Agency Brief: The Big Now/mcgarrybowen highlight why brands need to support Pride, meaningfully
It’s almost the end of June, so it’s almost the end of Pride month, right? Wrong.
In 2020, there are still 70 countries that consider homosexuality illegal. In 2019, 70 percent of Italian LGBTQ students were bullied; and only 68 percent of Italians agree that LGBTQ people should have the same rights as heterosexual people. Those stats are from a new white paper by Dentsu Aegis Network’s The Big Now/mcgarrybowen (formed through the recent merger of Italian creative agency The Big Now and mcgarrybowen), that sheds light on why Pride and advocating for LGBTQ rights remains critical in June, and every other month of the year.
In the white paper, The Big Now/mcgarrybowen details why brands should advocate around Pride in meaningful ways, arguing that “putting the rainbow flag on a logo” is not enough. “Be true to the community to develop compelling stories and campaigns; Don’t spread generic, stereotyped narratives of Pride support; [Use] insightful, authentic representations of reality, especially if you let LGBTQI+ people use their voices instead of preaching from the privileged side,” the agency advices in the white paper. Ultimately, The Big Now/mcgarrybowen urges brands to adopt five principles for Pride: Power, Realness, Identity, Dare and Empathy. Read the full white paper here.
An 'urgent' call to reform discriminatory Commonwealth laws
Fewer than 10 of the 54 Commonwealth member countries—which include the U.K., Australia, Singapore, New Zealand, Belize, Nigeria, Jamaica, Fiji, Kenya, The Bahamas and others—have legislation that recognizes, prevents and punishes hate crimes against marginalized groups, including the LGBTQ community. That’s according to The Human Dignity Trust and The Good Side, an insights and ideas company in London, which together released two documentaries to expose the archaic colonial-era British laws that are still in place that are “undermining human rights, perpetuating violence and discrimination towards LGBTQ+ people and other marginalized people across the Commonwealth,” the companies say.
The short films—“The Sky Will Not Fall” and “A Wake-Up Call”—are funded by the U.K. Foreign & Commonwealth Office and serve as a call to action to Commonwealth lawmakers to “urgently” reform discriminatory laws and enact new ones to protect individuals from hate crimes, whether related to sexual orientation, race, religion or disability. Filmmakers from The Good Side traveled to Belize, India, Kenya, Seychelles and Singapore to document first-hand stories of the abuse survivors have endured due to a lack of protective laws in place. Watch “The Sky Will Not Fall” (below), that details how the criminalization of homosexuality and legal marital rape in Commonwealth countries have left “a legacy of hatred towards LGBTQ+ people, injustice for women and girls, and discrimination against people living with disability,” the companies say.
“What we're fighting against actually is a law that we did not create, it is a law that we had no say in,” says Gigi Louisa, LGBTQ activist at the Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya. "It's a law that was brought to us by the coloniser and given to us.”
'What the World Needs Now'
There’s an interesting backstory, and brand story, to Tank and the Bangas’ recently released music video for their reimagined version of “What the World Needs Now.” The New Orleans funk/soul rockers were hired by Yahoo to record the song to be the backdrop to a new campaign it was working on with Interpublic Group of Cos. agency Elephant. Tank and the Bangas recorded the song, while Elephant documented the process in January—before the pandemic and anti-racism movement swept the country.
Tank and the Bangas enlisted a host of family and friend artists, including their children and local poets, to help record the song from a studio in their hometown of New Orleans. The behind-the-scenes footage wasn’t originally going to be released, but Yahoo decided to turn it into a music video, with no branding tied to it, given how moving and influential it turned out to be during a time when the U.S. is confronting racism and hate head-on. Now, the song and music video are serving as a powerful, unifying anthem for the current times. Tarriona ‘Tank’ Ball, who fronts the band, calls the recording “one of the most powerful moments I’ve ever experienced in a room full of artists.”
“It was so New Orleans,” Ball says. “The voice of the children, the poets, the different tones and textures of all the artists was truly transforming. I believe that everyone can testify how high the emotions ran this particular day. It’s my hope that people will become moved, active, and use love in their weaponry in fighting for what they believe is right.”
The video (below), clocking in at just over six minutes, features a link directing people to donate to Black Lives Matter.
Ogilvy and Grey join forces in Paris
WPP-owned Ogilvy Paris and Grey Paris have entered into a strategic alliance. The two agencies announced they will remain affiliated to their respective networks, but “will implement synergies for Grey’s clients in order to boost the brand’s development in France.” The Grey team will join Ogilvy Paris in its office on rue Marbeuf in Paris on July 1, giving them access to each other’s resources across branding, advertising, consulting, social, customer engagement, commerce, public relations, influence and production. The alliance is effective on July 1. Both agencies will retain their respective brands. This is not the first region in which Ogilvy and Grey have joined forces; Ingo in Sweden, behind The Moldy Whopper, is also a Ogilvy-Grey alliance office. Will this mean that Ogilvy and Grey will be teaming up in other regions? Two people close to the business claim there are no current plans to do that and the alliances in Paris and Sweden are unique situations.
WPP and Ecolab partner to ease consumers back into post-COVID-19 economy
Ecolab—the St. Paul, Minnesota-based provider of sanitization and disinfection services for companies in food, healthcare, hospitality and industrial services—employed a team of WPP agencies to collaborate on an assignment to build back up consumer confidence in a post-pandemic economy. As part of the partnership, WPP agencies including Grey, Hill+Knowlton Strategies, Landor and Wavemaker will develop a campaign to promote the company’s new Ecolab Science Certified Program, which provides companies with a safe way to reopen. The WPP-created campaign aims to “demonstrate to consumers that businesses sanitized by Ecolab will be as safe as possible and will ensure that its clients’ brands stand out as holding a higher standard of cleanliness for food safety and public health,” according to a statement from the companies.
“A lot has changed in our personal and professional lives due to COVID-19,” said WPP CEO Mark Read. “There is a clear and heightened focus on hygiene and cleanliness, especially in regard to where consumers eat and shop. Ecolab is expert at ensuring the highest levels of safety, which is vital for consumer confidence. We are really excited to be working with Ecolab and I am delighted our team stepped up to deliver this important work.”
A recent grad? Here’s one way to get your creative seen
Independent creative agency B-Reel, recognizing how the pandemic has eliminated many entry-level job opportunities and forced the shutdown of annual graduation portfolio shows, started an initiative to amplify the work of young creatives. B-Reel partnered with more than 20 agencies—including BBH New York, TBWA, Goodby Silverstein & Partners, Hush, Preacher, Perfect Fools, Nexus Studio and GSD&M—to launch Next In Show, which allows students to submit their work to be reviewed and then showcased on these agencies’ Instagram accounts. The call for entries started this week, and B-Reel says they’ve already received more than 100 submissions. Agencies will share work from June 29 through July 1. Next In Show partnered with schools such as VCU, Parsons, SCAD, Miami Ad School, The New School, University of Texas at Austin, UCLA, SVA and more to spread the word, but the initiative is open to any recent graduate. Submissions are open through Sunday, June 28. Enter work here.
Bigbuzz Marketing Group, a New York-based digital shop, was hired by Hard Rock International to launch a new hotel brand, Reverb by Hard Rock. The first location will be in Atlanta and is expected to open on Aug. 21. Bigbuzz says it will handle AI and digital experience content design for Reverb and has already developed hotel chatbot Eve and a smart-speaker, in-room voice experience. Eve has a quirky personality and helps guests discover what to do in and around the hotel, according to Bigbuzz.
Havas Chicago and client Moen, a consumer faucet brand, is urging Congress to take action to #UnlockWaterForAll, the name of their new social and print campaign that addresses the higher risks of contracting COVID-19 for people with fewer resources. The agency and Moen point out that while “every home has a faucet,” currently “not every home has water.” The campaign urges people to sign a letter to Congress to issue a national moratorium on water shutoffs during this time. The campaign included a national print ad that recently ran in The New York Times and a digital takeover of the Guardian, plus social promotions.
MMB, a Boston independent creative agency, appointed Adam Swann to chief strategy officer. He comes to the agency from Hill Holliday, where he was executive VP and strategy director. At Hill Holliday, Swann is credited with leading the brand, digital and content strategy for clients Bank of America and Boar’s Head. MMB also hired back David Register as executive creative director, marking his return to the agency. Register was one of MMB’s first employees but has spent the last 15 years at Arnold in its Boston office.
Markham & Stein, a Miami-based ad and branding agency, won the national pitch for Children’s Hospital Foundation, the fundraising arm for Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, Virginia. Beginning July 1, the agency will be responsible for building an integrated marketing campaign to help raise funds to complete what the foundation is saying is its largest project to date: constructing a new Children’s Hospital of Richmond. The campaign’s goal is to raise $100 million for the new facility. To reach that goal, M&S is targeting the local community as well as leading philanthropists through a series of TV, out-of-home, social, digital, direct mail and print ads, as well as through events and activations.
M&C Saatchi Group was selected by Promote Iceland to reignite tourism as the world emerges from the pandemic. Promote Iceland has already turned the country into a tourism destination among American travelers. M&C Saatchi will work to promote Iceland to restore its visitor numbers, post pandemic. The agency will partner with Reykjavik-based shop Peel on the account; the two agencies beat out 15 others in a recent competitive pitch for the business. The agencies’ pitch focused on Iceland as a global leader in sustainability. The brief included public relations, social, experiential and advertising.
Dagger, an Atlanta independent agency, promoted Missy Taylor to be its first chief operating officer. She was senior VP of operations and has been with the agency since its founding in 2015. As senior VP of operations, Dagger credits Taylor with being “integral in overseeing” its business operations, driving internal organizational efficiencies and supporting growth initiatives. In her new role, Taylor will set the operational strategy of the agency, oversee its P&L, direct project management and “drive creative solutions around complex operational, process and staffing challenges,” Dagger says.