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.

Sadoun Presents Results for First Time as Publicis Returns to Growth in U.S.

Publicis Groupe's new CEO Arthur Sadoun appeared relaxed as he presented improved quarterly results to analysts for the first time today.

Sadoun took over from predecessor Maurice Lvy who had earned a reputation as a great storyteller during his 30 years in the role on June 1.

Luckily, the new CEO had some encouraging second-quarter numbers to present, with group revenue at $2.89 billion. Organic growth (excluding acquisitions) reached 0.8% in the second quarter, compared to the same period last year. That was a marked improvement over the 1.2% decline in the first quarter of 2017.

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Terri & Sandy, Eleven Win Top Honors at the Small Agency Awards

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The Highsand Gut-Wrenching Lowsof Small-Agency Life

Fewer assholes, more freedom and a tight-knit team are some of the perks of working at a small agency.

The downsides? For one, there's nobody to blame when things derail.

More than 200 attendees gathered at Ad Age's Small Agency Conference and Awards in Nashville Wednesday to talk about the triumphs and tribulations of working at a small shop. We spoke to a few of them about the best and worst parts of the job.

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Small Agency Conference Photos: Scenes From the Opening Party

Ad Age's annual Small Agency Conference opened with an night of drinks, food and a performance by former "The Voice" contestant Preston James at Martin's Bar-B-Que Joint in downtown Nashville. The party was sponsored by MailChimp. Photos by Jon Morgan for Advertising Age.

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Southwest Airlines Begins Media Review After Three Decades With One Agency

Southwest Airlines is conducting a media agency review after working with Dallas-based Camelot Strategic Marketing & Media for more than 30 years.

"As our business grows and adapts to an ever-changing media landscape, Southwest Airlines is exploring options in the marketplace to ensure we have the right paid media capabilities in place at the right costs," a spokeswoman said in an emailed statement.

Camelot resigned the business and decided not to participate in the review, according to Tom Kalahar, the agency's CEO. "Sometimes it's just time to move on," said Kalahar in a statement provided via email. "Camelot's nearly three decades long partnership has lasted through some of Southwest's greatest challenges and successes. We feel like we are part of the Southwest family but will just not be in the family business any longer."

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Small Agency Conference: Barton F. Graf's Jeff Benjamin Has 3 Tips on Surviving Advertising

Barton F. Graf's executive creative director breaks it down for you in under a minute in this video from the sidelines of Ad Age's annual Small Agency Conference, taking place this year in Nashville.

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Heartfield and Austin Take Creative Reins at BBH London, MAL/For Good Names a Managing Director

BBH has named Ian Heartfield and Anthony Austin executive creative directors at its London headquarters. ECD Nick Gill hands over the leadership reins to his former deputies, but he'll continue to direct creative on the agency's Tesco and Barclays accounts, as well as write work himself.

"Making this decision has been very easy, because I have such affection and admiration for my two worthy successors," Gill said in a statement. "Ant and Ian are very different people, they bring very different skills to the table. But they are totally aligned in their ambition for BBH, and they complement each other brilliantly."

Heartfield joined the agency in 2010 and has led accounts including Absolut, Uber, Audi and St. John Ambulance. His past work includes the Cannes Gold-Lion winning "Birth" spot for Audi as well as Guinness' Cannes Grand Prix-winning "noitulovE," created while he was at AMV BBDO.

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U.K. Bans Gender Stereotypes in Ads

The U.K.'s Advertising Standards Authority has vowed to take a tougher line on gender stereotypes in ads, arguing that that they are harmful to society.

The watchdog is pledging to eliminate, for example, ads that show women being left with sole responsibility for cleaning up a family mess, while men fail at simple household tasks.

Currently, the ASA bans ads for inappropriate sexualization (like this American Apparel ad that sexualized schoolgirls) and for promoting unhealthily thin ideals (as Yves Saint Laurent did a couple of years ago), but gender stereotypes have often slipped through the self-regulatory net.

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Havas Wins Lead Agency Duties for Con Edison

Con Edison has named Havas New York its lead agency for creative and media, a win that comes after a number of senior executive departures from the agency and the loss of the Dos Equis account.

Havas won the account following a competitive review, which was run by Joanne Davis Consulting. The agency, which will work on data and experience design for Con Edison in addition to creative and media, expects its first creative work for the company to come out early next year. Con Edison previously worked with The Gate Worldwide.

The win is "proof positive of the caliber of the new team and the capabilities we've been investing in," said Havas New York's CEO Laura Maness, adding that the industry will "continue to hear from us."

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DDB Wins Miller Lite Creative Duties From 180LA

DDB Chicago has won the creative account for Miller Lite away from 180LA, three months after taking the digital business from DigitasLBi. But now comes the hard part: Jump-starting the nation's fourth-largest beer brand as big brews continue to struggle.

"Starting this week, we are consolidating the Miller Lite creative responsibilities at DDB Chicago," MillerCoors CMO David Kroll said in an internal memo.

"This transition will be seamless as we are keeping the business within the Omnicom family. We are moving some of the best creative talent from our previous agencies 180LA and Juniper Park, into a new team at DDB in order to have a best-in-class creative and planning team." The brewer will also be "strengthening our relationship with DDB by moving global creative for Miller Genuine Draft to DDB's London-based agency Adam & Eve," he said.

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McCann Worldgroup Files Protest Against U.S. Army

Charging that its elimination from an agency review for the U.S. Army's business was "an arbitrary and capricious decision," McCann Worldgroup has filed a formal Government Accountability Office pre-award bid protest against the Army.

In January, the U.S. Army released a request for proposals for its advertising and marketing business. An Army representative said at the time that the mandated review "estimates the contract ceiling to not exceed $4 billion" over a period up to a decade.

McCann Worldgroup, which includes Weber Shandwick and UM, has held the business since 2005 and reaps an estimated $30 to $40 million in annual revenue from the account. The Army last extended its contract with McCann Worldgroup in November 2015 for another 18 months.

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GroupM's Essence Doubles Billings by Adding Target, NBCUniversal

Essence suddenly drew the spotlight earlier this summer when WPP's GroupM said it would invest more heavily in the digital agency, which it bought in 2015, partly through merging two other agencies with bigger names.

Now, Essence is gaining two major clients from elsewhere in GroupM, Target and NBC Universal, which will more than double its media billings to nearly $3 billion.

GroupM, the largest media buyer in the world, is tasking Essence, historically a purely digital agency known for handling Google's digital media, with figuring out how to better measure traditional media using data and insights. That's a challenge that many in the industry are racing to tackle. The agency intends work with its clients to build new capabilities in these areas, then help spread that knowledge to other GroupM agencies.

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Agency Brief: Monkeys, Lobsters, Pickles and Ice Cream

I'm back! And I survived (and - dare I say - enjoyed) my first trip to Cannes. A big thank you to my fellow Ad Agers for filling in on Agency Briefs while I gallivanted around Europe.

Before we get into this week's Agency Brief, here's a quick reminder: Ad Age's Small Agency Conference and Awards in Nashville is next week, July 18 -19. Hope to see you all there. Now onto this week's happenings.

Accenture must be bananas about The Monkeys

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See All the 2017 Emmy Nominees for Outstanding Commercial

It seems the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the organization that decides the Emmy nominees, was out to make a statement with this year's Outstanding Commercial nominees. Socially-minded ads dominated the lineup, including two from the Ad Council's "Love Has No Labels" campaign, which earned last year's Emmy, as well as another promoting this year's Women's March.

The winner will be announced on September 16 during the Creative Arts Emmys telecast on FXX. The ceremony will be held at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.

Check out all of the honorees below.

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Bullish Drops GNC to Invest Quarter of a Million Dollars in Startup

New York accelerator agency Bullish has ended its relationship with health and nutrition brand GNC in order to invest upwards of $250,000 in subscription-based vitamin supplement startup Care/of, a move that comes six months after GNC sent a letter of intent to sue Fox for rejecting its Super Bowl ad.

Mike Duda, managing partner of Bullish, which handled creative duties for GNC's Big Game spot, said the decision to drop the account had nothing to do with a badly botched Super Bowl ad deal. "It's a bet on the future versus an opportunity in the present," he said, adding that the agency has invested "over a quarter of a million dollars" in Care/of.

The week before the Super Bowl, the GNC commercial was rebuffed by the National Football League, four days after Fox cleared it in writing. Three days later, GNC sent Fox Broadcasting Co. a letter of intent, saying it planned to pursue legal action against the company, claiming it suffered "significant economic and reputational damages, lost opportunities, and consequential damages" over the ad it had initally cleared.

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Deloitte's Heat Wins the Global Creative Account for John Hancock and Manulife

After 32 years with Interpublic Group's Hill Holliday in the U.S., financial services company Manulife, which operates as John Hancock domestically, has hired Deloitte Digital's Heat as its global creative agency. Hill Holliday did not participate in the review.

All eyes have been on the big consultancies as they continue to encroach on traditional ad agencies' territory, particularly in media, but this could be a sign that the creative space is no safer.

"Heat's creative was by far the strongest," said Manulife Global CMO Gretchen Garrigues. "They got customer feedback on the creative they were developing [in the pitch] and it was very thoughtful and innovative. They probably benefit from the relationship they have with Deloitte because it helps them add structure to the creative side of the world in terms of research."

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Pepsi Launches an Omnicom-Only Creative Review

PepsiCo has put its flagship soda brand in creative review in the U.S., but the brand is only considering a handful of Omnicom Group agencies, according to people familiar with the matter.

The marketer has a long relationship with Omnicom, but in recent years has moved assignments around, including handing some work to non-Omnicom shops such as the independent agency Mekanism. The review signals that Pepsi could be returning to a lead agency model. Its restriction to participants from Omnicom is good news for the agency holding company, although there could be winners and losers within it.

"Omnicom has been our longstanding partner because we value the diverse array of agencies and talent they have under one roof," said a PepsiCo spokeswoman. "We continually evaluate the best ways to market our brands, and in the U.S. on brand Pepsi, we are once again looking within Omnicom for custom creative solutions."

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WPP Acquires Top German Shop to Soften Brexit Blow

WPP has bought one of Germany's top five independent agencies, Thjnk, whose clients include McDonald's, Ikea, Audi, Jack Link's and Germany's second biggest bank, Commerzbank.

Thjnk has sold 100% of the agency to WPP. There are 26 partners in the business, who all agreed the deal.

The move is positioned by the world's largest communications group as part of its strategic response to Brexit. As the U.K. prepares to leave the European Union, WPP is expanding its power base on the continent outside Britain (its home country), and securing access to global talent who may not be able or willing to work in the U.K. in future.

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General Mills Serves Up Tennis for Brits This Summer

It's summer in England, and that means tennis at Wimbledon, where spectators enjoy matches along with strawberries and cream (and it usually rains). To add to the excitement this year, Johanna Konta is the first British woman to make it to a semi-final at Wimbledon since 1978.

Her success is good news for General Mills. The marketer signed up Konta as part of a big push on tennis this summer across its Nature Valley and Haagen-Dazs brands.

Konta stars in a campaign themed "#The Court is Yours" for Nature Valley's protein bars, spearheaded by a humorous video from agency Space showing amateur players of all ages, shapes and sizes trying their hands at tennis -- with varying degrees of success.

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KBS Global Tech Chief Plans Exit, New Strategy Leader Comes Aboard

Twelve-year KBS veteran Matt Powell, who has served as global chief technology officer since last summer, will leave at the end of the year, the agency confirmed on Tuesday.

"Matt has been instrumental to KBS' success over the past 12 years, most recently as our global chief technology officer, and although we're very sorry to see him go, we understand that he is ready to take on a new challenge," Guy Hayward, global CEO of KBS told Ad Age.

Hayward said the agency was "never totally sure" if Powell would return from his recent sabbatical, but it's "delighted that he'll be helping us transition and find a worthy successor over the next six months."

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'Meet Graham' Team Joins Droga5, McGarryBowen Shifts Creative Leaders

Tom and George McQueen, the identical twin creative team behind Clemenger BBDO Melbourne's award-winning "Meet Graham" campaign, for Transport Accident Commission in Australia, have joined Droga5 New York as senior copywriter and senior art director, respectively. The TAC campaign recently won two Grand Prix in the Cyber and Health categories as well as multiple Gold Lions at the Cannes Lions festival in June. The pair, who were recently featured in Ad Age's "Creatives You Need to Know" report, have also created platform-spanning campaigns for Airbnb, Myer and solar provider Origin.

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Baby Dove Pulls U.K. Breastfeeding Ad After Complaints

Dove has made a name for itself as a marketer by pushing boundaries and depicting women of all ages, shapes and sizes in its "Campaign for Real Beauty."

But in the U.K., the Unilever-owned brand seems to have misjudged the appetite for "real," with an ad for the recently-launched Dove Baby skincare showing a woman breastfeeding her baby.

After a barrage of complaints from the British public, Unilever has pulled the ad, which reads, "75% say breastfeeding in public is fine. 25% say put them away. What's your way?"

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From Betty White to Trump: Here's the PR Guy Behind Trump Jr.'s Russia Meeting

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Tokyo Prosecutors Send Dentsu Case to Court After Employee's Suicide

Prosecutors in Tokyo are sending a case against Dentsu Inc. to court after the 2015 suicide of a young employee who had complained about overwork and exhaustion, according to local newspaper reports. But individual Dentsu executives were not indicted in the case, which led to reforms and soul-searching about long hours and tough working conditions at the ad giant's Japanese operations and at the country's companies in general.

The Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office has sent Dentsu's case to the city's summary court on the charge that it had employees doing illegal overtime, The Asahi Shimbun newspaper reported. In Japan, summary courts hear cases involving fines or lighter punishments; reports said the court would decide whether to fine Dentsu.

Matsuri Takahashi, a 24-year-old Dentsu recruit in Japan, jumped from a window of her corporate dormitory in December 2015. She had complained on Twitter about how much she was working and how tired she was. Labor inspectors deemed her suicide a case of "karoshi," a Japanese term that means "death from overwork."

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The Next Big Title in Media Agencies: Chief AI Officer?

In the world of media, artificial intelligence may be hot, but it's no shiny object.

Concepts like artificial intelligence, machine learning and natural language processing are bleeding into all facets of the ad business. Today, media shops can set up AI dashboards that alert them to strange patterns in their metrics, and some agencies are looking at ways to use AI to make their internal processes more efficient and make employees happier.

And, of course, clients are looking for work that has AI woven in, whether it's Alexa skills or chatbots.

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Agency Brief: Literal Briefs, Two Kinds of Butts and More

This isn't about Marcel, we promise

The Fourth of July fireworks may be over, but there were a few sparks flying at Publicis Groupe when Mediavest Spark said Thursday it was rebranding as Spark Foundry. The new name aims to reflect a "bold energy of a startup spirit with a powerhouse soul," the company claims (in a statement, which seems like an old-school way for a startup -- where's the Snap?). The new name retires the venerable Mediavest brand, which grew out of Televest, a TV buying unit out of DMB&B that launched in 1993. For those of you who don't know your ad history, that's D'Arcy Masius, Benton & Bowles.

O.K., this is about Marcel

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Publicis CEO Sadoun: 'I Am What I Am Because of Creativity'

Publicis Groupe's chairman and CEO Arthur Sadoun defended his controversial Marcel project which entails pulling out of all awards shows for a year to help fund a group-wide AI system as a draw for both talent and clients.

Speaking at the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers' annual lunch, Sadoun told a room full of marketers that Marcel would make a big difference to the younger generation.

"They are the ones who will find the kind of ideas we are looking for. They are not behaving in the same way we are," he said. "They want to be recognized quite quickly, they want to be engaged, they want to touch things in a different way. This is why we are building a platform."

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Agency Brief: Where Is Everybody?

Is there anyone out there reading this? It's hard to tell, because the agency world is pretty much closed for business. Apparently you're all still sleeping off your Cannes hangovers and prepping for the Fourth of July, when Americans celebrate their country's independence with top 100 countdowns and $1,776 discounts on Toyotas. No one even seems to be busy churning out those stirring local "Be a patriot, buy a dining room set!" spots.

Those of you who are working seem to be solely focused on sending out press releases telling us that you won a Grand Prix at Cannes or a Gold, or many of them. Quit it. We know.

We ourselves are very busy, getting ready for our Small Agency Conference in Awards in Nashville July 18-19 -- buy your tickets here-- but in the meantime we managed to dig up a few news nuggets for this Agency Brief.

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Why Unilever is Halving Its Agencies and Investing in Strategy

One agency executive recently said he sees more fear among packaged-goods clients than he's witnessed since the economy bottomed out in 2008, miring the country in the Great Recession. He blamed pressure from retailers and investors alike.

The massive marketer Unilever has seen plenty of both, having thwarted a proposed acquisition by 3G in February. Now it's trying to make its own operations more efficient, starting by combining two global marketing organizations into one. And Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Keith Weed is equally keen on eliminating waste at agencies.

"We should get the best price for our consumers," he said in an interview last week in Cannes. "And if that means rooting out inefficiencies in someone else's business, I will do it."

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Nick Brien Named CEO for the Americas and U.S. at Dentsu Aegis

Nick Brien, a seasoned agency executive who has been CEO of McCann Worldgroup and was most recently global CEO of iCrossing, has been named the CEO of Dentsu Aegis Network Americas and U.S.

Brien succeeds Rob Horler, who recently stepped down from his role as U.S. CEO for the network, and Nigel Morris, who was previously Americas CEO. Morris will take on the role of chief strategy and innovation officer, a new role within the network.

Dentsu Aegis agencies include Carat, Dentsu, iProspect, Isobar, McGarryBowen, Merkle and Vizeum.

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