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
Plenty of agency execs have criticized Publicis Groupe's decision to sit out award shows and conferences for the next year. But Bullish wins the award for the most creative pile-on. The shop, founded last year by agency vets Mike Duda and Brent Vartan, says it will sponsor a Publicis employee who wants to go to a conference in 2018, including SXSW, ANA, CES or maybe even Cannes. The agency is asking interested Publicis employees to email email@example.com and describe what conference they want to go to and why. It will select the person "with the most chutzpah," and pay for their conference fees and ticket. We are guessing that won't go over too well with Publicis. But Bullish gets points for trying. "It looks like 80,000 people at Publicis are perhaps questioning if an agency can support them. Bullish will," said managing partner Vartan.
Anomaly tidies up
Anomaly's London office has snagged the global customer experience and digital business for Electrolux in a review led by the Burnett Collective. VML won the North American business as part of a WPP team in October. The global brief covers small domestic appliances and home care globally, along with responsibility for major domestic appliances in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Asses with class
To celebrate London Pride week, and raise awareness for HIV, Wieden & Kennedy London wants to populate coffee tables around the world with brown, hairy arses. Or tan and smooth. Pink, if that's up your alley. Don't worry, they're ceramic — created by W & K artists Freddy Taylor and Paddy Treacy and artist Fredrik Andersson to raise awareness for a London charity supporting those with HIV. What do you do with these derrieres? "Your flowers go in the arse hole, naturally," the agency writes. The artists created 100 of these ceramic rumps, which will be sold for £40 (about $52) on arsevase.com, with all proceeds going to Positive East.
Aching to stop vaping?
Then here's an account for you: The California Department of Public Health's Tobacco Control Program has issued an RFP for a statewide advertising campaign that could tentatively run through October 2022 and could pay as much as $325 million. San Francisco-based advertising and design shop Duncan Channon has done recent work for the Tobacco Control Program, including a website called StillBlowingSmoke.org and a Commercial called "Gonna Getcha," a Blondie-fueled hit warning that teens who vape are three times as likely to smoke one year later.
Maybe they could call it Possible Wunder
Last week's hack at WPP hasn't slowed its master plan of simplifying the business: The company is folding digital agency Possible into Wunderman, the latest in a wave of consolidation at the holding company. Possible will continue to operate as a standalone brand within Wunderman. The announcement comes weeks after the news that MEC and Maxus would be combining into a new company within GroupM, and that Neo@Ogilvy would be becoming part of Mindshare.
Flashback Friday: Something special in the air
And speaking of smoking, 40 years ago today, Paul Dooling, the president of William Esty Co., wrote Albert Casey, the president of American Airlines, to complain about lack of seats for smokers. "We are seriously concerned about the airlines' increasingly arbitrary and irrational restriction of smoking privileges," Dooling fumed. "Just last Friday, I was denied a First Class smoking seat from Los Angeles to New York because 'the section was full.'" Esty had just won the Datsun (now Nissan) account, and, Dooling explained, the ad agency would be averaging 12 round trips a week between New York and its new client on the West Coast. Perhaps we should mention that Esty had been a key agency for R.J. Reynolds since 1933. Dooling helpfully blind carbon copied his letter to two Reynolds executives but no one at Datsun. We're not sure how American responded to the letter, which Ad Age found in TobaccoArchives.com.
Tweet of the week:
Oh you added to your story for the first time in a while? pic.twitter.com/frhjwOjAs4— R/GA (@RGA) July 6, 2017
Ad of the week: Here's Cristiano Ronaldo in his underwear. You're welcome.
Number of the week: 3 That is the number of days until Ad Age's vacationing Lindsay Stein returns to work and relieves us from pinch-hitting on this column. Something we saw on her social feed makes us think that she is ready to come back.
Contributing: Brian Braiker, E.J. Schultz, Will Jarvis, Ann-Christine Diaz, Emma Hall, Meg Graham, Bradley Johnson