solution to the problem. 

    Rado along with several others at her agency have launched Persona, a Web site on which qualified female speakers across many different fields are profiled. The site lists some 700 women so far. Mitt "binders of women" Romney would be proud. 

    The effort and the site also involve campaigning against conferences that under-represent women on panels by contacting some of the high-level attendees at these conferences, informing them of the gender gap and asking them not to attend these events which underrepresent women. The campaign also includes positive outreach making conference organizers aware of the many qualified women who could attend and present and many conferences. 

  • 70% of Agency Employees Want to Quit Because Their Managers Are Incompetent

    A recent study conducted by Campaign found over one-third (37%) of the ad agency workforce described morale at their agency as "low" or "dangerously low" and 70% said they were "actively job seeking."

    WTF? Seventy percent of the entire ad agency world is looking for a new job! No wonder everything is a mess. And things are not getting better. Close to 60% of survey respondents stated morale is lower this year than it was last year.

    According to the study, the biggest problem is poor management. Survey respondents were quoted as saying management is filled with "ego-driven, self-fulfilling, all-about-me attitudes," work is filled with "rush projects, poorly planned projects and lack of project direction" as well as "politics and sexism."

    Of course those making a healthy salary (over $100,000) reported morale problems at a lower rate (32%) as compared to those making salaries between $50,000 and $100,000 of whom 40% reported morale problems.

  • This New York Agency Will Bust Ass All Night Producing Pro Bono Work For CreateAthon

    It's always nice to see ad agencies do their part when it comes to charitable work. New York-based EGC, for the seventh year in a row, will participate in CreateAthon. 

    CreateAthon is a 24-hour creative event to benefit charities across the globe. Over 100 ad agencies around the globe have participated in an annual marathon creative event during which they donate talent to help nonprofits raise funds and awareness. More than 1,300 non-profits have been served, receiving nearly $17 million of agency work.  

    EGC, the only New York agency to participate, will work well into the night and regroup the next day to present their ideas, digital campaigns, and marketing programs to participating charities. 

    The work EGC does this year will benefit Hope For Youth, a foster care group for kids and the Long Island Coalition against Domestic Violence.

  • Havas Worldwide Interviews Job Candidate On A Ferris Wheel

    Last month several top executives from Havas Worldwide took over six gondolas on the Navy Pier Ferris Wheel in Chicago to conduct interviews. Each candidate was given two rotations to make their pitch to executives. 

    Of the approach, Havas CEO Paul Marobella said: “It’s a street fight for talent." Marobella was looking to fill about 50 positions at the agency.

    Marobella aligned the stunt with the decommissioning of the current Navy Pier Ferris Wheel in favor of a newer, more high tech version by saying: “Modernizing and contemporizing American brands is what we get out of bed for in the morning.” 

    One interviewee, Julie Shah said the Ferris wheel interview improved her performance saying: “I think sometimes when you’re in an interview you don’t always remember all the things you’re supposed to say -- you forget parts of yourself, tidbits that really push that interview forward. And this time I actually remembered because I was so excited throughout.”

  • Agency Un-Crops Popular Album Covers to Reveal Shocking 'Realities'

    This is just too much fun. UK-based ad agency Aptitude has released a collection of photos that imagine a broader world behind the images we've seen on popular album covers.  

    We've got a pensive Justin Bieber on the cover of his "My World" album. All is well until the image is zoomed out to reveal what's really going on. Bieber in cuffs getting arrested by a police officer. 

    We've got Adele on the cover of 19, which, when zoomed out, reveals her to actually have been in some kind of zombie movie. We've got that baby from the cover of that Nirvana album who looks as happy as can be...until we zoom out and realize he's about to be eaten by sharks.

    Check them all out here

  • This Agency Is Spending $20 Million On Jennifer Aniston To Boost Flights For This Airline

    Was that a silly enough teaser headline for you? Sorry, sometimes I just have to get my BuzzFeedy Clickhole on. Anyway, on with the story. RKCR/Y&R has hired Jennifer Aniston to help the agency boost business for its client, Emirates airline.  

    This week, the agency unveiled a new campaign for the airline featuring Aniston in a TV spot waking up from a dream on a plane and, to her horror, finding out the airline doesn't have showers or a bar. Of course, in her dream, she's not on an Emirates plane, but of course, when she wakes up, she is and all is well with the world. Or at least those who can afford to fly on planes with showers and a bar.  

    Of the approach, Emirates SVP of Corporate Communications Boutros Boutros said: “In a departure from the usual airline industry ads, we chose to take a humorous approach to showcase the amazing products we offer on board. We couldn’t think of anyone better suited for the role than Jennifer Aniston and we wrote the script with her in mind. Her professionalism and comedic talent shone on the set and we are very pleased with the outcome.”  

    The commercial was directed by industry vet and Oscar-nominee Bryan Buckley, who is well known for creating several successful Super Bowl ads. RKCR/Y&R London developed the concept while the script was a collaboration between the agency, Buckley and Emirates’ in-house advertising team.

    The global digital and television campaign will begin in the United States and the UAE before being rolled out in November to other countries including the UK, Germany, France, Italy, India and Australia.

    Emirates is allocating $20 to the worldwide campaign which will consist of :30's and :60's.

  • 7 Reasons You Shouldn't Work In An Ad Agency

    Well, this is fun. We see so many breathy articles filled with endless platitudes on why you should choose a career in advertising. Well, here's a contrarian viewpoint in the form of a Slideshare presentation. So here we go. 

    The presentation talks about getting lost in translation due to the plethora of simultaneous, mind-numbing projects. Then there's the need to work on unglamorous projects whether you like it or not. Third, there's no credit where credit is due. It can be hard to receive recognition when the account manager, or the executive team, is always taking credit for the sleepless nights that you sacrificed. 

    Fourth, the heavy workload. Too many projects, not enough time, over-promises that cannot be met, clients who are mercilessly demanding. Fifth, less than stellar pay that just doesn't mirror the long hours and gigantic headaches that can accompany life inside an advertising agency. Sixth, obscenely long work hours that while part of a good work ethic can be soul crushing. And seventh, being forced to be creative under pressure and on a schedule. Developing great creative is not easy and doesn't always fit inside a neat timetable. 

    If you work in an agency, you are, no doubt, familiar with each of these 7 points. You are also familiar with the many joys and rewards that come with the job as well. Sure, it's tough work -- but it can be a lot of fun too. 

  • IAB Teams With AOL Chairman Tim Armstrong to Tackle Diversity

    Well, this is cute. Now don't get me wrong. I'm all for diversity in advertising. Except when the industry launches program after program after program and nothing ever changes. Sadly, every diversity-in-advertising effort is just one failure after another. 

    And so pardon me if I don't get all that excited about the latest effort -- a partnership between the Interactive Advertising Bureau and AOL chairman and CEO Tim Armstrong. Together, we now have the IAB Education Foundation, "a new nonprofit organization to increase racial, ethnic, gender, and economic diversity and improve peoples’ skills in the digital media and advertising industries." 

    Armstrong will lead the endeavor as Chairman of the Board. 

    Of the foundation, Armstrong said: “The IAB has a nearly 20-year history of solving the industry's biggest growth challenges and will now focus on perhaps the most overlooked and untapped opportunity – recruiting and growing the talent and skill sets we need in our industry. We need a dedicated organization to focus solely on building a trained and professional workforce that includes all constituencies, many of which have been left behind through much of the digital revolution – minorities, women, the disabled, the economically disadvantaged, and military veterans and their families. Under the leadership of Randall Rothenberg, the IAB Education Foundation will be positioned at the forefront of helping solve this issue that confronts our industry. I couldn’t be more pleased to help lead this effort.”  

    For his part, Rothenberg added, “The IAB is the natural choice to lead these efforts because we know exactly what the digital technology, media and advertising companies are looking for. Our certification programs have, in the space of just a few years, taught and credentialed thousands of experienced sales and ad ops people. Now we will be able to help an even larger number of people from diverse backgrounds obtain similar credentials and qualify for entry-level positions in one of the fastest-growing industries in the world.” 

    The foundation will launch with a cross-country "town hall tour" to listen to various constituencies within the digital advertising and media industry with the aim of gaining insight about how to improve diversity in digital media, marketing and advertising. 

    “We are calling this town hall listening tour ‘Voices United,’ because we want to hear from all constituencies, not just the department heads or top executives,” said Michael Theodore, Vice President, Learning and Development, IAB, and project head of the foundation. “The new curriculum and certification programs can introduce many new faces to our industries, but unless there are transparent paths toward upward mobility, true diversity will remain unrealized.” 

    The foundation’s first partner is the Year Up program, a national nonprofit organization that provides skills training to disadvantaged young adults and places them in Fortune 500 companies. Year Up will work with the IAB Education Foundation to develop an entry-level ad operations training program. 

    I wish them well.


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