Agency Brief: D&AD cancels 2020 festival and assesses how it will award this year's Pencils
It's been about two weeks since most everyone began working remotely, so it's safe to say we're all just trying to figure it out. Just a reminder that we're here to be of service to you; we want to hear from you. As an agency leader, what are your biggest concerns? How is your team working remotely? What has been successful? What hasn't? Marla Kaplowitz, President and CEO of the 4A's, joined a recent Ad Age Virtual Pages and offered some encouraging words: "This is a real opportunity for agencies to shine and to show the power of partnerships ... I've seen agencies really step up. They do well in these moments."
On that front, here's some advice on getting through the current pandemic from agency executives who have weathered past crises.
Michele Sileo, Eleven's managing director, says she's learned several "guiding principles" to lead her team "through adversity," having worked through "the dot-com bubble burst to the 2008 recession." They are: Clients need agencies now more than ever; don't be afraid to change the way you work for good; trust in your team to "rise up ... Give them the rope to innovate and flex their muscles in their discipline as well as others"; and "do everything you can to hold onto your people."
Josh Mayer, chief creative officer, and Mark Mayer, CEO and chairman, of PETERMAYER urge shops to "focus on your people first" and "be optimistic," plus have a written contingency plan. The duo remember when Hurricane Katrina hit the New Orleans-based agency in 2005. "Stay flexible and be willing to make adjustments," say the execs. "PETERMAYER had a detailed hurricane plan before 2005, but it anticipated only a two-week disaster, worst case. Hurricane Katrina laid waste to that."
Mark Pytlik, CEO of Stink Studios, recalls the 2008 recession when "clients started parking their money. We didn’t see a brief for about nine weeks. When a brief finally came along, we pitched hard. Our team fully understood the importance of winning, and the urgency genuinely made the work better. We won and delivered the project in a seemingly-impossible eight weeks, and it ended up winning a Grand Prix in Cannes the following year," Pytlik says.
D&AD moves judging online, still assessing how to award Pencils
Another industry event is up in the air due to the coronavirus pandemic. The D&AD issued an update on its awards and programming, saying its 2020 festival—which had previously been postponed from May 19 to 21 to an undetermined date—has been canceled. D&AD says it is still "reviewing when and how [its] winners will be announced." The deadline for submission for the awards has been extended to April 3 and judging will now be handled online from May 12 through June 5. The only exceptions to the online judging will be for categories Book Design, Graphic Design, Magazine & Newspaper Design and Packaging Design, which will still be done in person. D&AD says it will work to minimize the size of gatherings and international travel for judging for those categories.
"As we all make our way through as best we can, we need to get things in perspective," D&AD CEO Patrick Burgoyne says. "Our physical events clearly can't happen as they did for the foreseeable future. So we will not be holding the D&AD Festival this year and we will be contacting all our speakers, partners and ticket holders with more information about this."
Burgoyne adds "we believe that the best work of the last 12 months still deserves to be awarded." Additional details will follow.
Dining at a Distance
Government shutdowns of restaurants and bars are causing financial pressure and job loss across the U.S.—and one Huge Chicago employee set out to do something about it. Huge Chicago Senior Product Manager Sean Lynch started "Dining at a Distance" as a passion project to let Chicago-area residents know that many of their favorite restaurants are still open for pickup and delivery. Lynch, partnering with PR agency Grapevine owner Jenn Galdes, developed a website within just three hours of the March 15 government shutdown featuring more than 100 local Chicago restaurants still open for business. The effort included details on local Chicago takeout, delivery and curbside pickup options and outlined hours, which services the restaurants are using, and special promotions. Within a week, the initiative spread across the U.S. and is now in multiple other cities—Atlanta, Baltimore, Cincinnati, D.C., Los Angeles, Memphis, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Portland, Sacramento and others.
"My family loves supporting the local Chicago food scene," Lynch says, "so when we heard the news about closures in Chicago, we wanted to do whatever we could to keep our friends informed of where they can eat, while also giving visibility to these businesses who are committed to supporting their local community."
Despite the health crisis, there is still new business to report
Ad Age's Jessica Wohl reports, CKE Restaurants chains Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s have awarded their media account to RPA. The chains previously worked with Initiative, which did not return a request for comment. “We appreciate our time with Initiative and are excited to move forward with RPA to continue building our national and local media strategy for both Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s in a way that helps the brands stand out in the ever-changing media landscape,” CKE says. The media agency switch comes months after Carl's Jr. and Hardee's went back to working with 72andSunny on creative, including “Feed Your Happy” campaigns that cover both chains as well as work that showcases each regional chain on its own.
HeyLet'sGo was named the lead creative agency for Carpet One, a self-proclaimed floor covering retailer in North America. The agency, founded in 2019 by former MullenLowe and Hill Holliday exec Tim Cawley, will handle brand positioning, broadcast, online video, digital, print and in-store efforts. New work is expected to launch in spring 2020 and roll out subsequently over the course of the rest of the year.
Colmet, a U.S. steel manufacturer for landscape edging and retail signage, appointed Dallas-based Spire Agency to lead a brand refresh. The b-to-b branding shop's goal is to help the company, founded in 1957, grow its business with national distributors and U.S. big-box DIY retailers while expanding its brand internationally. Spire Agency will work across Colmet's logo, messaging and positioning, website, retail displays and more. The work is expected to be completed later this year.
Studying the impact of the pandemic
A new study from research firm Magid, which assessed responses from 94 agencies and advertisers, shows that while total annual marketing spend has remained constant thus far, an increasing number of companies expect to reduce their budgets. The study found that 39 percent of advertisers are working to reduce overall costs due to the coronavirus pandemic and 78 percent of that group plans to cut marketing expenses. Meanwhile, 31 percent of advertisers plan to increase their media presence due to an increase in consumption as people practice shelter in place and social distancing. When it comes to strategy, 69 percent of advertisers will focus on digital and 27 percent will prioritize TV, according to the study.
The Variable released a study on consumer sentiment toward brands which found that 40 percent of Americans say they would try a new product during the health crisis. The study, which assessed 768 responses across the general population, also found that 85 percent of the group that would try a new product say they would also continue using that product after the pandemic is over. Meanwhile, 92 percent of respondents feel companies need to be honest and transparent; more than half of respondents are using technology to complete financial transactions for the first time; about half are ordering groceries or household supplies online; and seven in 10 Americans say they actually feel more connected to local communities because of video chats and virtual get-togethers.
An agency born in chaos
It may seem like an odd time to introduce a new agency into the world, but lo and behold: Health Bright Marketing has been born. Formed out of Lee Enterprises, the new full-service marketing company says it will specialize in tackling the "unique challenges" faced by healthcare organizations. Mark McDowell, a veteran of healthcare companies and agencies like Henry Ford Health System and Tenet Healthcare, will be VP of Health Bright Marketing. The shop is headquartered in Michigan alongside Lee Enterprises sibling agency Sunny Media, which is dedicated to the automotive industry.
“Our local markets now have access to more comprehensive products and services, along with a very high level of expertise in healthcare, which will allow us to capture a greater share of revenue in a growing industry," says Ray Farris, Lee Enterprises operating and advertising VP.