Agency Brief: the calm before the storm and ice cream gone wild
Cannes Lions is almost upon us and the excitement (and slight anxiety, speaking as a first-timer) is starting to set in. Shameless plug: Ad Age’s Cannes issue—our biggest issue ever—comes out on Monday and you’ll absolutely want to pick up a copy. It’s a 58-page guide to everything you need to know before heading to the French Riviera. Don’t miss out!
Walrus wants you to go 'toppingless'
First up, a new campaign from independent agency Walrus is running along the coasts of the U.S. (which are not as beautiful as the Mediterranean coast of France, but, hey, there’s surf and sand). In North Carolina, Florida and California, the agency will debut out-of-home ads for new brands under Wells Enterprises (behind Blue Bunny and Blue Ribbon Classics): Cold Crush ice cream; Farm to Spoon, plant-based ice cream made with cauliflower and sweet potato; and Kingston Fruit Bars, frozen treats made primarily with coconut water. This comes after Walrus recently won lead creative, strategic and media duties without a review for the three brands. The billboards are fun, silly and fresh (what you’d expect from sweet treats). Examples include Cold Crush’s “Ice cream so good, you’ll go toppingless” and Farm to Fresh's “Prepare for cognitive dissonance. Surprise! It’s made with vegetables.” And for Kingston Fruit Bars, Walrus only filled out half of a billboard: “Half the sugar, all the flavor.” Miam! (That’s “yum” in French.)
Fishbowl for equal pay
Professional networking platform Fishbowl is partnering with The 3% Movement to spotlight agencies that have taken the pledge to close the gender wage gap. “The 3% Pledge for Pay Equity,” announced at The 3% Movement’s event in Washington D.C. this week, follows Fishbowl uncovering in a recent survey that only 18 percent of its female users believe their agencies are committed to equal pay among men and women.
How it works: the shops that have taken the 3% pledge will be stamped with a unique badge on their Fishbowl company profile pages to show their commitment to equal pay. According to Fishbowl CEO and Co-Founder Matt Sunbulli, 92,000 conversations on the platform have centered around this issue and 60 percent of the discussions have been driven by women.
Agencies that have taken the pledge include Agency Zero, Arnold, BBH, Deutsch, Eleven, FCB, Forsman & Bodenfors, Giant Spoon, Golin, Havas, The Martin Agency, Mekanism, MullenLowe, Possible, Swift, Vladimir Jones and Zambezi.
The Martin Agency Chief Creative Officer Karen Costello, a 2019 Ad Age Woman to Watch, said in a recent interview that her “proudest thing” since taking over the Interpublic Group of Cos. shop with CEO Kristen Cavallo (following the ouster of longtime CCO Joe Alexander) was closing the wage gap.
“It was actually shockingly easier than I thought,” Costello said. “[Cavallo and I] sat across from each other and said, ‘You know what we should do? We should equalize the pay.’ We looked at each other and had a moment of, ‘Oh my god, we can do that!’ And so we did.”
To be sure, Costello said it was “easy” for her and Cavallo to make the decision, “but the choices that you have to make” to equalize pay “are not always easy.”
“If you have a lot of pay discrepancies and you have a bottom line, you have to make choices,” she said. “We decided to make the choices to follow the values … We also didn’t have massive gaps.”
New chief takes the helm of the AAF
The American Advertising Federation (AAF) has named Steve Pacheco as its new president and CEO following last year’s departure of the former chief executive, James Edmund Datri. Pacheco most recently was the CMO of Ducks Unlimited, a nonprofit dedicated to the conservation of wetlands and wildlife. He’s sat on all sides of the industry, having previously served as managing director of advertising and sponsorship marketing for FedEx and a partner at Memphis-based advertising and design agency Humphreys Ink. Pacheco will be tasked with evolving and developing the AAF’s existing and new programs, services and membership while lobbying on key issues such as free commercial speech and the advancement of diversity and inclusion.
“The advertising industry faces a number of headwinds and challenges—clients, agencies and media companies are all challenged to find growth—and that includes growth and development of our people,” Pacheco said in a statement to Ad Age. “Creating a diverse talent pipeline for the next generation of marketers is a priority and an area that the AAF can continue to lead.”
Made for morsels of content
McMillan, a digital and creative agency that serves clients such as Tesla and United Rentals, opened a studio for one-off projects that need quick turnarounds. Called Snack by McMillan, the boutique studio said its “ideal” projects include digital productions, video and animation, event experience design and execution for brands and campaigns. According to the agency, Snack has a “low-touch process and agile approach that caters to time-sensitive work.”
Dentsu X wins big
Dentsu X, part of the Dentsu Aegis Network, was named global media agency of record for Upfield, a plant-based consumer product company behind brands such as Flora, Rama, Blue Bank, Proativ, Becel and Country Crock. Across Europe, Asia and North America, the network will be tasked with bolstering Upfield’s presence with buying services to support brand activations across various markets. (The Dentsu Aegis Network also hired Chief Strategy Officer Jonathan Scarpetta to lead its Latin America division this week.)
Visit Baltimore appointed the Bellweather Agency—with offices in New York, Philadelphia and San Diego—as its lead creative strategy partner, effective July 1. The organization also renewed its existing contracts with Baltimore-based shop TBC and destination-marketing boutique Miles Partnership. The agencies will work together on a rebrand of Visit Baltimore.
Genuine, Jack Morton’s full-service digital agency, appointed Jen Poirier as managing director from senior vice president of client services following its appointment as the social and digital AOR for Hood, a dairy brand in New England. Kevin Redmond—a veteran of Digitas, Havas and Hill Holliday—was also hired as SVP of strategy.
Carl Buddig and Co. (behind Buddig lunchmeat) recently expanded its relationship with Fusion92, naming the roster shop as its agency of record. Under the AOR title, Fusion92 created a national campaign, “Lunchtime Anytime,” that spans digital, mobile, TV, video, radio and in-store components. Three 15-second spots (“Stomach Growls,” “What Time Is It?” and “Grandfather Clock”) imagine the possibilities of re-thinking lunchtime with Buddig. The campaign will target consumers based on behaviors and location, as the media buy—even for TV—is being executed digitally.
We Are Social promoted Lisa Bain to global chief people officer, a first for the independent agency. Bain will lead the agency’s new People and Culture team, dedicated to an investment in its talent globally. She previously was the global human resources director. The People and Culture team is comprised of 20 employees across We Are Social’s 13 offices.
Cleveland-based independent creative shop Marcus Thomas appointed Joanne Kim as its first chief diversity officer. She previously was chief idea officer, overseeing the agency’s creative, production and digital production. Now, Kim will be responsible for spearheading inclusion initiatives such as company-wide diversity training and multicultural events.
Brand activation agency Mosaic hired Justine Greenwald as executive creative director. Greenwald has spent time at Geometry Global, Ogilvy and G2. She will be based in the agency’s Chicago office.
Barker New York tapped Scott Cohn as SVP of creative content as the indie agency looks to bolster its branded content offering. Cohn previously was a content consultant. Before that, he was a founding partner and executive creative director of Night Agency where he helped win new business including Hanes, Nestle, Keds, Estée Lauder and Nine West, among others.
Publicis Hawkeye in Dallas hired Joe DeMiero, formerly of Saatchi & Saatchi’s Team One, as president. He will report to Andrew Bruce, CEO of Publicis Communications North America.