How shops are getting out the vote: Agency Brief
The contentious U.S. presidential election is almost upon us and, despite record numbers of voters having cast their ballots early this year, many people will still be heading to the polls on Nov. 3. A number of agencies are granting employees paid time off to exercise that right, as well as giving them a chance to volunteer as poll workers if they so desire. Such agencies include holding company Omnicom Group, Wunderman Thompson, VaynerMedia, Jones Knowles Ritchie, Canvas Worldwide, Allen & Gerritsen, Edelman, Elephant, Portal A, Giant Spoon, GSD&M and Superfly.
"In hindsight, I can’t believe we haven’t given our employees election day off before,” Elephant CEO Eric Moore comments. “Whether our people vote early, by mail, or on election day itself, we felt a deep responsibility to clear any possible barrier to exercising their right to vote this year."
Agency efforts to get out the vote
And shops aren’t stopping at just ensuring their own employees head to the polls. Several have come up with unique ways to bolster voter turnout across the country.
Vancouver, Washington-based boutique Aha created a quirky character who is meeting young people where they spend most of their time (social media) and encouraging them to vote. “The Ballot Bunch”—an adorable ballot box cartoon that could easily have fit into a “Schoolhouse Rock!” segment but, since it is 2020, has its own Twitter and Instagram accounts—is pushing content and sliding into trending conversations to share critical information for casting ballots, sharing voting stories (some ridiculous) and urging youngsters to get out the vote. “The Ballot Bunch” has been pushing content for the past five weeks and is ramping up its posts as the election draws near.
Sterling-Rice Group created an integrated marketing campaign—“Opinions Are Fun. Facts Are Better”—for the Colorado Secretary of State to ensure the state’s voters understand the difference between misinformation, disinformation and inaccurate information ahead of the election. The effort, which includes a series of social media PSAs, positions the office as the most trusted source for accurate election information, and directs voters to a dedicated webpage urging them to ignore “the noise” of foreign disinformation and instead listen to the “facts protecting our Democracy.” The ads incorporate Colorado’s state animals, such as the Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, who says that, in his opinion, climbing the 14,259 ft. Longs Peak is “easy.” The copy underneath clarifies: “Opinions are fun. Facts are better.”
It may very well be approaching that time where it is too late to cast your mail-in ballot, but nonetheless, below is a humorous infomercial-style PSA, “Gone2Shit,” from MullenLowe U.S. and sibling media shop Mediahub that provides critical information on how to do just that. The spot, plus a series of shorter iterations, features fictional toilet paper, sold to you by entrepreneurial character Hank Urchiff, made from the “thousands” of mail-in ballots that are rejected every election for a variety of reasons (forgot to sign it?). Urchiff does, in the end, admit the infomercial is a farce and directs viewers to a microsite, Gone2Shit.org, where state-by-state information is provided on mail-in deadlines, dates and rules for casting ballots. The campaign is running across social media and certain online outlets.
Interpublic Group of Cos.’ Deutsch announced this week via Adweek that it would be splitting its New York and Los Angeles offices into separate entities. The move is not entirely surprising, as three people close to the business say this has been discussed for years as the offices have always been very competitive. What is surprising is that both agencies, now independent of each other, will continue operating as Deutsch: Deutsch New York and Deutsch L.A. (Perhaps the shops, ever at odds, couldn’t agree on who gets to keep the name.) One former executive tells Ad Age that the competitiveness between the offices is a result of them being true equals.
“Usually one office [within an agency] dominates,” the person explains, “like BBDO New York. It has other smaller offices but it’s much stronger than those.” That was not the case for Deustch New York and Deutsch L.A.
MDC Partners was the latest holding company to post steep third-quarter revenue declines this week due to pandemic adversities. The holding company of agencies, including 72andSunny, Doner, Anomaly and Crispin Porter Bogusky posted a revenue decrease of 17.3% to $342.9 million and an organic sales slip of 16.4% for the third quarter. The company declined to provide outlook for the full year “given the uncertainties in the global business environment arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.” MDC’s third-quarter earnings report followed those of Omnicom and WPP.
Omnicom Group reported an 11.5% decline in third-quarter worldwide revenue on Tuesday. And WPP, while showing signs of improvement as sales declines began to lessen, posted a 9.8% slip in third-quarter revenue on Thursday.
With COVID beginning to spike again, some people may be avoiding going to a clinic to get their annual flu shot. Klick Health, a Toronto-based independent health marketing agency, has always provided in-office flu shots for its employees. Given that the agency remains remote due to the pandemic, Klick decided to take its flue-shot clinic on the road, ensuring that at least its people are being properly vaccinated.
In a van carrying nurses, emblazoned with the words “Keeping Klicksters and their families healthy and happy,” the agency, working with local clinics, is administering the flu shot at employees’ homes. Klick cites the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for why people should prioritize getting the flu shot this year especially: “to help reduce the strain on healthcare systems responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“The safety and wellbeing of our team is paramount,” Klick Health Chief People Officer Glenn Zujew says. “That’s why we’re taking our normal in-office flu shot clinic on the road and are literally rolling it out to hundreds of Klicksters’ homes.”
Production + Napier
As production continues to face roadblocks due to COVID restrictions, Partners + Napier went around the hurdles by opening its own production studio. Called Gammut Productions, the agency says the dedicated space occupies more than 3,000 feet on the concourse of the agency’s headquarters in Rochester, New York. Partners + Napier says production was already rapidly evolving before COVID, when the industry started to see a rise in in-house production studios and a heightened demand for “efficient, ‘snackable’ and commerce-ready content.” The agency says COVID only “further accelerated this shifting production landscape.” Partners + Napier Chief Creative Officer Rob Kottkamp says having its own studio allows the agency to better control production costs and “offer à la carte services to organizations with smaller budgets.”
“We really wanted to create a space where our partnerships can thrive, unimpeded by what’s going on in the outside world,” Kottkamp says.
Gammut Productions is complete with video and photo space, four editorial suites, a sound and voiceover recording suite, an animation suite, a color-grading suite and turnkey lighting for product photography, according to Partners + Napier. The studio will have a flattened structure that staffs “hybrid” talent across various content disciplines and will be overseen by Matt Spaull, who has been promoted to director of the operation. He reports to Kottkamp.
Other from another Mother
Ad Age’s Alexandra Jardine reports that another new U.K. creative agency has opened its doors this week, despite the ongoing coronavirus upheaval. Mother London has spawned Other, which is starting up with three brand new clients: direct-to-consumer flower brand Bloom & Wild; Jaguar Land Rover’s car rental service The Out; and Grundig home appliances.
Jardine writes, Other is led by a team of four co-founders, three of whom are new to Mother. Business leader Paulo Salomao was previously head of client services at Wieden+Kennedy London, while strategy leader Sarah Oberman was previously strategy director at Grey London and worked for TBWA/London as well as Colenso BBDO in her native New Zealand. Lead maker Metz Bryan-Fasano was formerly operations director at VMLY&R and has also worked at BBC Creative. They join creative leader Kyle Harman-Turner, who has worked as a creative director at Mother for seven years on campaigns like MoneySupermarket’s “Epic Strut.”
According to Salomao, Other is looking to work with the kinds of clients that have an “energy and restlessness” about them. “They don’t have to be the finished article, but they have to have an opinion about themselves from the word go,” Salomao tells Jardine.
Other will be based at Mother’s building in Shoreditch, although for now, all four co-founders are working from home, Jardine writes. The team worked in an office together only for a couple of weeks, and pitched virtually for clients such as Bloom & Wild. “We’ve been looking at it as an opportunity rather than a hindrance,” Oberman tells Jardine. “The great thing of being born now, in a pandemic, is that we can challenge things completely and ask, what is normal?”
R/GA promoted David Corns to senior VP and managing director of California, and Julie Andrews to VP, executive production director of California. Corns and Andrews previously oversaw the agency’s San Francisco office as managing director and executive production director, respectively, but the new roles give them additional oversight of the Los Angeles hub. R/GA San Francisco and R/GA L.A. will now be unified as R/GA California.
Doner added hearing solutions provider Miracle-Ear to its roster of clients. The agency will manage strategy and creative for the company out of its Detroit headquarters. Miracle-Ear, founded in 1948 and owned by Italian hearing care retailer Amplifon, adds to Doner’s growing list of clients in the health and wellness space, such as Johnson & Johnson, Pepcid and Innovage.
Venables Bell + Partners promoted 16-year agency veteran Kate Jeffers to president. Jeffers, who most recently served as chief operating officer for the San Francisco-based independent agency, has also been a partner since 2015. As president, she continues to focus on agency growth while leading business development and client partnerships.
Mother New York hired Katie Longmyer as managing director and partner. Hailing from WeWork, where she was chief of staff to Co-Founder Miguel McKelvey, Longmyer completes Mother New York’s senior leadership triumvirate that also includes Chief Creative Officer and Partner Corinna Falusi, and Head of Strategy James Fraser. She begins November 9.
Slingshot, a Dallas-based full-service agency, scored a win close to home. The shop has picked up agency-of-record duties for VisitDallas following a review. Slingshot will handle brand strategy, creative and paid media planning and buying for the organization to boost tourism in its home city.