AdAge: Account Action

Advertising Age - Agency News
Advertising Age - Agency News
Ad, media, direct, PR and promotions agency news: Need-to-know account shifts, personnel moves, and best ideas and campaigns to come out of the agency business.

Creativity Top 5: The Best Brand Ideas of the Week

In this week's episode, Peru and Sweden break new ground in tourism marketing, Elton John and Depeche Mode bring fresh thinking to music promotion, and a clever teenager "hires" advertising's famous icons for a school project.

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This Ad Agency Bets on Vets

For most ad agency staffers, Memorial Day is celebrated with a day off, marching bands, retail discounts and perhaps fireworks. But at one New York shop, it's decidedly quieter.

"Memorial Day is very personal for everyone around here," said Sherry Russell, co-founder and chief creative officer of Ayni Brigade. "We are low-key in our observation we allow our staff the space and time to observe [or] serve in a way that is most meaningful to them." This year the agency plans to post a brief essay by an employeean Army veteranon its social media pages about the significance of the day for its staff.

And the day does have special signficance for the agency, which by design is heavily staffed mainly by military vets.

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ZTE Taps Energy BBDO for Creative Following $900 Million U.S. Sanctions Fine

Two months after ZTE agreed to plead guilty and pay nearly $900 million for violating U.S. sanctions, the Chinese telecom equipment manufacturer has hired Energy BBDO as its creative agency in the U.S., according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The shop won the business after a competitive review, which was led by SRI, Ad Age learned. Representatives from Energy BBDO and SRI declined to comment.

ZTE, the fourth-largest mobile device supplier in the U.S., declined to comment on the new relationship with Energy BBDO or its U.S. marketing push, but a representative said via email that the company has "some great work and activities coming down the line."

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A PR Guy Is the Most Liked CEO in Advertising

Who is the most liked CEO in the ad world? It's a PR executive, Richard Edelman, who handily trounced both Publicis CEO Maurice Levy and WPP's Chief Executive Martin Sorrell.

That's according to Owler, a crowdsourced business insights company that runs a National Likeability Study, conducted by polling its global database of 15 million companies and over 167,000 executives across a wide range of industries, such as artificial intelligence, food and beverage, finance and healthcare.

While hardly scientific --theoretically agency employees could flood the zone in support of their own CEO-- the findings are stil interesting. Of the 25 industries Owler surveyed, CEOs in the marketing and creative agencies ranked No. 1 with an average score of 74.2 out of 100. (Owler said in a statement that means that CEOs at marketing and creative shops are very well-liked relative to executives in other industries.)

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Depeche Mode Turns Over Its Facebook Page to Fans -- for an Entire Year

In order to get through her chemotherapy, cancer survivor Liz Dwyer wore the shirt of her favorite band, '80s synth pop icons Depeche Mode, every time she would go for treatment. "It would remind me of all the good memories and keep me feeling like I was alive again," she says in a video for the band, wiping away tears.

Hers is just one of the many stories now on the band's Facebook page, which Depeche Mode has turned over to a different fan to moderate -- every day, for a year. The idea is geared toward promoting the release of the band's 14th studio album, "Spirit," and the concert tour it began May 5 in Stockholm.

More then 3,000 people applied earlier this year after lead singer Dave Gahan posted a message inviting people to participate. Depeche Mode's management team has also helped secure celebrity fans' involvement. In addition to Dwyer, moderators have included a journalism student, astronaut Tim Peake, Tony Hawk (who brought in his friend Trent Reznor) and most recently Linkin Park. The band took over the page Friday, the day its own new album came out.

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GroupM Names First 'Chief Transformation Officer'

Lindsay Pattison, global CEO of Maxus, is taking on a wider role as the first-ever chief transformation officer to lead change programs at WPP's GroupM.

Pattison's new gig is the latest in a string of high-profile hires and changes at the the world's largest media buyer since last year, including the naming of global CEO Kelly Clark and the introduction of technology suite mPlatform. Pattison will continue as global CEO of Maxus, a role she's held since 2014.

So exactly what is she going to transform?

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CP&B Global CEO Lori Senecal to Leave Advertising

CP&B Global Chief Executive Officer Lori Senecal will step down from her role at the MDC Partners shop at the end of the year and exit the ad business, Senecal and the agency said. CP&B is seeking her successor.

Senecal said she and CP&B Chairman Chuck Porter privately sketched out the plan for her departure when she joined as the agency's first global CEO in March 2015.

Porter said he brought Senecal on because the shop needed her "management genius" and organizational strengths. "And it paid off better than I thought it would," he said. CP&B has not lost a client since she joined, he added, calling that "mindboggling these days."

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Amnesty International's 'The Refugee Nation' and McCann New York Are Top Winners at the 2017 One Show

"The Refugee Nation," a campaign for Amnesty International from Ogilvy New York that sent a team of refugee athletes to the Olympics -- with their own anthem and their own flag, earned the Best of Show at the One Club's 44th Annual One Show Awards. The campaign additionally earned One Show best of discipline honors in the design and cross-platform categories.

"In a year rife with political discord and social upheaval all around the world, 'The Refugee Nation' is a prime example of how our industry can both reflect and influence our culture," said Kevin Swanepoel, The One Club for Creativity CEO said in a statement.

McCann New York also earned the Agency of the Year honor, continuing a stellar awards season run. It earned the top agency nod at the Andy Awards and earlier this week at the ADC Annual Awards. The agency earned a Best of Discipline honor in the interactive category for the already much-decorated "Field Trip to Mars," for Lockheed Martin, which also nabbed this year's "Client of the Year" title.

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The Great Wall: Steve Hayden Remembers Ogilvy's Chris Wall

Chris Wall, the finest writer I've been privileged to call my partner and friend, passed away in the ICU of Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago just as Tuesday, May 9, turned into Wednesday, May 10.

So who was Chris Wall and why should you care?

Because one of the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People is to recognize a Highly Effective Person when you meet one and do your best to emulate whatever they're doing to be Highly Effective.

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5 Myths About Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is the most powerful tool in a marketer's toolbox, but the term "influence" is widely misunderstood, said Team Epiphany founder and Managing Partner Coltrane Curtis at the One Club's Creative Summit Thursday.

"Influence is a force of nature. Influence is not for sale; you can't sell influence," said Curtis, who started Team Epiphany in 2004. The influencer marketing shop works with brands like Coca-Cola, Nike, HBO, Cadillac, Heineken, Hendrick's Gin and Google.

Curtis broke down the five key principles that marketers have to always remember when it comes to so-called influencer marketing.

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Vivendi Makes Long-Awaited Offer to Buy Majority Stake in Havas

Havas is in play, as its majority shareholder Groupe Bollore enters discussions with French entertainment and media group Vivendi over its $2.56 billion offer today for the Bollore stake.

Havas and Vivendi are already connected through the Bollore family and its web of shareholdings. Vincent Bollore heads Groupe Bollore and is also the chairman of Vivendi and a shareholder in that company as well as Havas; his son Yannick Bollore is CEO of Havas.

In a long-expected move, Vivendi today made an indicative offer for the approximately 60% stake Groupe Bollore owns in Havas, at a price of 9.25 euros per share, to be financed using Vivendi`s available cash. That price represents a premium of 8.8% over the closing price for Havas shares on May 10, 2017.

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Total Drag: This Creative's Onstage Hobby Keeps Him Fierce

When Gianni Gurnani isn't brainstorming ideas for clients as a creative director, he's camping and vamping it up under his drag queen name, Gigi Giubilee.

Gurnani, a creative director at Leo Burnett Hong Kong who moved from the U.S. last February, says drag wigs, heels, makeup and all -- helps him think more imaginatively and feel more confident when talking to clients and managers. We talked to him about his fabulous sideline.

This interview has been lightly edited for flow and readability.

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Uniqlo Seeks Creative Agency Amid U.S. Marketing Push

Uniqlo is seeking a creative agency partner in the U.S., according to people with knowledge of the matter. The review comes as the Japanese apparel brand looks to increase awareness and amplify marketing efforts in the states.

In March, Uniqlo, owned by Fast Retailing, hosted a New York-based preview of its upcoming fall and winter lines, including new designer collaborations. At the time, Yuki Katsuta, senior VP-global research and design, said "marketing is critically important in the U.S.," noting that the strategy goes beyond increasing its store count and is more about communicating Uniqlo's brand identity.

Representatives from Uniqlo did not respond to inquiry for comment about the creative agency search.

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KBS Picks Up Belvedere Vodka's Global Creative Account

Belvedere Vodka has hired KBS as its global creative agency of record, a nice win for the MDC Partners shop after a recent dip in revenue.

KBS, whose U.S. revenue fell 12.7% last year according to the Ad Age Datacenter, picked up the luxury spirits brand following a competitive review, according to people with knowledge of the situation. The pitch was managed internally without a consultant, they said.

Leanne Banks, global communications director for Belvedere Vodka, confirmed bringing on KBS as its creative agency, but declined to provide further comment on the relationship. According to the people familiar with the situation, KBS will handle both so-called above-the-line duties such as mass-media advertising and below-the-line promotional work.

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TM Advertising Buys Itself Back From Interpublic Group

In a deal led by TM Advertising CEO Becca Weigman, the Dallas-based agency has bought back its independence from Interpublic Group. It had been part of the agency holding company since 2001, when it was called Temerlin McClain and belonged to True North Communications, which Interpublic bought that year for $1.68 billion.

Interpublic declined to comment on the sale. Terms are not being disclosed.

TM's revenue fell 52.9% to $8.0M in 2016, according to the Ad Age Datacenter. At the end of 2015, TM lost one of its signature accounts, American Airlines, with which it had worked for 34 years. Weigman declined to comment on 2016 financials, citing Interpublic restrictions.

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R/GA Names Chloe Gottlieb, Taras Wayner Joint U.S. Chief Creative Officers

R/GA has promoted the creative team of Chloe Gotlieb and Taras Wayner from exec VP and executive creative directors to the newly created positions of joint chief creative officers for the U.S.

R/GA Founder-CEO Bob Greenberg and Vice Chairman and Global Chief Creative Officer Nick Law have been the agency's only other chief creative officers until now. Gottlieb and Wayner will continue to report to Law.

Gottlieb and Wayner, who have been working with each other for eight years, will work to spread the agency's "Stories and Systems" creative leadership model and philosophy across its six U.S. offices. The model, which includes different groups of up to 150 staffers working on multiple clients, focuses on building experiences or services for brands from the bottom up and then doing campaigns around them, said Gottlieb.

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72andSunny Expands Global Footprint, Launches Asia-Pacific Offering

72andSunny is going even more global as it launches an Asia-Pacific offering with new offices in Sydney and Singapore.

The MDC Partners shop, which already had locations in Los Angeles, New York and Amsterdam, has several founding clients and project partners for Singapore and Sydney, including eBay, Google and Dropbox. To connect with local creative communities in the new markets, 72andSunny plans to work with Semi-Permanent, Sea Shepherd and AFTRS (Australian, Film, Television and Radio School) on projects.

72andSunny's Chris Kay, who previously ran the Los Angeles office, will lead Asia-Pacific as partner and managing director. Jenny Campbell has been leading Los Angeles as managing director since March. She previously served as managing director of the agency's in-house maker lab and production studio, Hecho En 72.

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Grey Taps John Patroulis for Long-Vacant Role of Worldwide Chief Creative Officer

Prior to BBH, Patroulis co-founded San Francisco agency T.A.G., which went on to become Twofifteenmccann. There, he oversaw award-winning work for Xbox, including the "Halo 3 Believe" campaign, which set a new standard for the videogame category. He also previously worked at TBWA/Chiat/Day, he helped to create Adidas' "Impossible Is Nothing" campaign and began his career as a copywriter at New York's N.W. Ayer.

Patroulis will be based in Grey's New York office and partner with Grey New York CEO Debby Reiner. He will help set the agency's creative vision going forward and oversee all creative.

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Eight Things You Don't Know About 'Fearless Girl'

You'd be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn't know about Fearless Girl, the bronze statue standing defiantly across from the iconic Wall Street Charging Bull. But there are some interesting behind-the-scenes facts about the girl that may come as a surprise.

Here's what you likely do know: Fearless Girl was commissioned by asset management firm State Street Global Advisors to mark its initiative urging the 3,500-plus companies in which it invests for its clients to increase the number of women on their corporate boards. For an installation that is, in effect, an ad, Fearless Girl instantly resonated with the public; Senator Elizabeth Warren even tweeted a photo with her recently. And the creative genius behind the girl came from McCann New York.

And now here's what you likely don't know.

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IPG Mediabrands Global CEO Henry Tajer Leaves Agency

Henry Tajer, global CEO of IPG Mediabrands, is departing the company after holding the role for two years, the company confirmed Tuesday.

Tajer took the helm of Interpublic Group of Cos.' media agency network after previous global CEO Matt Seiler stepped down in March 2015. Tajer had previously served as the global chief operating officer for IPG Mediabrands.

Before joining Mediabrands, Tajer also held the roles of executive chairman and CEO of UM Australia.

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The Fox in the Henhouse: Agencies Balk When Consultants Come to Audit

"Whereas the auditor or agency adviser in the past was valued for their independence, with some of these lines having become blurred it is calling their impartiality in question," said Maarten Albarda, CEO of the marketing consultancy Flock Associates USA.

MediaLink Chairman-CEO Michael Kassan put it more bluntly: "You can't have a fox in the henhouse," he said. "This is potentially the most egregious example of someone grading their own homework."

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Hear the New 'Tagline' on Inspiring Creativity, With Dan Lin, Mike Sheldon and Michael Beneville

"You're not going to find the answer in a room," said Michael Beneville, the artist and designer, during the new episode of the "Tagline" podcast, which took Ad Age and iHeartMedia to Los Angeles to explore what inspires creativity. "It's, you're like staring at the bottle of shampoo and thinking like, 'Damn you, shampoo. Give me the answer.'"

Beneville was joined by fellow guests Mike Sheldon, chairman-CEO at Deutsch North America, and Dan Lin, the producer with credits including "The Lego Movie," plus host Gayle Troberman, chief marketing officer at iHeartMedia, and Yael Vengroff, a mixologist representing "Tagline" sponsor Bulleit Frontier Whisky.

"The biggest killer to good ideas is success," Sheldon argued.

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The Surge of Consultancies, and Nine Other Agency Facts You Need to Know

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Agency Revenue Up But Growth Rates Are Slowing

U.S. agency revenue and digital revenue increased again in 2016, according to the Agency Report 2017, but the pace is slowing amid the rise of consultancies, compression of spending by marketers and added competition from new agency models. Revenue growth for agencies was the slowest since 2013 -- and digital revenue growth slid to 8.0% last year from 13.5% in 2015.

"Agencies have dropped the ball," said Brigitte Majewski, VP-director of research at Forrester Research, arguing that agencies have not adapted to brands' data and technology needs and that they are too fragmented. This is giving an opening to new rivals like creative crowdsourcing firm Tongal, as well as consultancies such as Accenture Interactive and Deloitte Digital.

Holding companies have been making "great progress in consolidation," said Majewski, referring to the ongoing trend of agenciesincluding Publicis Communications, Ogilvy and Havasmerging under a single P&L model. Still, she said, it can take time to work out all the kinks and to educate clients about these new structures.

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WPP Cuts Sorrell's Pay, Puts Restrictions on Agency Expenses

It's not only Martin Sorrell tightening his belt. WPP Group is asking all its employees to hold down costs -- including at Cannes.

The WPP CEO's total pay for 2016 was cut by nearly a third, according to the holding company's annual report published Friday, though not a lot of people will be crying for him -- he's still making $62.2 million, down from about $91.1 million the previous year.

The slash in pay follows WPP's first quarter earnings results; the company reported a 3% drop in North American like-for-like revenue in the first quarter of 2017. Sorrell's pay has been an issue for some time, with shareholders directly challenging his succession planning and controversial $100 million compensation package last summer at the communications group's annual general meeting in London.

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Inside the New Vanguard of Hispanic-American Agencies

Curro Chozas' best idea could easily have turned out to be his worst.

The Los Angeles-based creative director scattered 100 cell phones around the streets of Guatemala on behalf of the wireless provider Movistar a few months ago. The idea was to see how many of them would be returned. The odds were not good: "It wasn't a safe idea," said Chozas, who happened to be in Guatemala with fellow Spaniard and famous chef Ferran Adria, the global ambassador for Movistar parent Telefonica. Guatemala is rife with official corruption and its reputation has suffered.

"Everyone believed no one would return any of the cellphones," he said. But in the end, 87 came back. "Latin Americans are more honest than people thought. It gave Guatemalans self-confidence."

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DDB Closes In On Miller Lite Digital Win

DDB Chicago is poised to get back in the beer business as lead digital and social agency for Miller Lite, according to people familiar with the matter. The assignment would be significant because it would bring the Omnicom shop back into the category for the first time since it lost the Anheuser-Busch InBev account in 2011. That long and storied relationship resulted in some of the most iconic beer ads of the modern era.

DDB and MillerCoors both declined comment, likely because the agreement has not been finalized.

Publicis Groupe's DigitasLBi is the digital incumbent on Lite. The creative account is at Omnicom's 180LA, which has held it since April of last year when MillerCoors moved it from Omnicom's TBWA/Chiat/Day. A DigitasLBi spokeswoman said: "We don't comment on client business and kindly defer inquiry to MillerCoors."

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WPP Digital Buys Deeplocal in Commitment to 'Future of Advertising'

WPP Digital, the digital investment arm of WPP, has acquired Deeplocal, a move that Nathan Martin, CEO of the 53-person shop, said shows that the holding company "sees the potential in an agency like us and the future of what advertising is going to be."

Deeplocal, one of Ad Age's Small Agency winners and Creativity Innovators last year, refers to itself as an "innovation studio," a fitting description for a shop rooted in engineering that creates inventions for clients. One of its well-known projects was the Netflix switch that lets people order takeout, dim their lights and turn on the service in a single flick. They also created the Netflix socks that pause whatever is on if someone falls asleep while binge-watching. The agency was also behind the Google Pay With a Photo Truck, which highlighted the search functionality of Google Photos by asking people to find a specific photo on their phone in 20 seconds and rewarding them with free food if they could.

"We're different because we don't come from an agency background; we come from an engineering, art and technology background," said Martin. The Pittsburgh-based shop, which launched in 2006, was born out of Carnegie Mellon University, where Martin was working in the school's art and technology lab, Studio for Creative Inquiry.

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Grey New York Creative Leader Andreas Dahlqvist Returns to DDB

Grey New York Chief Creative Officer Andreas Dahlqvist has left his post at the WPP agency to return to DDB as chief creative officer of newly formed Nord DDB, which brings the Stockholm, Copenhagen, Oslo and Helsinki shops together under one roof.

Dahlqvist, who has been at Grey for two-and-a-half years, will rejoin DDB in September. During his previous time at DDB, he served as executive creative director of its Stockholm office, which earned acclaim for its campaigns for the Swedish Armed Forces, McDonald's and Volkswagen, including the last's much-celebrated "Fun Theory" campaign.

Grey New York CEO Debby Reiner wrote in an internal memo that the agency has "recruited a new creative leader whom we will announce shortly." The shop has seen a number of creative leaders leave in the last 18 months, including Tor Myhren, former Grey Worldwide chief creative officer and New York president who left to head creative at Apple in December 2015, and Doug Fallon and Steven Fogel, the creative team behind the agency's much-lauded DirecTV work who moved to BBDO.

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Slowdown in North America Impacts WPP in Q1

WPP CEO Martin Sorrell blamed an ultra-competitive market and weaker performances by its clients for a 3% drop in North American like-for-like revenue in the first quarter of 2017.

Like-for-like revenue across the group, excluding acquisitions, was up just 0.2% in the first quarter of the year, although the overall picture was stronger, with total revenue up 1.2% to $4.457 billion.

Speaking to analysts at a results presentation, Sorrell said, "In our analysis of the top 20 clients, it's clear that the U.S. performance of our clients is not as good as the international performance."

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