Agency Brief: Kraft Heinz places global media account into review
Agencies are trying to keep their remote employees engaged, spirits up and business moving as “usual” as possible during these trying times. Via virtual happy hours, exercise classes and meditation routines, shops are leaning on their creative chops to stay in touch with their staff through digital channels. Send us what your agency is doing for possible inclusion in a roundup we have in the works.
Silicon Valley digital design and tech agency YML, for example, did a spontaneous “Pet Happy Hour” this week where 20-plus employees gathered via Zoom to introduce their temporary furry coworkers to the rest of the staff, and show how they’re practicing social distancing while hunkered down in their homes. Because, really, there’s nothing better than a furry face to remind us of the good that still exists in the world.
During YML’s “Pet Happy Hour” (unclear if there was booze involved or just Kibbles ’n Bits), the staff met Lou the bulldog (also the agency’s chief wrinkle officer), French Montana the rescue pup, Pixel the black cat, Peppermint the rescue kitten and Prickles the support plant because it seems someone didn’t understand the requirements. “Pet Happy Hour” will now be turned into a weekly “PEThering” event, the agency says, where anyone can join for a quick pick-me-up.
“It is an unprecedented time for our team and our hope is to have a few uniquely happy moments each week where our people feel connected to each other as they would in the office,” says Minela Bjelevac, head of people at YML.
Kraft Heinz chooses unusual time to launch global media review
Kraft Heinz seems to be moving forward with “business as usual” despite the worldwide health crisis. As Campaign first reported, the food conglomerate recently placed its $600 million global media account into review, with the majority of holding companies including WPP, Omnicom, Publicis and Dentsu expected to pitch. Longtime incumbent Publicis’ Starcom—which expanded its remit with Kraft Heinz twice in the past five years without a review—is competing to defend, according to a person close to the matter. Starcom declined to comment.
“Our contract with Starcom Worldwide is expiring this year, so Kraft Heinz is exploring opportunities for its global media planning and buying operations to ensure we are positioned for success in 2021 and beyond,” a Karft Heinz spokesperson confirms.
One person close to the matter says it is unclear how the coronavirus will affect the review, or if pitching will be done virtually or “prolonged" as a result. Kraft Heinz has also committed $12 million to support communities affected by the coronavirus outbreak.
S4 Capital releases preliminary 2019 results
Martin Sorrell’s S4 Capital released preliminary results for 2019, its first full operational year. The company reported 2019 billings of $534.9 million, revenue of $252.4 million (up 292 percent from last year’s $64.2 million), organic growth of 41 percent, gross profit of $200.7 million and a net loss of $11.7 million. Some highlights for the self-proclaimed new age/new era digital advertising and marketing services company this year include the acquisitions of ProgMedia, a Brazil-based data and programmatic consultancy that merged with MightyHive; Adobe and transformation specialist BizTech, which merged with MediaMonks; Amsterdam and New York-based influencer marketing shop IMA that was combined with MediaMonks; and Silicon Valley-based digital agency Firewood, which also merged with MediaMonks.
Sorrell, executive chairman of S4 Capital, says that the company has not yet seen a “material impact” from coronavirus.
“Our first full financial year was outstandingly successful,” Sorrell says. “We grew our top line and bottom line at industry leading rates. We broadened and deepened our content and data and programmatic practices through organic growth and the addition of six content and three digital media and data companies. We integrated our client offering around our content and data and programmatic practices. We broadened and deepened our client roster. We have achieved brand awareness and brand trial. We now have to demonstrate that we can achieve significant client conversion at scale, both with existing and new clients.”
Havas brand strategy and consulting firm TRIPTK has developed a COVID-19 Consumer Tracker to gauge general sentiment and consumption and institutional impacts in the U.S. in real-time during the worldwide health crisis. Its first report covers stats from Friday, March 13, through Tuesday, March 17, including the findings that 30 percent of Americans worry the government “doesn’t have what it takes to contain the pandemic” and 30 percent also “don’t trust others to behave in a way that will benefit all.” That cohort might be right on the last point. A disturbing amount of people are not following social distancing, the report shows, with only 10 percent of Americans canceling in-person meetings and just 15 percent nixing their plans to go to the bars, restaurants, festivals and other activities that are still open, according to the tracker.
The U.S. Census Bureau partnered with The Advertising Research Foundation to help build awareness of and encourage participation in the 2020 Census. As its national partner, the ARF will support the marketing and awareness efforts around the census through events (probably virtual ones currently), providing speaking opportunities and, of course, advertising. Americans can respond to the 2020 Census online, by phone or by mail.
Recent hires, moves and promotions
Acxiom—the data analytics and management group IPG bought for $2.3 billion in 2018—appointed Chad Engelgau to global CEO. This marks Engelgau’s return to Acxiom after he stepped away to serve as global chief data strategist at IPG Mediabrands and then Kinesso, the holding company’s data intelligence unit. He previously served in various senior roles at Axciom, including chief marketing officer.
Wunderman Thompson named Caroline Foster Kenny as its first global chief client officer. She will be based out of London and report to Global CEO Mel Edwards. Foster Kenny will be responsible for global client relationship development in the role. She hails from IPG Mediabrands, where she has served as CEO of the U.K. and EMEA for the last three years.
Wunderman Thompson also named Ernest Riba chief strategy officer of Latin America. Riba will be based in Mexico City and report directly to Wunderman Thompson Latam CEO Juan Pablo Jurado. He previously was managing director of creative agency HOY/Havas but before that headed strategy and innovation at Wunderman Argentina (before Wunderman and J. Walter Thompson merged).
Michelle Giuda, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Global Public Affairs, has rejoined Weber Shandwick as executive VP of its public affairs practice. She previously led communications for the firm until she took the government role in early 2018. Giuda will first help lead Weber Shandwick’s COVID-19 response, as well as other key topics across the geopolitical spectrum.
Edelman named Lee Maicon its first global chief innovation and strategy officer. He assumes the role on April 6, and will lead the firm’s strategic network now in 65 offices worldwide from his post in New York. Maicon joins from McCann, where he was the chief strategy officer for North America. He has also led strategic planning across agencies 360i, Berlin Cameron, Grey and StrawberryFrog.
Martin Bochineck, CEO of Isobar Nordics, has been promoted to global president of the Dentsu Aegis Network-owned group. He will continue to be based out of Denmark and retain his position as chairman of Isobar in the Nordics. Bochineck will report to Jean Lin, who in turn adds global executive chairman to her current title of global CEO of Isobar.
R/GA shifted Rebecca Bezzina to senior VP, managing director of its London office. Bezzina spent the past five years as senior VP and managing director of R/GA Australia, where she helped grow its Sydney and Melbourne offices. Prior to R/GA, Bezzina led accounts such as Google, Nestle and Qantas at M&C Saatchi, where she was for more than five years.