Agency Brief: Owl to swoop into Super Bowl for Australian wildlife relief
Super Bowl, Super Bowl, Super Bowl. We’re in the thick of the madness with the biggest advertising day of the year just two days away. Make sure to keep up with our coverage heading into Sunday, and of course during the Big Game. Here are a few more Super Bowl LIV stunts that might not reach the national stage but could still attract attention.
Spin the Bowl
After inviting Super Bowl viewers last year to “put that shit on everything" through an emoji-filled social media stunt that put Frank’s RedHot in conversations without having to buy a national spot, this year the brand will once again cleverly insert itself into Big Game online chatter. On Sunday, Frank’s RedHot will kick off its own twist on Spin the Bottle—the brand says no kissing will be involved but there will still be plenty of dares and surprises—that gives fans the chance to win prizes like a Too Hot To Handle Candle, a Chicken Wing Bling Ring, an Up in Flames Skateboard, the Hottest Cooler and a customized Frank’s RedHot sauce bottle. It’s unclear what the dares will be but the brand says (former heartthrob?) Donnie Wahlberg will be getting in on the fun. Frank’s RedHot says the more you play (to participate, use the hashtag #FranksSweepstakes), the better chance you get at the grand prize: $36,500. The stunt was crafted by Grey New York.
“During last year’s Big Game, Frank’s RedHot offered chances for fans to win products seen in TV ads by tweeting emojis,” says Alia Kemet, Frank’s creative and digital strategic senior director. “Everyone loved it so much that Frank’s drove the most Twitter conversations among brands without an ad, proving no one simply watches football anymore. That’s why this year we created a bigger and spicier experience—a live game of Spin the Bottle with dares and cool prizes—to keep people talking.”
Super b-Owl to the rescue
Superb Owl will be swooping into your Twitter feeds during the Big Game on Sunday to not only review ads, but help provide aid to the Australian wildlife affected by the devastating New South Wales fires. Created by agency Partners + Napier, the meme-turned-activist will be tweeting at brands during his favorite national spots, critiquing their creative while asking them (and the public at large) to donate to the World Wildlife Fund’s Bushfire Emergency. Viewers can follow along @SuperbOwl_Saves.
"Why an owl?" you ask. Partner + Napier’s Australian sister shop, Dig + Fish, which reached out for assistance during the critical time, says there are 11 species of owls in Australia, plus thousands of other animal species, who desperately need help. Examples of tweets ready to go out during the Big Game include “Actually, @reeses, I was partially raised by our dingo cousins. How about we help WWF save them from the brushfires?” and “OK, @google. Once our tears dry up, let’s all remember to help WWF help the animals of the bushfire.”
Donate before time burns up
Austin-based creative agency GSD&M and L.A.’s digital production shop Wildlife have also teamed up to help Australia’s impacted animal population. The two companies created a microsite for Wires, an Australian wildlife rescue operation. The site, which launched last Sunday (Australia Day), highlights depressing statistics on the devastation of Australia’s wildlife, while the site literally burns up—people only have seconds to donate before a ticking clock runs out and visitors are prompted to instead share the site on social media. It reminds us that nearly 1 billion animals are estimated to have been affected by the fires, with millions dead, while their habitats continue to be destroyed. The New South Wales fires are still raging and Australia is only halfway through its fire season.
“We felt helpless seeing the effects of the Australian bushfires in our feeds and online,” says Alex DiBucci, GSD&M associate creative director and copywriter. “But as advertisers, we have access to resources and talent to make a difference in times like these. In a way, it’s our corporate responsibility to use our powers for good and give organizations like Wires a bigger platform to spread their message.”
Dentsu's Tim Andree takes leave of absence
Dentsu Group says Tim Andree, executive VP of Dentsu Group and executive chairman and CEO of Dentsu Aegis Network, will take a leave of absence due to health-related reasons. Toshihiro Yamamoto, representative director, president and CEO of Dentsu Group, will take on the additional role of acting executive chairman and CEO of Dentsu Aegis Network until Andree returns. Additionally, the holding company says, Yamamoto will be supported in the interim by Valerie Scoular, executive senior advisor of Dentsu Group; Nick Priday, chief financial officer and executive officer of Dentsu Group; and Takaki Hibino, executive officer of Dentsu Group.
“Tim has the full ongoing support of the Dentsu Board,” Yamamoto says. “Matters of health are the most important and I encourage him to take the time he needs to return to full health. We wish him a very speedy and full recovery.”
Dentsu's Merkle buys Digital Pi
Dentsu Aegis Network acquired Digital Pi, an agency focused on marketing automation consulting services in the business-to-business space. Digital Pi will be placed under Merkle, its data-driven performance marketing agency that Dentsu bought for $1.5 billion in 2016. Dallas-based Digital Pi was founded in 2013 and houses 50 employees, who will all join Merkle. The agency’s founder and CEO, Ryan Vong, will retain his role and report to Merkle B2B Group Global CEO Michael McLaren. Merkle says the acquisition strengthens its data, technology and audience capabilities. “Merkle has a large client base seeking expert help to maximize their return on investment in marketing automation, so we see this as a great business fit for both companies,” Vong says.
Agencies and their identity crises
2020 is proving to be the year of the rebrands, with two more agencies undergoing name changes this week. Dedicated direct-to-consumer agency R2C Group has emerged as Rain, a “growth” agency. The new name seems to be a bit SEO-challenged, but namaste. (It’s probably worth pointing out that there’s also a digital agency called RAIN.) The new Rain says its moniker is a tribute to its rainy Pacific Northwest home. Meanwhile, i.d.e.a., a San Diego-based independent shop, has rebranded to 62Above—which is also meant to honor the agency’s home, as the heart of San Diego sits 62 feet above sea level. 62Above also announced that it hired Greg Carson of MeringCarson (which changed its name from Mering & Associates in 2006 to acknowledge his contributions as a partner and executive creative director). Carson joined as the agency’s first president. These rebrands follow those of Big Thirst Marketing (formerly Pen & Tell Us), Yebo (previously Barber Martin Agency), House of Communications (formerly Serviceplan) and Muhtayzik Hoffer (which rebranded back from M/H VCCP).
The wins of the week
Heat has won an assignment to develop and launch a new 360-degree national brand campaign and creative platform for Oofos, a recovery footwear company founded in 2011. The Deloitte-owned agency has been tasked with creating a 360-degree campaign that builds on its brand and introduces it to a broader audience focused on health and wellness. The campaign is expected to debut with a hero brand film that will extend to traditional and digital channels including Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and Hulu. Heat is working alongside Rain (formerly R2C, per the above), which is handling performance media; BVaccel, which is responsible for e-commerce design and development; and DKC, which is covering PR and influencer relations duties.
Quiet Storm was named the global lead strategic and creative agency for Innovo, a wearable tech product designed to help people with weak pelvic floor muscles (bladders) and other health-related issues like sexual dysfunction. According to the company, one in three women suffer from urinary incontinence. The agency says it is tasked with “raising the global profile” of Innovo and will launch a multi-channel campaign sometime in 2020. “Quiet Storm impressed us with its bold, creative thinking,” says Susanne Judd, VP marketing at Innovo. “For too long, the taboo around bladder weakness has left millions of women suffering in silence, unable to enjoy their lives to the full.”
Jess Monsey has returned to Wieden & Kennedy, joining as managing director of the agency’s Portland office. She replaced Karrelle Dixon, who after nearly three years in the role and 14 years at W&K, is returning to London to pursue a career in education. Monsey left W&K Portland in March 2018 to join MDC Partners’ 72andSunny New York as president. She first joined W&K in 2005 and was serving as director of client services and business director, publishing, before she left. Monsey is credited with evolving W&K’s creative offerings and one of the early projects she worked on was the launch of OnSheGoes, a travel platform created by and for women of color.
Publicis Groupe hired Ronnie Dickerson Stewart as U.S. chief diversity officer, effective Feb. 3. She will replace Sandra Sims-Williams, who left for Nielsen this month. Dickerson Stewart will also shepherd Publicis’ Talent Engagement and Inclusion Council, with the support of all diversity and inclusion leaders and chief talent officers in the industry. Dickerson Stewart was most recently senior VP of career advancement and inclusion at Digitas North America. She will report to Anne-Gabrielle Heilbronner, a member of the directoire and secretary general, who herself will lead a new diversity and inclusion steering committee at Publicis. Renetta McCann, Publicis Groupe chief inclusion experience officer, will also help assemble the new steering committee.
Havas Health & You appointed Philippe Huot-Louradour as its first European technology and innovation lead and promoted David Hunt to global chief digital officer. Hunt retains his current position as CEO of HH&Y West. Together, the agency says the duo will continue to drive innovation for HH&Y offices globally and, within parent companies Havas and Vivendi, build bespoke teams and services for clients. Huot-Louradour previously was managing director of Havas Health Paris.
More from Havas: former MDC Partners’ Stephanie Nerlich joined Havas Creative Group as global chief client officer. Nerlich will oversee the agency’s global client relationship development. While Havas Creative Group says the position is global, Nerlich will have “a large focus on North America.” She previously spent four years at MDC, where she most recently was executive VP, partner development and talent.
Talon, out-of-home boutique shop, appointed Jim Wilson as U.S. chief executive officer. He joins from Tegna’s Premion, an adtech platform. Before Premion, he was chief operating officer of TouchTunes, an OOH media and digital music company. Talon, headquartered in London, says the hire comes amid an aggressive expansion in the U.S. It now has a second headquarters in New York and offices in San Diego, Denver and Atlanta.
Swift named Dana Stalker as creative director to lead its Google Hardware account. Stalker is based in Swift’s Portland office, marking her return to Oregon, her home state. She left Oregon eight years ago to make her way to New York, working with agencies like BBDO and most recently Droga5. At Accenture Interactive-owned Droga5, Stalker led work for Virgin Mobile, Sperry, Google and Chase. Don Shelford, Swift executive creative director and former Droga5 group creative director, says he was "lucky enough to work with Dana for a few years at Droga5 in NYC, so obviously I'm ecstatic to have her creative leadership back here on her home turf in Oregon."
Digital Domain, a visual effects studio, hired Kevin Lau as executive creative director for advertising, games and new media. Lau previously was creative director and partner at Timber, a Los Angeles design shop behind campaigns for GMC, the Winter Olympics and the music video for Kendrick Lamar’s “Humble.” Digital Domain clients and partners include Mountain Dew, BMW, Nike, Spike Jonze, 72andSunny and Heat.
Petermayer, Louisiana full-service marketing and communications firm, promoted Executive VP and Chief Strategy Officer Michelle Edelman to president. This comes as the former president, Mark Mayer, assumes the role of CEO and Chairman from his father and agency founder, Peter Mayer. Josh Mayer, co-owner of the agency, remains chief creative officer. Edelman joined Petermayer in 2013 as VP and strategy director and is credited with developing and growing the agency’s strategy division.