Agency brief: Super Bowl stunts and SNL-esque spoofs
We’re roughly one week out from Super Bowl LIV, so it’s all hands on deck in adland. The teasers are now rolling out in waves (Ad Age’s running list of participants, trends and predictions can be found in one place, here, for your sanity and convenience), causing chatter and hype around what’s to come on Feb. 2. Who will provide the biggest showdown? The 49ers and the Chiefs? Michael Bloomberg versus Donald Trump? The feuding “Real Housewives of New Jersey” co-stars?
Judging by this year’s wacky teasers released thus far—Mr. Peanut is dead! (I personally doubt this is truly the end of the spokesnut)—this year’s Big Game is surely going to be, well, interesting, if not overly clickbaity.
Meanwhile, the national spots aren’t the only ones to watch out for—on the rise as we get closer to the Big Game are also the various stunts and regional ads airing in and around Super Bowl LIV. Here’s one:
In this spot above from BBH New York in advance of Super Bowl LIV, FanDuel Sportsbook underscores the fact that it takes the risk out of Big Game online betting by showing an eccentric fan who puts the risk back by throwing a hellish Super Bowl party complete with snakes in a toilet, hazardous obstacles to keep guests on their toes and dangerous electrical outlets. “If FanDuel is going to take risk out of the world, it’s on me to add it back,” says the lunatic sports fan. His guests aren't seemingly amused.
The campaign includes 30- and 15-second ads that will run on social, digital and regional TV in four of the states where online sports betting is legal (New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Indiana) through Feb. 2.
The side effects of this ad include ...
Subaru Canada “cures” boredom with the 2020 Impreza in this parody spot taking on traditional pharmaceutical advertising from agency Zulu Alpha Kilo. It was directed by "Saturday Night Live" director David McCary so, in typical SNL fashion, the spot spoofs on everything we’ve come to expect from pharma ads: the exaggerated acting out of symptoms related to whatever illness (in this case, boredom) that the promoted drug is intended to cure; the questionable animated demonstrations of what’s really going on inside your body (as if anybody wants to see that); and, finally, the eureka moment when at long last your ailments are diminished by the pharma gods—of course, only to be juxtaposed by the subsequent rattling off of an inaudible list of side effects that are scarier than the original ailment itself. All that to say the Impreza is fun to drive.
JDC fights anti-Semitism with facts
World leaders gathered in Jerusalem on Thursday to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the end of the Holocaust, and to discuss how to fight a rising resurgence of anti-Semitism. Recent headlines from major news outlets like The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN and others have warned of this alarming resurgence amid increasing reports of violent acts against the Jewish community, especially in North America and Europe. In an effort to fight anti-Semitism, The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee is distributing its first-ever brand awareness campaign, created by purpose-driven agency Oberland, to inform viewers of what Judaism really means to the people it represents and to highlight the true values of the Jewish community. The PSA (below) spotlights all of the humanitarian efforts the JDC has been behind throughout its 105 years as an organization—from caring for Holocaust survivors in concentration camps in the immediate aftermath of World War II, to providing basic supplies to Jewish people in need globally, to responding to any and all natural disasters.
Amplify—the U.K. brand experience agency behind Airbnb’s “Night at the Louvre,” Google’s “Curiosity Rooms” and Spotify’s “Who We Be” campaigns—is making its way to the U.S. by opening of an office in Los Angeles. The L.A. outpost will be the agency’s second overseas office—its first was set up a year ago in Australia. Amplify says the L.A. hub was built to serve clients like Facebook and HubSpot and will be led by President Marcus Childs, Executive VPs Mark McDermott and Alex Smith, and Executive VP of Creative Jamie Davies. “We have always seen the huge potential of the U.S. market,” Childs says.
Sid Lee Paris, part of the Hakuhodo DY Holdings kyu collective, bought Haigo, a self-described hybrid agency in Paris specializing in strategic consulting, design and project management. Haigo’s clients include LVMH, Société Génerale and Orange. The agency houses 30 people in Paris, who are said to be specialists in user research and design. Sid Lee says Haigo will help bolster its strategy, innovation, storytelling and production capabilities.
Pen & Tell Us, an Austin-based full-service agency founded in 2014 that specializes in the beverage industry, rebranded to Big Thirst Marketing. “I started Pen & Tell Us to combine my passion for the beverage industry with my international marketing experience,” Big Thirst Marketing President Matt McGinnis says. “What started as a hobby working at a winery, as a wine writer, and pursuing sommelier certifications became a serious avocation, and now my full-time career,” McGinnis says, adding that Big Thirst Marketing better reflects the agency’s “commitment to helping our clients navigate the specific regulations, challenges and consumer demands of the beverage alcohol industry.” Big Thirst Marketing says with the name change, also comes a win—it was named agency of record for Texas winery Slate Mill Wine Collective.
More wins of the week
WPP’s Wavemaker won the Pernod Ricard Global Travel Retail media buying business following a multi-agency review. Pernod Ricard Group says its global travel retail business is its second largest division—the media account spans all international territories with a focus on high-growth markets like China, India, South Korea, Japan and developing markets including the U.S., Europe and Australia. The appointment is an extension of Pernod Ricard’s partnership with Wavemaker as it named the agency its media agency of record for China in late 2019.
Steve Stoute’s Translation was hired to work with the New York Knicks on elevating the team’s overall brand positioning and connection to fans. Specifically, the agency says it will be tasked with leading campaign development and “brand-focused programs that utilize the full range of Knicks history, alumni, passionate fanbase and their iconic home, Madison Square Garden.” Work is likely to be in the vein of Translation’s “Cliff Paul” campaign for State Farm and Budweiser’s “Made in America.” Andy Lustgarten, president of The Madison Square Garden Co., says the “goal is to not only build a Knicks team that is successful on the court” but to “continue forging deeper connections between our incredibly loyal fans and team.”
Admirable Devil has won lead advertising duties for Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. following a competitive pitch led by its in-house marketing team. As part of the partnership, the Washington, D.C.-based agency will create and launch a new brand campaign and communication strategy for Sierra Nevada in 2020. The campaign will aim to amplify the company’s flagship Sierra Nevada Pale Ale beer as well as its other brands like Hazy Little Thing. It will run initially across TV, digital and social and then expand to activations and field marketing.
Modifly, a San Diego agency that claims to specialize in socializing brands, has been hired by The One Club for Creativity to handle paid social for its One Show and ADC Annual Awards events. The shop led by 22-year-old Elijah Scheider will spearhead all paid media on social, Google and other platforms as well as contribute to creative concepts. “Modifly brings fresh thinking to social media that we feel will resonate with our target audience of creative professionals.We look forward to benefiting from their strategic and creative expertise,” The One Club CEO Kevin Swanepoel says.
Termite and pest-control service provider Terminix selected Barker as its lead agency following a review. The Kansas City-based independent agency will lead overall brand strategy, creative, design and channel strategy for Terminix Residential under the partnership. Matthew Loos, VP of marketing and sales effectiveness at Terminix, says the company was seeking an agency that understands the “modern consumer” and puts that “perspective first. Barkley’s energy, team chemistry and consumer expertise made them the right fit for us,” Loos adds.
Eargo, a direct-to-consumer hearing aid brand, hired Edelman and IPG’s Huge as its agencies of record. Both agencies will be responsible for developing integrated marketing campaigns to promote the company’s hearing-loss solution. Edelman will handle Eargo’s integrated communications and Huge will lead the company’s brand and product-specific creative work. The two agencies previously worked together in driving the launch of Eargo’s latest product, the Neo HiFi, at CES. “We selected Edelman and Huge because it was clear that both agencies have the deep bench of capabilities and strategic experience to support our mission and transform how people think about hearing care,” Eargo Chief Marketing Officer Shiv Singh says. “We are at an important moment of growth, and we needed strategic partners that would not only refine our vision, but challenge us and help us expand.”
Arnicare, an over-the-counter homeopathic line of pain relievers from French manufacturer Boiron, named Walrus as its lead U.S. agency across creative and strategy. Under the partnership, the independent New York-based agency says it will develop a national campaign for Arnicare, in an effort to “raise the profile” of the brand. Boiron was founded in 1932 by French pharmacist twin brothers Jean and Henri Boiron, who developed their first homeopathic medicines (or alternative medicines, based on the belief that the body can heal itself) from plants harvested in the Alps. Boiron is now the world’s largest manufacturer of homeopathic products. Jasmine Singer, director of product marketing at Boiron USA, says Walrus’ experience working in the health and wellness category (for clients like Pfizer Consumer Healthcare and Avrio Health) helped secure the win. “Arnicare is among our most powerful brands, and we’re confident the marketing will follow suit,” Singer adds.
Garden Fresh, the San Diego-based operator of 97 Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes restaurants nationwide, named Raindrop as its agency of record. The agency that is also headquartered in San Diego will lead brand and website development, photo and video production, media planning and buying, search marketing, social media, advertising, PR and design efforts for the company. A new campaign based on Garden Fresh's “Create What You Crave” mantra is set to be launched in the first quarter of 2020 across social media, streaming audio, broadcast radio, connected TV, billboards, digital bus shelters, online video and local TV in select markets.
French manufacturer Andros selected agency Quiet Storm to lead the brand strategy and creative direction in the U.K. for Nutritious Delicious, its new natural and plant-based food brand. The decision followed a three-way pitch run by consultant Oystercatchers and work is expected to debut this spring. Nutritious Delicious was only launched in the U.K. in 2019, following the product’s successful French 2018 launch under the name Gourmand & Vegetal. Zoe Bernstein of Nutritious Delicious says Quiet Storm “demonstrated a great combination of strategic thinking and creativity on this new brand” in the pitch.
Dallas-based Slingshot has been named media agency of record for Aspire Allergy & Sinus, an Austin-based testing and treatment center for allergy and sinus issues. Slingshot will initially be responsible for media strategy, planning and buying for digital, streaming and broadcast. The appointment follows Aspire Allergy & Sinus rebranding from Texan Allergy & Sinus Center and expanding beyond Texas into Colorado and Florida. Across those three states, Aspire Allergy & Sinus now operates nearly 50 clinics in 14 markets. “We needed a partner to help us grow in both our existing and emerging markets as we further broaden our footprint,” says Goldyn Daupin, Aspire Allergy & Sinus chief marketing officer.
Quattro, a Philadelphia-based marketing and advertising agency, landed three new pieces of business: AmeriGas, Pods and Pentagon Federal Credit Union (PenFed). For retail propane distributor AmeriGas, Quattro will handle SEO and paid search duties. For Pods, the moving and storage solutions provider, the agency will be responsible for SEO and other digital services to strengthen the company’s direct-to-consumer outreach. For DTC mortgage unit PenFed, Quattro is tasked with leading direct mail, digital, web design and email marketing efforts. “We are looking forward to building these well-known brands and making a lasting impact on their bottom line,” says Scott Cohen, Quattro founding partner and head of business development.
The hires, moves and promotions
Thomas Le Thierry has been promoted to CEO of Dentsu Aegis Media, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, from global president of media shop Vizeum. He will begin transitioning into the new role in March and report to Peter Huijboom, global CEO of Dentsu Aegis Media and Global Clients, and Giulio Malegori, Dentsu Aegis Network EMEA CEO. Le Thierry is set to officially take on the new title on Oct. 1. Dentsu says Le Thierry’s successor at Vizeum will be named before then.
IPG's FCB Chicago promoted three executives: Fernando Espejel to chief technology officer, Michelle Stoessel to chief financial officer and Eric Chun to executive VP, managing director of strategic analytics. Espejel joined FCB Chicago in 2013 and most recently served as executive VP, digital platforms. Stoessel has spent the last 18 years serving in financial roles at FCB Chicago, most recently as senior VP, controller. Chun joined FCB Chicago 10 years ago and most recently was executive VP, managing director of strategic analytics.
72andSunny Amsterdam announced a series of promotions. Lauren Portelli was elevated to managing director from group brand director. Hanneke Metselaar has been promoted to director of talent and culture from director of the agency’s creative residency, 72U Amsterdam. Sarah Sutton has been elevated to director of strategy from director of communications strategy. Brendan Bell was promoted to director of brand management from brand director. “This stellar group of humans will push us and our business in ways that are exciting, and uncomfortable,” says Stephanie Feeney, executive strategy director and partner, 72andSunny Amsterdam.
Independent creative and media agency Noble People hired John Newall as president. Newall had been working as an independent marketing consultant, and Noble People Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer Lindsay Lustberg says the agency first employed him in that capacity six months ago. Newall started his consulting practice in 2018 after he left McKinney, where he previously spent 13 years of his career, most recently as partner and president. He has also held stints at Omnicom’s TBWA, Publicis and Live Nation. Newall replaces former Noble People President Tom Morrissy, who is transitioning into the role of chief growth officer.
Interpublic Group of Cos.’ Deutsch tapped Jeremy Gelade to oversee creative operations and project management in a new role for the agency. As senior VP, director of creative operations and project management, Gelade will report to Deutsch New York Chief Creative Officer Dan Kelleher, who says “Jeremy’s here to dive in and roll up his sleeves to make us work smarter, faster and better.” Gelade was the director of project management and creative operations at Translation, where he worked across brands like Google, Apple, Jeep, State Farm and the NBA.
Dentsu Aegis Network’s Isobar appointed Jon Reily as senior VP and global head of commerce strategy. Reily previously was a senior leader in Publicis’ global omni-channel commerce group and practice leader of Publicis Sapient’s connected retail experience and artificial intelligence programs. He also worked as head of user experience, design and e-commerce for Amazon before that. At Isobar, Reily will lead strategy on global cross border commerce programs, what the agency describes as “one of the most important items on the experience transformation agenda” for clients.
IPG-owned Current Global bolstered its healthcare practice in North America with several key hires. Lisa Shichijo joined the agency as senior VP and formerly held roles at Chandler Chicco, W2O Group, GCI Health and Porter Novelli. Andria Arena, a veteran of agencies Biosector2, Edelman and BCW, joins Current Global as a VP. Beth Schifflin came aboard as senior manager and previously worked at BCW and the Medical University of South Carolina, where she led marketing and communications for children’s health. Megan Gyrion, who holds a PhD in addiction neuroscience, has been appointed to senior manager, scientific communications. Gyrion previously provided counsel to pharmaceutical, biotech and health tech clients at Spectrum Science. Outside North America, Current Global appointed Nivey Nocher as director of health in the U.K.
Character has appointed a head of growth for each of its two offices in New York and San Francisco. Amir Ouki, hailing from Collins, will take up that title in New York. Anna Boyarsky, joining from Mekanism, assumes the position in San Francisco. Ouki and Boyarsky will both be the first heads of growth for their respective offices. Character says they will be responsible for overseeing development efforts including assessing and structuring new opportunities, managing the agency’s existing relationships with brand and venture capital clients, and driving awareness of its work for brands like Netflix, Google, and Instagram.
Barbarian, the digital creative shop backed by Cheil Worldwide, appointed Janice Radomsky to group strategy director and John McGarry to managing director, Samsung. McGarry, who was the chief growth officer of Drumroll and who has also served as chief digital officer and partner at McGarryBowen, will oversee all of Barbarian’s Samsung business in his role. Radomsky was head of brand and innovation planning at Diageo and will oversee the entire strategy department at Barbarian alongside Chief Strategy Officer Andrew Dawson.
Independent brand agency Fine hired Sarah McBee in the newly-created role of director of operations to help better align the agency’s teams. She says she will be tasked with refining the San Francisco-based agency’s “systems and tools to support the creatives” behind the work. Before Fine, McBee spent six years overseeing operations for Living Room Realty.
Fig has promoted Jill Landaker Grunes to head of production from executive producer. In the role, she will oversee both the agency’s production and business affairs departments as well as its in-house studio. Landaker Grunes, who has a background in documentary film and theater, joined Fig as a freelancer in 2016 and was elevated to executive producer in early 2018.
After 33 years at the helm of Dixon Schwabl, co-Founders CEO Lauren Dixon and President Mike Schwabl have stepped down, completing a 15-year succession plan. Kim Allen, managing partner of communications, will now head up the CEO role while Jessica Savage, managing partner of account services, will be president. Dixon and Schwabl are now co-chairs of the Rochester, New York-based agency founded in 1987. Dixon Schwabl says the succession plan was expected, as it was detailed to the agency’s 110-person staff in the summer of 2018.
Christa Carone joined global marketing agency CSM Sport & Entertainment as president of North America. She previously was president of Group Nine Media, the media company behind Thrillist, NowThis, Popsugar, The Dodo and Seeker. In her previous role, Carone oversaw sales, marketing, audience development, analytics, product and technology as well as Group Nine Media’s internal creative studio and experiential division. Carone has also served as the chief marketing officer of Xerox and the chief operation officer of WPP’s Group SJR.
Melville, New York-based ad agency the EGC Group promoted Nicole Robinson to associate creative director from art director. Robinson, who joined EGC in 2014, has worked on various accounts including Kiss Products, Brother International and Granite Transformation (remember Janet Granite?!).