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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  • Mad Men Opening Credit Bench Turned Into Actual Bench

    From now until the end of summer, those passing by the Time-Life building, home to the "Mad Men" fictional SC&P agency, will have the chance to sit on a bench crafted to look just like the bench in the opening credits of "Mad Men."

    The 12-foot bench was designed by Pentagram and consists of just two pieces -- a half-inch thick rolled steel plate seat and a 10-foot cast-concrete base. 

    So if you've got a hankering to sidle up to Don Draper (or whomever that silhouette turns out to be) then now's your chance.

  • That Agency That Just Launched A New Web Site Has Now Done Something Newsworthy

    The Brandon Agency -- which, ahem, just launched a new Web site, has just done something a bit more newsworthy. On Friday, March 20, the agency closed its Charleston office so that employees could take the day to volunteer for Operation Home, a non-profit that helps people remain in their homes by increasing home safety and accessibility.

    The agency’s staff spent the day in Hollywood, S.C., with Operation Home building a wheelchair ramp to enable an area resident to get in and out of their home safely. The result was a 29-foot wheelchair ramp to provide easy access for the homeowner.

    Of the effort, The Brandon Agency VP Media Director Shelby Greene said: “As a business organization, The Brandon Agency believes that we have a responsibility to serve others and give back in our surrounding communities. It’s wonderful to be a part of an agency that sees the importance of serving those in need and encourages us to take the time to do just that as a team. We believe Operation Home serves a valuable purpose and we are thrilled to jump on board with them.”

    Yes, that's much, much better that touting the launch of a new Web site.
  • This Ad Agency Now Makes Its Client's Hamburgers

    In the continuing shift away from the actual duties of, you know, creating advertising, 72andSunny has created a new spicy burger for Carl's Jr. The agency came up with the burger concept, named it and designed the packaging -- but they also developed the burger's ingredients. 

    Of the involvement, 72andSunny CCO Glenn Cole said: “We don’t look at our job as being an ad agency or marketing agency. We see our job as being an accelerator of business.”

    An accelerator of business. Well, it's good to know that an agency now thinks that creating advertising to help sell a product is now so boring that they would rather create the product as well. Of course, there's nothing really wrong with that. After all, advertising people are creative. So why not help develop creative food?
  • 11 Pieces of Career Advice From Mad Men's Peggy Olson

    In an LA Times Entertainment piece, you can find 11 pieces of career advice for women that are based on the Peggy Olson character from Mad Men. And we all know Peggy, who rose from obscurity to full on executive fame over the course of the series, has learned a lot and has much to share.

    Advice ranges from not relying on your femininity to get ahead to demanding appropriate work space to taking power when it comes your way to maintaining a professional relationship even when there is a lot of personal baggage to never fall in love with your married boss.

    Peggy's been through a lot. She's grown professionally and personally. And she's become wise with advice to share. We'll see her a few more times as Mad Men makes its final run this Spring.

  • Yannick Bollore Is Perfectly Happy Havas Isn't Huge

    In the advertising holding company world, which is run exclusively by men, and in the regular world which, some would argue, is still run by men, there is and always has been a fixation with size. And size in the sense that bigger is always better. That line of thinking runs rampant from the boardroom to the bedroom. 

    But not everyone thinks bigger is better and while "being huge" is good if you're in a porn flick, that's not always the case in business. Havas CEO Yannick Bollore has no desire to be the biggest holding company. In fact, he thinks Havas is perfectly sized. He says, "Havas has the ideal scale. We are the fittest group in the industry today and our size is the key to our current success." 

    And on his competitor's fixation with swelling to ever larger girth, Bollore adds, "It'll just make us slower. I do not want to be the biggest. This obsession is nonsense, and for what?" 

    What's that saying? "It's not the size that matter. It's how you use it."

    So take that Sorrell and Levy. Bigger is not always better. Especially when you're trying to hook up with...um...a smaller brand.
  • Mad Men's Jon Hamm Just Completed 30 Days of Alcohol Rehab

    Well -- this is sad, but it has a happy ending. Mad Men star Jon Hamm recently completed 30-day stint at Silver Hill Hospital in New Canaan, Connecticut for alcohol addiction. One could joke about that mirroring his Mad Men character, Don Draper, but I'll leave that one alone.

    In a statement made by Hamm's publicist, Annett Wolf, Hamm has strong support from his girlfriend, actress Jennifer Westfeldt. Hamm checked into Silver Hill at the end of February.

    Hamm will make his final appearances as Don Draper as the remaining episodes of the last season of Mad Men kick off April 5.
  • Like A Car Dealer Screaming 'Come On Down!' This Agency Has Announced 'Limited Time Discounts'

    If there were anything an ad agency could do to further remove itself from trusted business partner and thrust itself ever deeper into insignificant vendor hell, it would be to actually put out a press release touting the fact that it's offering "a limited time promotion on all media packages."

    The release adds: "SEO SEM, infographics, animations, responsive websites, copywriting and PPC management are also included in this sales event."

    And in a supremely dumbed-down explanation of marketing that treats its audience like uninformed children, the release continues: "Advertising can be incredibly complex. Fortunately agency’s consultants can help streamline and simplify marketing efforts. A single campaign has many components, all of which must work together successfully for the plan to succeed."

    So if you need to be schooled on advertising or need "up to a 10% discount" on your next campaign, give a shout out to Eye to Ad Media  (http://www.eyetoad.com/) whose URL, oddly, spells "eye toad" -- bringing up an entirely different image than that of a professional ad agency.
  • AOL CEO Tim Armstrong Says Agencies Are All Talk And Little Action

    Speaking at the AAAA's Transformation Conference in Austin, AOL CEO Tim Armstrong isn't 100 percent happy with agencies delivering on all their hype about new methods of advertising. He gives them an A- for the talk and a Bi for execution. This, really, should be no surprise to anyone. At all. Agencies are masters in pontificating about the latest shiny new object, but when it comes to doing actual work -- well, not so much.

    In another observation of the obvious, Armstrong thinks agencies do a poor job marketing themselves, saying: "From a talent perspective, from a client perspective, from a media perspective, the ongoing discussion about ad agencies and what comes up in those marketplaces in general...very little of it talks about the value proposition. There's a lot of value getting driven here that will get you better talent, get you better clients."

    But despite his misgivings on agency value proposition, Armstrong still thinks marketers need agencies. He added: "The biggest misnomer that people seem to have in the agency business is this whole notion of whether or not you need an agency. The clients don't have the headcount to operationalize a lot of the stuff we just talked about in general. They'll hire their people, they'll get there, but right now they don't."

    Good news for agencies, perhaps.
  • Ooo! Ooo! Agency Launches New Web Site That Is 'Closely Aligned With Company's Vision' !!

    BREAKING! The Brandon Agency, an ad agency based in Myrtle Beach that provides "award-winning marketing communications programs and campaigns proven to drive client success has...wait for it...launched a new Web site (http://www.thebrandonagency.com/)! It's completely redesigned! And they are really proud of it. So let's all be proud right along with them.

    Of the new site and the agency's focus, The Brandon Agency CEO Scott Brandon gushed: “Here at The Brandon Agency, big thinking is king. Our new site showcases how we specialize in developing and executing ideas that are good for our clients’ business; big ideas that will produce growth for them, while at the same time providing accountability and measurement.”

    The whole new site/non-news element aside, the site does look quite good. It's clean, straightforward and uncluttered. None of that "we are so f*cking creative, we don't care if our site gives you a seizure of makes you feel like an incompetent idiot" nonsense. Nope, just clear and concise information.

    But wait, there's more! Brandon adds: “This is the first phase or our site redesign. We will be launching Phase 2 later in the year which includes a more in-depth look into our agency’s people and capabilities.”
  • Maurice Levy to Get Hip With David Guetta During Cannes Lions

    At this year's Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, Publicis Groupe Chairman and CEO Maurice Levy will take the stage with David Guetta, world-renowned French DJ Producer, for the Groupe's seminar which will explore innovation, creativity and the "zeitgeist of our industry today."

    The seminar is called "Making the Brand: Authenticity and Influence through Celebrity Endorsements" and will take place in the Grand Auditorium on Thursday, June 25 at 4:00 p.m. CET, at the Palais des Festivals.

    Guetta, as you may know, is a musician and marketer who has done his share of celebrity endorsements. From partnerships with brands like MUMM, Renault and most recently, TAG Heuer, to co-designing a pair of Beats by Dr. Dre, and co-founding a specialized agency for celebrity marketing, My Love Affair, Guetta also just released a new album titled "Listen" with international artists including Nicki Minaj, John Legend, Sia, and others.

    Together with Levy, the two will discuss how celebrity endorsements have evolved from a simple play for buzz to a transformational creative role in marketing, advertising, and branding. Guetta will also give the audience an inside look at just how pivotal social media is in building relationships between artists and their audiences.

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