Agency Brief: This map gives a global snapshot of the status of production by country
As we know, most production worldwide has come to a screeching halt due to the coronavirus pandemic. The issue has forced marketers and advertisers to get crafty in developing ads, something they are well trained to do. Agency execs say they are leaning on everything from drones to stock footage to animation to create spots for clients. Still, it remains a big challenge.
Genero, a self-proclaimed global creative platform for marketers, has developed an interactive map to assess the state of marketing and advertising production worldwide during this time. The Global Production Status Map provides marketers with a snapshot of the production restrictions in place in 80 global markets, “so they can make decisions about where, when and what to shoot,” says Genero. The company says it used data gathered from hundreds of its creators in its network and verified them against news and government sources. According to the map, Canada allows for medium-scale productions in certain areas like Vancouver with limited crews and social distancing as does China and Australia, among others; Iceland, as has been reported, has limits on gatherings of over 50 people but live production can move forward; and certain areas of the U.S. allow for small-scale productions depending on the state. Genero reports that 41.3 percent of the world currently allows for post production and studio product shoots; 31.3 percent allows for small-scale studio productions with talent; 26.3 percent allows for medium-scale productions with restrictions; and only 1.3 percent is open for full-scale productions.
“These are unprecedented times for the creative industry and obviously safety is the first priority,” Genero CEO and Co-Founder Mick Entwisle says. “But for marketers who haven’t had to hit pause completely, this map provides a range of options for moving forward with the relevant precautions in place. We’re so proud to see our creators around the world coming up with safe, innovative ways to keep producing content in such a challenging environment.”
S4 Capital's first-quarter update
Alongside its first quarter earnings release this week, S4 Capital detailed the cost-cutting measures it has implemented due to the coronavirus pandemic. S4 Founder and Executive Chairman Martin Sorrell says the company has reduced non-essential expenses; reduced hiring; some of its executives have taken pay cuts; and it has “adjusted” its “headcount numbers marginally to reflect changing functional and geographic patterns in client demand.” Sorrell says, too, that S4 will examine “office lease patterns in various cities” and terminate and consolidate real estate “where possible.” He says “many of our people are indicating a current preference to continue to work from home.” S4 employs a network of 2,500 people across 30 countries. MightyHive, part of S4, also announced that it would be offering clients a free trial of MightyDesk—a suite of tools that enables media buyers to scale their programmatic operations—throughout the second quarter due to the pandemic. That offers follows Publicis Groupe saying it would be offering clients a 100 percent refund should Epsilon fail to deliver on specific business outcomes.
S4 reported its first-quarter revenue rose 73 percent to £71.0 million ($88 million), its like-for-like sales were up 17 percent and gross profit was up more than 85 percent. The company broke out its gross profit figures by month: January was up 33 percent, February was up 21 percent and March lagged, up only 6 percent. S4’s new-business wins in the first quarter included assignments from PayPal, Quibi, Twitch, Domino’s, Fuji Television, Dole Food Co. and AkzoNobel. The company says “new business activity is still frenetic” and it also was added to the agency rosters of “two major multinational clients, one CPG and one pharma” in the first quarter.
“Our clients have continued to increase their investment in digital content, programmatic and data and analytics, but at varying rates depending on the individual categories,” Sorrell says. “Our tech clients, which account for approximately half of our revenue, have by and large continued to invest, particularly in purpose campaigns, although there has been some genuine postponement of spending from the first or second quarters into the second half. The other half, dominated by FMCG or CPG companies, pharma and retail is more mixed, with some cutting or reducing spend and, of course, investment in purpose campaigns too.”
This Mother's Day, ‘Leave Mom the Fuck Alone’
Yard NYC is helping moms get the gift they really want this Mother’s Day: “to be left the fuck alone.” In a PSA, the independent creative agency tells kids to make their own damn meals, stop hijacking mom’s conference calls with colleagues and, please, let her pee in peace. The hilarious ad is part of a larger campaign created by Yard, aptly named “Leave Mom the Fuck Alone,” and provides some comedic relief to the woes parents are facing quarantined in their homes with their children. The campaign reminds kids that all moms might need right now is a break, done in the same vein as viral books “Go the Fuck to Sleep” and “All the Places You’ll Eff Up.” The project includes the short film below, a social media campaign and custom merchandise like tote bags, desktop wallpapers and Zoom backgrounds available for purchase here. All of the profits from the campaign will go toward helping mothers affected by the pandemic.
“Seeing so many moms leading the charge at work, carrying so much of the weight on the front lines and figuring out how to homeschool on the fly moved us to want to celebrate moms in a big way this year,” Yard NYC CEO Ruth Bernstein says. “As a mom myself, I know how difficult it can be to juggle everything and I applaud how moms are making it work. But we didn’t think the world needed another sad and sappy spot talking about ‘these unprecedented times,’ so we decided to cut through the noise and have a little fun.”
The Richards Group wins Direct Auto Insurance
Direct Auto Insurance tapped The Richards Group as its new brand advertising agency of record. The agency will be responsible for its overall creative advertising strategy as well as digital strategy, sponsorship marketing, consumer promotions, CRM and analytics and multicultural marketing led by The Richards Group partner Lerma. The companies say work has already begun. The Richards Group has helped Direct Auto adjust its messaging during the current crisis; introduce consumer promotions to help it through the pandemic; and assist the company with its sponsorship of UFC 249, a major sporting event still slated to take place tomorrow, May 9. The Richards Group says it will also be launching a new brand campaign for Direct Auto later this year. Pereira & O’Dell, which declined comment, was Direct Auto’s previous lead advertising agency. According to COMvergence estimates, Direct Auto spends on average $12.3 million on measured media annually in the U.S.
“Our customers are so important to us, and through several months of discussions with The Richards Group, we believe they share our vision and understand our customer relationship,” says Kevin Fairchild, Direct Auto VP of brand innovation. “We were impressed by the unique creativity and vast experience of the team, and we are thrilled to have their guidance during this crisis while beginning to discuss what comes next together.”
UM predicts consumer COVID-19 spending habits across sectors
IPG Mediabrands’ UM released a new proprietary machine-learning model, called the Consumer Demand Forecaster, to predict the rise and fall of consumer demand in various markets during the coronavirus pandemic. The series of reports that will come out of the Consumer Demand Forecaster aim to provide a roadmap for brand marketing re-entry strategies across 10 categories: automotive, consumer electronics, consumer package-goods, entertainment, finance, food, insurance, oil and gas, retail and travel. The first report found that automotive, insurance and food delivery will have a greater rebound in the U.S. and U.K.—U.S. demand for automobiles will rise to 80 percent of pre-pandemic levels by the end of May, the report says. Insurance, which saw a drop-off in consumer demand in March from an initial spike when the pandemic first hit, is expected to rebound to near pre-pandemic levels by the end of May, per the report. Food delivery saw a doubling of demand from mid- to late March and the report predicts that heightened demand will continue through May, “with the U.S. potentially seeing a small dip in the last part if the month.”
“Our data-fueled model provides practical, actionable media guidance to help brands respond to and prepare for recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Huw Griffiths, global chief product officer of UM. “By predicting the rise and fall of consumer demand across categories, and the magnitude and shape of that demand, we are able to advise brands on when and how to re-enter the market in both the short- and long-term, with the goal of future-proofing their businesses during this uncertain time.”
D&AD releases virtual awards schedule
D&AD announced the program for its 2020 awards and shortlist, which are being carried out digitally this year due to COVID-19. The shortlist and Pencils will be announced via the D&AD website and social channels. Key shortlist dates are May 21, May 25 and June 4. Pencils will be announced on June 2, June 9 and June 16. All judging has commenced remotely except for categories Book Design, Graphic Design, Magazine & Newspaper Design and Packaging Design—those the D&AD deemed in-person judging is critical, and that is slated to kick off in July. For the categories where in-person judging has been determined necessary, shortlists will be announced on July 8 and Pencils on July 13. The Black Pencils, Collaborative Pencils and Rankings are scheduled to be announced on the last day, July 16.
“Recent events have shone a spotlight on the value of thinking creatively,” says Tim Lindsay, D&AD chairman. “Our industry has already demonstrated great creativity in the face of the virus, and D&AD feel that it is more important than ever to celebrate the work we do. Alongside our awards schedule, we are excited to host a series of panel discussions, Q&As, and interviews with some of the industry’s leading creative practitioners.”
FCB shuffled its leadership around this week. The agency moved Nancy Crimi-Lamanna to chief creative officer of Canada. She was serving as co-chief creative officer of FCB Toronto alongside Jeff Hilts, who continues on as the sole chief creative in that office. FCB North America also elevated Karin Onsager-Birch and Simon White to co-presidents of its West Coast operations. Onsager-Birch and White will retain their current roles as chief creative officer and chief strategy officer, respectively. Crimi-Lamanna, in her new role, will collaborate with FCB’s North America team and adds oversight to the agency’s Montreal operations.
Cashmere launched a new division, Nice Sweater, described as a cross-functional practice focusing on developing brand-driven digital experiences “rooted in culture” on social and remote conferencing platforms. The social-first agency says it will connect audiences with content and talent, virtual gatherings “and most importantly, each other globally.” Platforms where these digital experiences could be held include Zoom, TikTok, Twitch, YouTube Live, Instagram Live and Facebook Live. Nice Sweater will be composed of a team of production, strategy, creative, social, influencer and public relations experts.
Dear Future, a global strategy and design agency, named Anne Swan as its U.S. chief creative officer. Swan spent the last 13 years at Siegel+Gale, where she was executive creative director of New York and global creative director for Procter & Gamble and American Express. Swan will be based out of Dear Future’s 10-person New York office and work across clients The Honest Company, Greenlight, High Ridge Brands, Reach and Ori. She’ll also launch the agency’s sustainability practice and bolster its “creative capital” model through which it takes equity in high-growth businesses.
Barbarian, a Cheil Worldwide digital creative agency, formed a global alliance with sports business exec and media personality Jay Williams. He will serve as chief entertainment and lifestyle advisor to the agency, effective immediately, working with recently-installed Barbarian CEO Steven Moy and his leadership team to identify new areas of investment to drive business growth. Barbarian says Williams has already begun strategizing on projects that will be announced in the coming weeks, “including with a Fortune 100 CPG company and a well-known DTC lifestyle brand.”
72andSunny New York hired Brett Edgar as president, effective this summer. Edgar is joining from BBH New York, which this week underwent a round of layoffs, where she served as managing director. At BBH New York, Edgar oversaw brand work for clients like Playstation, Grubhub, Seamless, Brighthouse Financial and Planned Parenthood. Before BBH, she was an executive group director and co-head of account management for Droga5.