Agency Brief: How one shop is fighting Belgium's pervasive drinking and driving problem
Today I’m kicking off Agency Brief with some personal news. This is my final briefing as I am moving on from Ad Age. I hope my little industry roundups were helpful, entertaining or at least provided some sort of brief distraction from the workday.
Now let’s get on with it.
Campaign aims to halt Belgium’s drinking and driving problem
In a campaign for the Belgian Traffic Institute (VIAS) and Parents of Road Victims, FCB alliance agency Happiness is helping combat a pervasive issue in Belgium: drinking and driving. While the country enforces strict laws against drinking and driving, including automatic fines before harsher penalties kick in, the agency says drivers in the country “are still among the worst-in-class for the offense.” According to Happiness, one out of five accidents in Belgium are due to alcohol.
In order to drive the issue home with those in the country who continue to drink and drive, Happiness has reimagined Belgium’s “Bob” campaign—in which police have been giving responsible people relying on sober drivers to take them home after consuming alcohol a key ring with the name “Bob,” a symbol for “designated driver,” on it. That campaign has been running since 1995, but clearly hasn’t done much to stop drinking and driving. Now, as part of the new effort, people who are caught drinking and driving will receive a key ring with the name of one child on it who died from a drunk driving accident. The key rings, which feature one of eight victims, were already handed out to several drunk drivers over the Christmas holiday, as seen in the video below. Drivers are then told to exchange their key rings for a traffic course at VIAS. These offenders also heard about the stories of the victims, like Axelle. She was the youngest of the victims at just 3-and-a-half years-old who, while walking with her mother on a sidewalk, was fatally hit by a driver under the influence of alcohol and drugs.
“Eight victims. Eight heart-breaking stories told by their relatives,” says the agency. “Sadly, in reality, there are many more than eight young lives to be mourned. In 2019 there were still 4,106 accidents in which a driver was under the influence. On average a driver involved in an accident with physical injuries has 1.7 per mil in his blood! But even lower alcohol intoxications are dangerous. In Belgium every day there is an accident in which the driver had no more than 0.8 per mil alcohol in his blood.”
Bring your kid to Zoom day
Every year Klick Health hosts a “bring your kid to work” day. Despite the ongoing pandemic preventing parents from being able to physically bring their kids into the office, the independent health marketing agency continued what it calls its “Little Klickster Day” by adapting to a virtual platform. Last Friday, about 80 children tuned into the Zoom event from Toronto, New York and Philadelphia. Programming included a “Rock ’N’ Beau” dance party, a “DIY” pizza lunch, a magic show and a time capsule project.
Klick Health Chief People Officer Glenn Zujew says the event is part of a larger effort by the agency to help its working parents through the pandemic. "When schools started closing last spring, some of our team members, whose roles were impacted by the pandemic, started leading virtual tutoring and story-time sessions to help support Klicksters with children,” Zujew says. “So, the decision to adapt our annual Little Klickster Day for Zoom was a no-brainer.”
Open for applications
FCB Brazil says it is now accepting applications for its internship program, FCB Brains—created in 2019 with the goal of increasing “plurality and diversity in opportunities for career growth within the agency.” In its first edition, the São Paulo agency said 90% of its interns ended up being hired.
This year, FCB Brazil says there are open positions in divisions including account services, creative, business intelligence, media, planning, human resources and creative technology. Recruiting will be done in partnership with HR consultancy MatchBox, with initial contact done via chatbot. The agency says it will then “have stages with gamification (a technique that uses games in different situations and offers various stimuli to reach specific goals), and the candidates will have to record a video in support of their applications.” In the final stages of recruitment, FCB Brazil adds that managers will have limited access to information, withholding certain bits that might result in bias. Students in the following areas are welcome to apply: business, audiovisual arts, databases, data and analytics, communications and marketing, computer sciences, social sciences, systems development, design, computer engineering, statistics, physics, human resources management, mathematics, social and digital media, publicity and advertising, radio and TV, and information technology.
“We were very satisfied with the results of the first edition of FCB Brains,” says Sandra Denes, FCB Brazil HR VP. “We attracted and retained young talents who brought in the freshness and energy we were looking for. We were able to select very diverse profiles, with an eye on multiplicity, exactly as we believe the work environment needs to be.” Bruna Zeferino, a former intern in the program and now a media assistant for the agency, adds: “FCB recognizes the value of interns; we do real work and have real responsibilities. That makes you dive head-first into the advertising industry, and learn as much as possible.”
J.M. slathers Publicis with another piece of the business
The J.M. Smucker Co. has picked Publicis Groupe as its omnichannel marketing agency of record, effectively adding lead commerce capabilities to its existing relationship with the French holding company. Publicis says it will service the account through its bespoke Power of One unit, PSOne, which will handle "end-to-end" commerce services spanning omnichannel media strategy, planning, investment, creative strategy and content. The consumer packaged goods company known for its jams, peanut butter and other spreads had already been working with PSOne since 2018, when the agency was awarded lead creative, media and data duties across the business.
"We have seen tremendous success through our Power of One model for the J.M. Smucker Co., helping to put data at the core and bring greater focus on media investment and breakthrough creative," says Gail Hollander, client lead at Publicis. "The addition of commerce capabilities and expertise will ensure its portfolio of brands continues to win in an omnichannel world."
MRM names chief creative officer for the East Coast
Interpublic Group of Cos. marketing shop MRM poached Harsh Kapadia from WPP’s VMLY&R as executive VP and chief creative officer for its New York and Princeton, New Jersey offices. Kapadia was an executive creative director for VMLY&R New York and WPP's J. Walter Thompson (now Wunderman Thompson) before that. Additionally, MRM appointed Stewart Krull to executive creative director of MRM Princeton. Krull—who most recently led a New Jersey-based creative marketing services consultancy he founded, Let’s Make Stuff—will report to Kapadia.
“Harsh is a world-class talent with a passion for harnessing technology and innovation to help businesses make a difference in people’s lives,” says MRM Global Chief Creative Officer Ronald Ng. “Not too many creatives get letters of recognition from Michelle Obama, and Harsh’s consistent streak of great work across markets like India, Australia, the UK and U.S. makes him a unique talent for clients.”
Amongst his work, Kapadia contributed to former First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Drink Up” campaign that enticed Americans to drink more water to live a healthier life. During his time at VMLY&R, which he joined in 2012, Kapadia has garnered multiple awards and helped win several new business pitches for brands like New Balance, Legoland, Walgreens, Baileys and the United Nations, according to MRM. He got his start in the industry as an art director for JWT Mumbai. “It has been an amazing journey at VMLY&R,” Kapadia says. “Now, I’m thrilled to join MRM at a time when the industry is going through a real shift. The pandemic has fast tracked the importance for brands to create a more meaningful relationships and experiences. MRM's philosophy to do that really excites me.”
Other leadership and hiring updates
Ogilvy announced it is bolstering its experience division with the appointment of Steve Soechtig as global CEO of that department. It’s a move by Andy Main—who was poached from Deloitte, where he at one time worked with Soechtig, to be Ogilvy’s new global CEO last June—to have a dedicated leader overseeing capabilities like customer insights, commerce, design, acquisition, customer engagement, digital and mobile product innovation, CRM and loyalty. Soechtig previously focused on augmented reality, virtual reality and conversational and gesture-based interfaces at McKinsey & Co. Before that, he led the expansion and operation of Deloitte Digital's experience practice in the U.S.
Cartwright, the WPP-backed agency from Keith Cartwright, added four new members to the team: Thiago Gripp and Suzanne Sherwood as creative directors, Taylor Whitelow as a copywriter and Chelsea Ceasor as a design and art director. Gripp, who is also serving as head of art, previously was a freelancer for agencies including TBWA/Chiat/Day Media Arts Lab and R/GA L.A. Sherwood is a graduate of the Art Center College of Design, where she is on the faculty as a copywriting instructor, and is also an alum of shops TBWA/Chiat/Day, Taxi and MullenLowe. Both Whitelaw and Ceasor hail from 72andSunny.
Tombras also underwent a recent hiring tear, poaching nine creatives from Preacher, Vice, BBDO, Mekanism, Madwell, Edelman and Vox. The Knoxville, Tennessee-based independent agency hired Stefanie Gomez from Mekanism as a senior art director; Kory Brocious from BBDO L.A. as a senior art director; Garrett Mutz from Vice as an associate creative and art director; Bonni Dinerstein from Madwell as a strategist; Maxx Delaney from Preacher as an associate creative director and copywriter; Nick Troop from Preacher as an associate creative and art director; Marissa Lopez from Edelman as a social media art director; Tori Young from Vox as a senior copywriter; Miles Shebar from Barton F. Graf as a production artist; and Ally Farrish from BBDO L.A. as a senior copywriter.
Wavemaker U.S. appointed Dennis Potgraven as its first chief strategy officer. He will be responsible for leading the WPP-owned GroupM media agency’s strategy and planning practice. He joins from Havas Group, where he was the chief strategy officer for the greater Chinese market. He will report to U.S. CEO Amanda Richman. Before Havas, Potgraven worked in-house with Nestlé and Ahold-Delhaize.
Hunt Adkins promoted Shanna Apitz as its new president and chief creative officer. She replaces Doug Adkins, who passed away last May. Adkins co-founded the agency in 1992 alongside CEO Patrick Hunt. Apitz has been with the agency for the last 15 years, most recently serving as executive creative director. She first joined as an account manager in 2006. Despite the pandemic, Hunt Adkins says it has been able to carry out six new hires and three promotions including naming Joe Soucheray as chief technology officer and Luke Prosser as creative director.
Muh-Tay-Zik / Hof-Fer hired Jessica Baum as communications strategy director. The appointment follows the new business wins of Bed Bath & Beyond and Sonos. Baum—who previously spent time at agencies including Traction, Eleven, Centro and Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners—will work on accounts like Bed Bath & Beyond and Albertsons. Her responsibilities will include leveraging audience media trends in creative work, identifying media opportunities for clients and working with partner media shops on campaign goals.