Agency Brief: It's raining cats and dogs
If last night's dueling Town Halls didn't scare you enough, you can try tuning in to YouTube tonight for a real spine-tingler.
Just make sure to bring your cat.
Temptations Cat Treats, with the help of Adam&Eve/DDB, is debuting the first horror film for felines, fittingly called "Scaredy Cat." The four-minute video, according to the brand's parent, Mars Petcare, employs "specific sound frequencies that will capture cats’ attention, making this a motion picture truly designed for cats."
Spoiler alert: The film follows a kitty's travels though a haunted house and the thing that terrifies it most—a cucumber. (You can't make this stuff up.) The company says the premise is based on internet videos of ordinary house cats being spooked by garden-variety veggies.
Naturally, the company is urging viewers to pick up some limited-edition Temptations Creepy Catnip Treats for movie night snacking. Below is the trailer for tonight's creature feature, which airs 6:30 P.M. EST on YouTube.
Watch it if you dare.
Now we give dogs equal time
One of the most popular videos on adage.com in recent weeks has been that ad with Joe Biden and Champ. Its simple premise stood out among a sea of negativity and touched a nerve with dog lovers of both parties.
We talked to Rob Schwartz, CEO of TBWA\Chiat\Day, New York, one of the minds behind the spot, who stresses it was an extracurricular activity, but one that has gained about as much attention as his official agency reel.
"I was very surprised, I thought this is a nice sweet film, but didn't realize it was scratching an itch," says Schwartz, noting that the goal was to stand out among negative and what he dubs irrational political ads. "There was so much mud-slinging, and logical arguments were just falling on deaf ears," says Schwartz. "This was a beautiful moment away from that, and it was persuasive." The spot aimed to make Republicans think about their candidate, showing prior party presidents and their dogs in contrast to Donald Trump, who is pooch-less. Incidentally, Schwartz says the initial plan was to set the spot to Randy Newman's "You've Got a Friend in Me," from the "Toy Story" soundtrack, but Disney nixed that idea.
Schwartz, who has a 10-year-old Black Lab named Pepper, says he did a lot of research into the matter, finding that there is close to 70% dog ownership in the U.S., and that there is higher dog ownership in swing states than in red states. He also located studies that showed dog people are more agreeable and more extroverted and less selfish than non-dog people. Dogs have also been proven to "lower your blood pressure," says Schwartz, adding, "To Trump, dogs are like cryptonite."
A point of pride for Schwartz is that all the creatives on the ad are over the age of 50. "We are having these conversations about ageism and being old, and at the end of the day, a good writer can write ideas that are universal irrespective of age," says Schwartz, referencing WPP CEO Mark Read's infamous comment in which he said "If you look at our people—the average age of someone who works at WPP is less than 30–they don’t hark back to the 1980s, luckily.” Schwartz, who does remember the '80s (mostly), adds that he went to GoDaddy and put together the dogloversforjoe.com website himself: "You don't have to be a Gen Z-er to do this."
"If I was younger I don't think I've had had the gumption to do" the ad, says Schwartz, but he's glad he did. "I am not a political person, but this has brought out the best in me as a creative. Since this spot launched, people have been coming out of the woodwork, raising a hand asking 'What can I do?'"
Rest assured, the campaign will choose its humans wisely.
Getting out the vote
While we are on the topic of voting, Work & Co has launched a new website and digital planning tool "to help mobilize people of color" in conjunction with Woke Vote. “Woke Vote has a history of building trust with folks that have traditionally been let down and people who have less trust of government systems,” said Work & Co Strategy Director Tyesha Snow. “We are building on that trust through an all-in-one digital tool that gives clear guidance for participation to voters who are not only disengaged, but facing new challenges due to a pandemic that may impact voter turnout in unforeseen ways.” Check it out here.
Spooning at the drive-in
The pandemic has ground a lot of experiential activations to a halt, but Giant Spoon has found a way around that for HBO: a drive-in experience.
The immersive effort, for the finale of "Lovecraft County"—described as "a genre-bending adventure thriller set in 1950s Jim Crow America"—featured a lot of costumed characters and an atmosphere that transported attendees back in time. The experience, at L.A.'s Paramount Drive-In, included a 1950s-era radio station—complete with fake ads interspersed among era-appropriate platter-spinning from Giant Spoon.
Havas debuts new customer experience network
Havas Creative launched a new international network this week dedicated specifically to customer experience. Havas CX, as it has been named, will absorb boutique agencies Ekino, which is focused in digital transformation; BETC FullSix, its customer experience shop; Havas Helia, dedicated to customer engagement; Plastic Havas, a digital experience consultancy; Langoor, a digital marketing shop; Boondoggle, which is concentrated in service design; Gate One, a management consultancy; Think Design, a user design strategy firm; Host/Havas, a creative tech shop in Australia; Project House, a Turkish digital agency; and Intellignos, a data-driven company in Argentina. Havas says those agencies will be rebranded as Havas CX.
The network will also bring together 1,200 people from 20 of Havas Creative's agencies and certain customer experience specialists from across the Havas network, according to the agency. Havas CX says its focus will be on "delivering meaningful brand experiences across the entire customer journey." Havas CX will be present in 18 Havas Villages (how the network describes its integrated model of combining creative and media agencies in one office) with key hubs in London, Paris, New York and Mumbai. Clients already include Reckitt Benckiser, Tesco, Maersk, Club Med, AbbVie, Airtel and Starbucks.
The network will be led by Ekino Founder-CEO Yann Doussot, who will now be chief operating officer of Havas CX, and overseen by an executive committee comprised of Havas Creative Global CEO Chris Hirst, Havas Health & You Global CEO Donna Murphy and Havas Media Group Global CEO Peter Mears.
"Today customer experience is the bedrock on which a brand is built—indeed, the majority of a consumer’s experience of any brand won’t be through above-the-line advertising, but their personal interactions with it," Hirst says. "As technology advances, almost any conceivable purchase is just a couple of clicks away, and the opportunities for brands to get it right, or wrong, are manifold. CX is the new battleground—and the brands that get it right will win, and those that don’t will lose; it’s as simple as that."
Ad Council appoints new members to its board
The Ad Council elected new officials to its board of directors following its annual fall meeting held virtually this week. Hayley Romer, chief revenue officer and publisher of The Atlantic, succeeds McKinsey Senior Partner Laura Corb as secretary of the board. Colgate-Palmolive Chief Communications Officer Paula Davis and National Football League VP of Communications Samantha Roth also joined the Ad Council leadership council.
New board members include: IAB CEO David Cohen; Instacart Chief Revenue Officer Seth Dallaire; JPMorgan Chase Chief Marketing Officer Leslie Gillin; Spectrum Reach Senior VP and Chief Marketing Officer Michael Guth; Verizon Media VP and Head of North American Sales and Global Client Solutions Elizabeth Herbst-Brady; Northwestern Mutual Chief Marketing Officer Lee Hurley; R/GA Global CEO Sean Lyons; Ebay Head of Brand Advertising and Partnerships Scott Kelliher; Anheuser-Busch VP of Marketing Culture and Capabilities Matt Kohan; Deloitte Chief Marketing Officer Suzanne Kounkel; Wells Fargo Executive VP and Head of Communications Barri Rafferty; American Express Chief Marketing Officer Elizabeth Rutledge; Unilever's Sundial Brands CEO Cara Sabin; LinkedIn Chief Marketing and Communications Office Melissa Selcher; Huge Chief Operating Officer Raj Singhal; The Trade Desk Chief Revenue Officer Tim Sims; Lowe's Executive VP and Chief Brand and Marketing Officer Marisa Thalberg; SAP Global Chief Marketing Officer Alicia Tillman; DoubleVerify CEO Mark Zagorski; and The New York Times Global Head of Advertising and Marketing Solutions Sebastian Tomich.
Probably the best news in the world
Danish brew company Carlsberg Group, whose slogan is "Probably the best beer in the world," has appointed Grey to develop global advertising campaigns for its namesake and Tuborg brands. Carlsberg says the decision follows a review to align "advertising arrangements across the brands." Grey has been working with Tugor since 2018. The WPP agency also developed two recent campaigns for Carlsberg: "Alcohol Free," which positions the brewer's Pilsners with no more than 0.05% of alcohol as a "guilt-free" option; and "Smooth Draught," which informs consumers they can get a "smooth delivery" of Carlsberg beers while sheltering in place. Carlsberg says it will continue to work with local agencies in regional markets despite the global partnership with Grey.
"Our growth ambitions mean we need a global network for our brands, and thanks to the footprint and the creative excellence at Grey, we believe we can reach this," says Robbie Millar, VP of global marketing at Carlsberg Group.
DentsuMcgarrybowen—the network formed in May comprised of agencies including Isobar, John Brown and Dentsu PR firms such as Mitchell—poached Adam&Eve/DDB Global Creative Director Simon Lloyd as chief creative officer of the U.K. He joins Chief Strategy Officer Sophie Lewis, who joined from VMLY&R in February; CEO Gareth Collins, who moved from Leo Burnett and Fallon last year; and Barratt Mistry, who has been appointed head of project management. Together, the team is tasked with building up dentsumcgarrybowen in the U.K.
Pinnacle Advertising, a full-service agency in Boca Raton, Florida, appointed Robert Mitchell as its first CEO. He previously was director of marketing and corporate communications for a biotech company in Boca Raton. Pinnacle Advertising Founder Peter Gary will step into the role of chairman, handing daily responsibilities over to Mitchell.
Fortnight Collective, a Boulder, Colorado-based creative agency, was named agency of record for Wholesome, the maker of organic sweeteners. The agency says it will be tasked with developing creative campaigns "to generate greater consumer awareness." Fortnight Collective's scope also includes production, content strategy and planning. The agency expects to debut its first brand campaign for Wholesome later this year.