Agency Brief: Small agency, industrial strength dildos

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Ad Age Deputy Editor Judann Pollack takes the stage at the annual Small Agency Conference.
Ad Age Deputy Editor Judann Pollack takes the stage at the annual Small Agency Conference. Credit: Frank Mazzini

There really is nothing like an early-morning earnings call when your editor is posting palm tree Instagrams from her hotel window. Not that I don't love truly love and treasure hearing about your EBDITA before I've finished my first coffee of the day. Really!

I had a bout of FOMO this week watching all the good times had at our ninth annual Small Agency Conference in Marina del Rey, California, and not just because of those palm trees. DiMassimo Goldstein chief creative Tom Christmann had the most entertaining conference notes ever. Lee Clow wore a vintage Apple hat as he told small agencies to think different and spark the next creative revolution. Nancy Hill cried. Hell, sounds like everyone cried.

Clow sprinkled in stories about Jay Chiat ("I always thought Jay was driven by what a lot of creative people are driven by—a big ego plus a giant dose of insecurity") and Steve Jobs (Clow recalled being on a flight with his colleague Steve Hayden, copywriter on Apple's "1984" spot. Clow had asked him about Jobs, "Why does he have to be such an asshole?" Hayden replied, "Well, if everybody you met was dumber than you, you'd probably get pissed off too.").

Anselmo Ramos, one of the founders of WPP shop David who recently set out to open independent agency Gut, dished on dating. A client, that is: "You feel it, man. You feel it in your gut. We try not to pitch. We're not good at pitching. What we do is date. We get together [with the potential client] and talk about advertising, life, and have cocktails. We see if we like each other. If it goes well you meet again, if it doesn't, you don't have a second date."

And Ad Age even told the story about how Fancy, a New York-based agency (which spoke at the conference about how it helped a chain of adult stores attract more women customers), got our attention by shipping a huge box of sex toys to our office. Nothing weird at all about rummaging through the contents of a giant box marked "INDUSTRIAL STRENGTH DILDOS" at your place of work. (Katie Keating, co-founder and creative director of Fancy, apparently got a kick out of presenting on this decidedly non-conference-like subject: "Now I can say dildo in front of 300 people.")

If you haven't already, check out our list of winners (you may very well be working for them one day!) Read on for this week's agency news, then go enjoy your weekend.

A pretty dope choice

Indie Brooklyn agency The Bam Connection is the new (and first) agency of record for Keystone Canna Remedies, one of the first medical marijuana dispensaries in Pennsylvania. The agency will handle creative work including digital, video, social media and strategy.

They seed the need for an agency

Milwaukee-based agricultural marketing agency Bader Rutter has been appointed agency of record in the U.S. for Pioneer, a seed brand that's part of DowDuPont. DowDuPont was formed by the 2017 merger of Dow AgroSciences and DuPont (and its agriculture division is called Corteva Agriscience). Doug Reynolds, Corteva Agriscience U.S. marketing and digital communications leader, in a statement called the agency's passion for agriculture "contagious."

On the move…

TBWA Media Arts Lab, Apple's bespoke agency, has hired Julian Cheevers (formerly of Droga5) as managing director in Los Angeles.

Danny Franklin, a former managing partner at Benenson Strategy Group, has joined Bully Pulpit Interactive as a partner in its New York office.

IPG Mediabrands' Reprise, a performance media marketing unit, has hired Renee Marquardt as a U.S. General Manager, a new role. Marquardt was previously a chief operating officer at digital marketing and ad agency Didit.

Rachel Winer, most recently BuzzFeed's senior VP of brand strategy for the Midwest, has taken over as the leader for Edelman's Chicago office. Before BuzzFeed, Winer was an executive VP and account director at Leo Burnett in Chicago.

Eric Springer resigns from Innocean

Innocean chief creative officer Eric Springer has left the Hyundai agency four months after being put on leave amid sexual harassment charges. "Innocean USA and Eric Springer jointly announce that Eric has decided to resign as its chief creative officer to pursue other opportunities. Innocean USA wishes Mr. Springer well on future projects," the agency said in a statement this week. The position has not yet been filled.

Springer and Innocean were defendants in a lawsuit filed in January by Victoria Guenier, who until early last year worked for Innocean as an executive producer. She alleged that Springer employed a "bullying and harassing management style" against female employees. Springer took the unusual step of defending himself via a Facebook post on his personal page that he made public in April. It has since been removed.

Springer, in an interview this week, said: "The allegations were all dismissed—that was on Monday and Tuesday morning I resigned from Innocean, so I can now pursue some other things that hopefully we will be talking about in the coming months." Asked if there was a monetary settlement he said: "I did not pay her a penny and I have no idea what Innocean... did."

When asked about a settlement, an Innocean spokesman said the agency has no comment. Guenier could not be reached for comment.

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Contributing: E.J. Schultz, Ann-Christine Diaz, Bradley Johnson

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