The brief: Agencies are strange
It was a wacky week in the agency world, but really, when are things not wacky in adland? It might be more accurate to say it was a normal week. Ah, I digress. Think what you will of the following initiatives.
Ad Age’s I-Hsien Sherwood reports Mirum Helsinki collected its employees’ actual sweat—while they were riding exercise bikes, doing yoga, eating spicy chicken wings, etc.—infused it into a fragrance, “Creative Essence,” and will be sending the eau de toilette to any person who submits their resume to the agency as part of an applicant repellant--er, I mean, recruitment--campaign.
Conversely, Brazilian production shop Lemonade has an initiative that will actually attract people versus send them running for the hills. The shop is launching a contest for agency interns to bring one lucky winner’s script idea to the big screen, per Ad Age’s Alexandra Jardine. (“The Intern Glory" is an effort to promote the shop’s new film division, Lemonade Films.)
And then there’s this—Stream and Tough Guy, which is the name of a just-launched Portuguese agency. How did they announce their opening? A ribbon-cutting ceremony? An Ad Age leak? No, no, the agency’s managing director, Joao Ribeiro, hijacked a TV game show to spread the news to the world, and particularly the clients he wants to accrue, as Jardine also reports.
Cheers to launching your business the old-fashioned way
(By leaking it to Ad Age, which is always welcome.)
Alain Macklovitch—D.J., producer and owner of the Fool’s Gold record label, known by his stage name A-Trak—has been quietly building out a bespoke events consultancy called Pyrite Events. A-Trak—who is credited with discovering popular hip-hop artists including Travis Scott, A$AP Mob, Migos and Post Malone, among others—is offering Pyrite as a one-stop shop for ideation, execution and promotion of branded events. Macklovitch tells Ad Age that the consultancy formed organically following his Fool’s Gold Day Off concert series that started in 2010 and raves at Miami Music Week and South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, which attracted branded partnerships with clients like Adidas, Converse and Four Loko. Adidas recently sponsored an annual Goldie Awards, a battle of D.J.s and producers that is also put on by Fool’s Gold, which Macklovitch says then resulted in the athletic apparel brand hiring him and his five-person team to produce for it a separate activation in Brooklyn.
“It’s been interesting growing Fool’s Gold’s portfolio and operations over the years,” Macklovitch says. “When I look back on things, we were basically doing agency work in a lot of our sponsorships and events work. … We realized this was something our team knew how to do, so we turned that into a real, scalable business with an agenda and a mission that says 'Let’s turn Pyrite into a bona-fide events company.'”
The flood of new companies doesn’t stop there
Think the advertising space is crowded enough? Think again. Publicly-traded Legacy Acquisition Corp. says it plans to acquire Chinese marketing services holding company Blue Focus Intelligent Communications Group. The deal will create Blue Impact, a new advertising holding company that consists of Canada’s Vision 7 (which also owns San Francisco’s Eleven); U.K.’s We Are Social; San Francisco-based Fuseproject; Hong Kong-headquartered Metta; and Shanghai’s Madhouse, according to a statement from the companies. Following the closing, (the proposed transaction is valued at some $516 million) Legacy will change its name to Blue Impact, be headquartered in Mountain View, Calif., and continue trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
Clios to honor David Droga with Lifetime Achievement Award
Droga5 Founder and Creative Chairman David Droga, the most-decorated executive at the Cannes Lions, and who grew his shop from a two-person operation in his home to a dominant global player that was recently acquired by Accenture Interactive, will be the recipient of the 2019 Clio Lifetime Achievement Award at the 60th annual Clio Awards ceremony. (Check out the insightful keynote he delivered at Ad Age’s 10th annual Small Agency Conference in New Orleans.)
Droga will receive the top honor at the Manhattan Center in New York on Sept. 25. Droga’s many accolades include becoming the youngest recipient of the Lion of St. Mark, as well as an inductee of the Asian Media and Marketing Hall of Fame, the New York Art Directors Club Hall of Fame, the Australian Writers and Art Directors Hall of Fame and the American Advertising Federation Hall of Achievement. “From Sydney to Singapore and London to New York, David Droga has earned a reputation as one of our industry’s most iconic and consistent creative leaders,” Clio President Nicole Purcell says. “From the Marc Ecko Air Force One stunt to ‘Decode Jay-Z’ and Newcastle Brown Ale to MailChimp, David helped us redefine and reimagine what advertising could be.”
Droga adds, “Any recognition of a proud creative voice is a celebration for all of us who care about the future of this amazing industry. I can think of many talented, creative individuals who deserve this accolade.”
What role does an experiential agency have in keeping events safe?
For Momentum Worldwide, a significant one.
In the wake of the two recent mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio that left 31 people dead, the Interpublic Group of Cos.’ experiential agency is going the extra mile to ensure attendees and employees are safe at the 4,000-plus global experiences it produces for its clients annually. By deploying a new global platform called Everbridge Critical Event Management, Momentum aims to keep a closer watch over its events, and better prepare those on the ground for an emergency situation should it arise.
Among the new safety protocols and programs under the platform, Momentum will provide training to its employees on how to react to active shooters, severe weather, IT outages and cyber-attacks. An intelligence system will allow executives from any of the agency’s global offices to assess situations at events and alert employees and clients to potential threats. The “Momentum Production Safety Plan” outlines emergency meeting spots and site layouts to ensure people can get out of an event as quickly as possible if need be. “We know that the best experiences come from being able to feel uninhibited and in the moment,” says Donnalyn Smith, Momentum Worldwide president of North America. “You can’t feel uninhibited if you don’t feel safe.”
Hitting the jackpot
WPP’s Wunderman Thompson Atlanta and Spurrier Group, a marketing partner that focuses on measurable ROI, have emerged as the big winners in a review for the North Carolina Education Lottery. As agencies-of-record for a three-year contract, Wunderman Thompson will lead creative, advertising and marketing communications while Richmond-based Spurrier will handle media planning and buying. The agencies expect to debut their first work in September. “As with all sales organizations, advertising plays a crucial role in success,” says Mark Michalko, executive director of the Education Lottery. “The lottery believes it has found a partnership with Wunderman Thompson and the Spurrier Group that will ensure our ability to continue growing support for education in North Carolina.” (Through the sale of lottery tickets, the North Carolina Education Lottery raises revenue to maximize contributions to the state's educational facilities.)
And the hires …
Wunderman Thompson brings on Jeff Dack as CEO of its Canada division, leading the network’s offices in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. He joins on September 3 following the end of his tenure as CEO of Dentsu Aegis Network’s Carat Canada. Dack has experience both agency-side and client-side (he led marketing communications for Jamieson Laboratories, a Canadian manufacturer of dietary supplements, for example, while making stops at various other agencies like TBWA\Chiat\Day and Lowe Roche, part of MullenLowe). Wunderman Thompson North America CEO Shane Atchison praises that “mix” of experience, saying he “brings a fresh perspective that will help us unite creative, data and technology for our clients.”
WPP’s Mediacom promoted Adam Potashnick to U.S. chief operating officer from chief growth officer. In his previous role, he is credited with leading several new-business pitches including Uber, Bose, Adidas, Reebok, Hilton, Indeed, Walgreens, eBay and Sony PlayStation, among others. He first joined Mediacom in 2006 and has also served as VP and global media director for Dell and managing partner, group account director for Anheuser-Busch during his time at the agency.
Organic, a digital agency within Omnicom Precision Marketing Group, appointed Isabel Kantor to senior VP of technology, effective September 1. She hails from Interpublic's R/GA, where she was executive technology director. “Isabel’s diverse skillset and her view that creative and technology should operate as one team in the service of experiences make her the perfect addition for Organic,” says newly-appointed CEO Cathy Butler. “This is an exciting step in rebuilding our leadership team.”
David&Goliath named Laura Forman as chief strategy officer. Reporting to Founder and Chairman David Angelo, Forman will lead the agency's strategy practice across all clients. She joins from TBWA\Chiat\Day New York, where she was the North American strategy lead on Nissan.
FCB Canada named Bryan Kane president. He joins from Publicis, where he spent his entire career, most recently as president of its Toronto office. At Publicis, Kane also built the agency's digital offering in Canada as managing director.
Marc USA tapped Amy Nixon for a newly-created position of senior VP, group strategy and account director. She joined the agency in 2012 and has been leading accounts in its Chicago office, which she will continue to do.
SS&K hired Stevie Archer as executive creative director. Archer previously won, ran and grew the Starbucks account at Big Spaceship and has experience at MullenLowe and McKinney as well.
Mustache, a creative agency within Cognizant Interactive, hired Roger Ramirez as head of account management. His career spans The Barbarian Group, BBDO and Y&R (before it became VMLY&R). Most recently he was VP of account strategy, overseeing PepsiCo, at VaynerMedia.
S4 Capital’s MightyHive named Simon Harris head of sales for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. MightyHive says the appointment follows significant growth in the region with new business from Renault and Pandora Jewelry, among other brands in food and beverage and beauty and apparel. Previously, Harris was the head of programmatic activation for the Dentsu Aegis Network in London.
Poolhouse added Brian Athey as creative director; Jacqueline Wazir as brand manager; Tristan Francis as a graphic designer; Derrick Baber as a copywriter; and Laura Parisi as brand coordinator. The appointments come as Poolhouse—which counts Pfizer and Anheuser-Busch as clients while also serving conservative politicians such as Marco Rubio and Mitt Romney—is opening its third office, in Houston, to complement its Atlanta hub and Richmond headquarters.