Agency Brief: Creative trio challenges the notion that defunding the police is 'crazy'
A trio of creatives are unveiling an initiative championing a fairly controversial subject: a world in which there are no police.
“Call It Crazy,” from RPA Creative Director Yama Rahyar, Art Director Thuy Truong and Copywriter Ben Creekmore, is a response to criticisms of those calling to defund police. The creatives say the campaign challenges the notion that the idea is radical, unworkable and “even crazy.” The video above—which Truong, Creekmore and Rahyar created a microsite around—asserts that “policing is beyond repair.” It shows steps taken to try to fix the broken system—banning chokeholds, enforcing the use of body cameras, better training—but argues these “baby steps” haven’t been effective and that people are done waiting, “out of patience” and “out of breath.” The spot explains why an alternative approach is necessary.
“It’s time to get comfortable with crazy ideas," the video declares.
Instead of police, Truong, Creekmore and Rahyar suggest having “community-based public safety.” They argue that the only harmful ideas are those that maintain “the status quo.” The site provides informational resources on matters related to defunding the police, and “a ‘facts’ experience contrasting the ‘crazy’ demand with ‘crazier’ statistics about police violence,” according to the creatives.
Truong, Creekmore and Rahyar say they came up with the idea after meeting at RPA. Rahyar is a digital creative director at the independent agency where Creekmore and Truong served as interns. Rahyar says the project is personal and not officially supported by RPA. The creatives say the first phase of the “Call It Crazy” campaign was to challenge the idea that defunding the police is “crazy.” Next, they will roll out additional paid social assets “out of our own pockets” on Instagram and Facebook. Finally, they will look to partner with fellow activists and organizations to further the initiative. Rahyar says he and his fellow creatives are already connecting with groups including the Los Angeles Community Action Network and individual chapters of Black Lives Matter.
“In advertising, when a brand is struggling with perception, sometimes the best answer is to flip the script,” Truong says. “That’s where we get the inspiration to embrace this word ‘crazy’ and make it a badge of honor for the defunding police movement. In an upside-down world, crazy ideas are the only way out.”
“We know we can’t change minds all at once," says Creekmore, but we aim to encourage people to dig deeper, do the research and open the dialogue.”
A win in time for soup season
Ad Age’s Jessica Wohl reports that 72andSunny L.A. is the new lead creative agency for Pacific Foods, a brand known for organic broth and soup. The appointment is the first agency selection by Pacific Foods since it was acquired by industry behemoth Campbell Soup Co. three years ago. It is also 72andSunny’s first assignment within the Campbell Soup portfolio.
“As we invest in this brand, we wanted to find a complementary partner that had a creative ability to tell our story in an impactful and meaningful way,” Tim Goldsmid, VP of marketing of Pacific Foods, tells Wohl.
The agency’s first campaign for Pacific Foods is set to run early this fall. Campbell Soup paid $700 million in 2017 for Pacific Foods, which was founded in Oregon in 1987. Lately, Pacific Foods has been doing quite well, Wohl writes. Sales of soup overall have been strong this year as people stock up for at-home meals during the pandemic. Pacific Foods “significantly” increased its household penetration during Campbell Soup’s fiscal third quarter, CEO Mark Clouse said on a June conference call. Pacific Foods has worked with a number of agencies in the past. It has an ongoing partnership for PR and social media with Maxwell, with which it has worked for more than a decade, Goldsmid tells Wohl.
I see your one win and raise you two
Goodby Silverstein & Partners, meanwhile, has reeled in two new wins and attributes them to a more productive at-home workforce. The agency says it won the accounts of NCSOFT West and San Diego Zoo Global. GS&P says it was hired by NCSOFT West to launch a new game from the creators of Rock Band and Dance Central. The game, called Fuser, is a nonstop virtual music festival where players create and control the music. San Diego Zoo Global tapped GS&P to develop a creative campaign aimed at driving awareness to their work in wildlife conservation and increasing visits to its properties. GS&P says these are just the latest wins, having scored five new accounts since April. The agency says it has also created 84 television ads in-house and hasn’t had to lay off any employees during the pandemic. That’s because, the agency says, 88 percent of employees say they are more productive at home and 84 percent say they are satisfied with their job, the highest satisfaction levels the shop has seen.
Mother poaches Giant Spoon exec as first chief talent officer
Independent creative agency Mother hired James Nicholas Kinney as its first chief talent officer. Kinney most recently was VP of people at Giant Spoon. In this new role, the shop says Kinney will lead Mother’s talent recruitment and retention strategy; guide the agency’s diversity, equity, inclusion and culture efforts; and “foster an environment that provides a space for continuing education and growth to every Mother employee.” He will oversee a group within the agency that includes Maria Scillepi, head of learning and development, who joined Mother in that newly created role earlier this year. Kinney reports to Peter Ravailhe, Mother in the U.S.’s CEO and partner.
Kinney says he’s “humbled by the legacy of Mother” and, “after one conversation with [Ravailhe], I knew Mother was my long-term home.”
“As Mother evolves, we want to be known as an agency who invests in the growth of our talent,” Ravailhe adds. “We spent over a year searching for the right person to take on this new position, and could not be more delighted to have James joining the team in such a key strategic role.”
Accenture Interactive’s latest buy
Accenture Interactive last week acquired CreativeDrive, a global tech-driven content production company. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The consulting behemoth, which bought Droga5 last year, says CreativeDrive, founded in 2015, “simplifies, automates and scales the creative asset production process” and will “complement Accenture’s existing content, digital marketing, media and commerce service offerings.” CreativeDrive works with clients including Estee Lauder, Michael Kors and Walmart. The company says it relies on a global network of “on-premise content studios designed for fast and flexible creative asset production across all format types, including motion, photography, CGI and augmented reality.” The model sounds similar to what Martin Sorrell’s S4 Capital has been building with MightyHive and MediaMonks. New York-based CreativeDrive has 700 employees and more than 400,000 square feet of studio space across its hubs in the U.S., Australia, Brazil, China, Costa Rica, Singapore, South Africa and the U.K.
“We help clients drive growth by providing them with agile and scalable solutions,” says Manish Sharma, group CEO of Accenture Operations. “CreativeDrive’s business model, offering the benefit of an in-house content studio model with proprietary technology, provides transparency, the ability to get products and services to market quickly and data insights to enable success.”
In an April interview, Ad Age asked Accenture Interactive CEO Brian Whipple whether the consulting giant would take advantage of the pandemic to acquire struggling independent companies.
“No. That’s not our style," Whipple said. "Our strategy is always the same: to add a new capability that is rendering good experiences for our clients or to scale existing capabilities."
The industry has nonetheless seen several mergers among various agencies during the pandemic. Most recently, You & Mr Jones announced the acquisition of Collectively, a U.S. influencer marketing company founded in 2013. Collectively joins forces with theAmplify, the tech and data-driven influencer platform You & Mr Jones bought in 2016.
Earlier in the pandemic, we saw the mergers of Trust Relations and Cover3 Creative; Minneapolis agency Stable and Arkansas-based retail shop Kreative Sales & Marketing; and production company Tool of North America and Belgian creative tech studio nøcomputer.
D&AD announced plans to host a virtual ceremony for its 2020 Pencil winners on Sept. 10 at 6 p.m. British Summer Time (1 p.m. EDT). The ceremony will be presented by D&AD President Kate Stanners and livestreamed on the organization’s website. It will include the announcement of its final awards: the last design category winners, annual President’s Award and the Black Pencils.
St Luke’s, a London independent creative agency, won the account of British online grocer Ocado. St Luke’s will now serve as the company’s lead creative agency following a competitive pitch, which the agency says was held “largely remotely.” St Luke’s remit will include developing a new brand positioning and creating “all above-the-line communications.” This comes as Ocado prepares to start a new exclusive partnership with Marks & Spencer, a British home goods and clothing retailer, in September.
Engine has been selected as media agency of record by the Aruba Tourism Authority following a review. The full-service media and marketing agency will be responsible for developing and activating the overall media strategy in the U.S., including planning and buying, audience building, data consultation and measurement and analytics. Engine says it will work closely with the Aruba Tourism Authority to welcome “people back to the popular Caribbean travel destination as global travel restrictions in connection with Covid-19 have lifted.”
Decoded, an independent full-service ad and design shop, hired Valerie Nguyen as its first chief strategy officer. Nguyen was most recently a group strategy officer at Anomaly. She’s also held stints at Mother New York and Google and was a founding partner and co-head of strategy at Wolf & Wilhelmine for nearly five years.
Splash Worldwide, a performance marketing agency, appointed Rob Smith as its first U.S. CEO. The agency’s founder, Paul Stonebride, is staying on as global CEO. Smith was most recently a board advisor and chief marketing officer for Odysseus Arms. He is also a veteran of agencies including Goodby Silverstein & Partners and Ogilvy.
MRM, part of McCann Worldgroup, hired Jayna Kothary as its global chief technology officer. She most recently was chief technology officer for global clients at WPP. Prior to WPP, Kothary held technology leadership roles at Vodafone Group and BP.