In this new ad from McCann New York for Microsoft, sure to warm even the coldest of hearts (I can personally attest to that), the power of technology, with just a little holiday enchantment, goes a long way for one curious 6-year-old girl. After watching her mom communicate with Japanese executives using her Surface device and Microsoft Translator, Lucy comes up with an ingenious plan. Borrowing the Surface, and using Translator, Lucy is able to communicate with a pair of reindeer moseying outside the cabin where she is staying with her parents. Magically, it works! And these two reindeer have a lot of questions to answer about Santa and the North Pole. At the end of the ad, which first launched during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, it’s revealed that while Microsoft Translator can help people communicate in more than 60 languages, reindeer is unfortunately not one of them … “yet.”
Let us know when it is, Microsoft.
Isobar cooks up Latin America expansion with buy of Chef
Dentsu Aegis Network acquires Chef, a digital and consumer experience agency based in Medellín, Colombia, with an office in Bogotá. Chef, founded in 2010, will be placed under Dentsu’s Isobar network, scaling its footprint across Latin America. The agency will be rebranded as Chef, an Isobar Company, and its approximately 151 employees will join Isobar’s 6,500 team dispersed across 85 locations in 45 markets in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Africa and Asia-Pacific. Chef, an Isobar Company will continue serving its local and global clients including Bancolombia, Avianca, MasterCard, Crystal and Localiza. “This acquisition reinforces our commitment to expand our presence across the Latin America region while taking advantage of the great momentum that the Colombian market is experiencing,” says Julio Castellanos, Dentsu Aegis Network’s chief executive of Latin America.
Sale of Kantar is complete
WPP completed its sale of 60 percent of Kantar—its global data, research, consulting and analytics hub—to Bain Capital Private Equity. The holding company maintains a 40 percent stake, as previously reported. Following final completion of the transition in the first half of 2020, WPP expects its total aggregate net proceeds after transaction costs and taxes to be $3.1 billion. “The completion of the Kantar transaction, earlier than expected, achieves the objective we set out in December 2018 to strengthen our balance sheet, and substantially completes our disposal programme,” WPP CEO Mark Read says. “The partnership with Bain Capital means that we will participate in the future growth of Kantar as well as allowing our clients to continue to benefit from Kantar’s services.”
Wins of the week
Aspen, Colorado-based distillery Woody Creek picked StrawberryFrog to “ignite a brand movement” following a pitch ran by strategic marketing company Metaforce (which is acting as the brand’s chief marketing officer). StrawberryFrog, the ad and design agency based in New York that has worked with boozy clients like Heineken and Jim Beam, will be tasked with boosting the Woody Creek brand to “national prominence,” according to the companies. Metaforce Managing Partner David Camp says StrawberryFrog stood out in the pitch for its “outstanding insight, creative ability and proven track record of delivering effective movement marketing and advertising.”
Zimmerman Advertising has a solution for all your hairy needs. The shop that was named agency-of-record for hair salon chain Hair Cuttery last year is now being brought onto HairClub, a hair-loss solutions provider, as its marketing partner. The agency will handle communications growth strategy and direct response media planning and buying for the company under the new partnership. The appointment follows a review that involved “multiple agencies,” which sparked earlier this year, according to Zimmerman. Mike Nassar, president and CEO of HairClub, says Zimmerman will be “a powerful partner to support us in our growth and evolution of our brand.”
Canada’s professional rugby team, Toronto Wolfpack expanded its partnership with creative and brand boutique LP/AD by naming it as agency of record for the 2020 season. The decision comes as Toronto Wolfpack readies to debut in England’s tier one Super League next year, and after it just singed on two-time World Cup winner Sonny Bill Williams to the team. LP/AD, which has offices in Toronto and San Francisco, will co-create the team’s messaging, marketing strategy and creative for the 2020 season. LP/AD worked with Toronto Wolfpack in 2019, as well. Its first work for the team as AOR is expected to debut in early 2020. “Professional rugby is still new to North America, so it’s a bit of a blank slate,” Alex Shifrin, president of LP/AD, says. “The League is already entertaining expansion teams in Ottawa and New York for 2021, so the true opportunity here is to shape the brand in a way that will allow the ensuing economies of scale to favour Toronto’s uniquely contrasting position of first to market while very much being seen as the League’s underdogs.”
For those keeping track, that's two British spellings so far in Brief.
Some hires, moves promotions of the week
Grey London confirms that it has parted ways with Adrian Rossi, who has only been serving as creative chairman for less than a year. A spokesperson for Grey London says Javier Campopiano, chief creative officer of Grey Europe, “will act as interim creative leader during the search for a new CCO for Grey London.” It is unclear the nature of Rossi’s departure. Rossi joined Grey London from AMV BBDO, where he spent nearly eight years, most recently as an executive creative director, in January. He’s also spent time at Glue Isobar, BBH London and Saatchi & Saatchi.
Dentsu Aegis Network’s Carat promoted Angela Steele to U.S. CEO from chief strategy officer of the U.S., effective Jan. 1. Steele is credited with being instrumental in evolving the agency’s product portfolio and for integrating the Dentsu people-based marketing platform, M1, across the network. She also is touted for being key in retaining the agency’s Microsoft business and expanding its relationship with Procter & Gamble. As U.S. chief executive, Steele will report to Carat Global CEO Michael Epstein and Doug Rey, chairman of media at Dentsu Aegis Network.
[email protected], McCann Worldgroup’s global creative agency dedicated to the lifestyle space, hired Hans Dorsinville as chief creative officer. He was the chief creative officer of Select World, an independent advertising, branding, content and digital agency. At Select World, Dorsinville led creative for North America and his last project there was a collaboration with "Black-ish" star Tracee Ellis Ross, daughter of Diana Ross, to deliver a digital campaign to launch her natural hair-care brand, Pattern. He also worked on the body positivity “I’m No Angel” campaign for Lane Bryant and is the founder of the Creative Coalition for Diversity—an initiative to increase visibility of diverse creatives.
Havas Chicago hired Facebook exec Nicole Laughlin as president and chief client officer. Laughlin was leading Facebook’s global marketing solutions and previously spent time in the marketing department of the now-defunct Sears Holdings and at Publicis agency Leo Burnett. At Facebook, Laughlin helped build the platform’s retail vertical. At Havas, she will lead the strategic vision of the agency, serve as executive client lead on brands like Citi and Orbitz, and partner with Havas Media Chicago President Lisa Evia to lead Chicago Village, the agency’s collaborative space.
Chicago agency Motion brought on Stefanie Lyons to lead its growing healthcare client roster after it acquired Remedy—a branding and design consultancy focused on health, wellness and social change—in October. (With the acquisition, Motion picks up Remedy clients like Baxter, Abbott and IBM Watson Health.) Lyons’ role will be VP, group creative director and writer, focused on the agency’s healthcare clients. Lyons’ experience includes stints at Leo Burnett, Element 79 and FCB. For the last decade, she’s worked primarily on healthcare campaigns for Advocate Healthcare, American Academy of Dermatology and most recently, Swedish American Hospital.
Steve Emmens becomes managing director of integrated production for Juniper Park\TBWA. He was the head of integrated production for agency Taxi in Toronto, where he worked on Audi, Nike, Volkswagen, Kraft, Beam Suntory and a variety of other brands. Emmens has also spent time at Leo Burnett, Crispin Porter & Bogusky, J. Walter Thompson (now Wunderman Thompson), Cossette and BBDO. Emmens will now lead all creative production efforts for Juniper Park/TBWA, a TBWA Worldwide Toronto agency.
Lifestyle marketing shop Cashmere Agency says it has added Chuka Schneider as group account director to manage client relationships and “utilize his wide network of industry connections” to expand its client roster. Schneider was senior VP and group account director at Deutsch, where he worked with brands like Sprint, Taco Bell, Uber and 7-Eleven. With 20 years of industry experience working with various other brands like Burger King, Coke Zero and Volkswagen, Cashmere says he will lend his expertise in automotive and fast-casual dining to clients BMW and Jack in the Box.
SocialDeviant hired Lisa Szkatulski as senior strategic planner. Szkatulski was the associate director of strategy at Vibes, a Chicago-based mobile marketing platform. At Vibes, she worked with brands such as Chipotle, Home Depot, The Children’s Place, Petsmart and Ulta. She previously did strategic planning for marketers including S.C. Johnson, Kenmore, Sprint and Kellogg at agencies like Leo Burnett, Havas, Y&R (now VMLY&R) and Ogilvy. “As our senior strategic planner, she will focus on identifying compelling insights and narrative containers that will fuel our approach to collaborative creativity,” said SocialDeviant Founder-CEO Marc Landsberg.
Craft, a global self-proclaimed creative content production and adaption agency that is part of McCann Worldgroup, added Kerry Sanders as executive VP-global head of business development. Most recently, he was senior VP-sales and marketing of Xerox Corp. He’s also spent time as the director of Americas Business Development at Hewlett Packard and as VP-marketing of Moscow-based international construction company Stroytransgaz.