Maurice Levy's Holiday Message: The More The Merrier

Maurice Levy is up to his holiday shenanigans again. This year, the Publicis Groupe head honcho delivers his holiday greeting ( with a technological twist. Based on how many people view the video (at one given moment as determined by the viewer's webcam) the video will change from just Maurice sitting at his desk to a full blown party with streamers, a Chinese Dragon, confetti and, yes, cheerleaders. Alas, you have to have quite a crowd viewing the video at any given moment in order to see those cheerleaders. What great fun though. Rather than the video viewing experience being -- as it often is -- an individual experience, this one encourages group viewership. Alas, many in the business have no idea what that is and couldn't possibly relate to an experience akin to watching the final episode of M*A*S*H with 200 of your closest friends. But Maurice knows. Maurice understands. But what about next year? Will it be a post-merger mashup that includes John Wren? Will Wren be able to live up to Levy's wit?

Ad agencies are notorious for jumping on the latest trend so it is without surprise we are told Bonita Springs-based ad agency Atilus has decided to accept bitcoins as a method of payment. What is bitcoin? It’s a form of electronic (and physical) currency based on open source cryptography and is independent of any central financial authority. Bitcoins originate on servers called bitcoin miners where bitcoin transactions are recorded and the recording of these transactions generates more bitcoins. Sounds like a silly online game, doesn't it? While there seems to be a lot of pro-bitcoin chatter lately, a prominent economist thinks it's bunk and doomed to fail.
     But Atilus isn't phased. Like a school boy opening his fist Nintendo for Christmas, Atilus President and CEO Zach Katkin said, “Bitcoin is an amazing platform that will change the way the world understands money. Although support is still in its infancy, we understand its potential and have already been contacted by future clients looking to pay in bitcoin. We want to help educate fellow businesses on its value as a protocol.  Atilus’ mission is bettering our community and growing our clients’ businesses through technology. Bitcoin is completely aligned with this mission. We’ve recently started accepting Bitcoin via and the experience has been amazing.” Spoken like a true ad man drinking this week's Kool-Aid.

Hmm. Talk about making a mountain out of a mole hill. When was the last time you heard anyone in advertising get excited -- positively or negatively -- over $135.73? Like a former CEO of mine once said to a cheap new business prospect, "I can't take a shit for less than $5,000," it's inconceivable anyone would give a crap about $135.73. But in Florida, apparently, they do. It seems two execs from the Southeast Volusia Advertising Authority spent -- wait for it -- $135.73 on five lunches using the corporate charge card. First of all, where can you buy five lunches for $135.73? Second, unless the lunches are business-related, who even does this? Oh wait. The boondogglers are said to have paid back the charges. But, really? It probably cost the organization more than $135.73 in man hours just to process the repayment.

OK, totally hilarious. Remember the original Dove Beauty video in which the model was miraculously transformed from normal to beauty magazine abnormal with digital editing? Well, Victor & Spoils has gone the other way. Working with the original video, the agency transformed  the red underwear-clad model from bombshell to...Santa. Yeah, that's right. Complete with pot belly and beard. Awesome!

While we don't know exactly how many,  Kansas City-based agency Barkley is laying off several staff members in relation to client losses and budget cuts. The agency has promised to employ those affected through the holiday season and aid them in their job search into the New Year.

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