Love, loss and litigation: Agency Brief
Happy Valentine’s Day and Happy Birthday to Martin Sorrell. When these two were born—some 1,500 years and 75 years ago, respectively—who would have guessed they’d have such a commercial influence on the world? Martin Sorrell joined Ad Age’s “Ad Lib” podcast just days before his 75th–hear what’s on the advertising mogul’s mind these days. Send candy grams!
Martin Agency to clients: 'stay mine'
The Martin Agency is feeling the love today. In a glowing showing of affection, it’s sending a string of personalized Valentine’s Day cards on Instagram to all its clients. Longtime client Geico, for example, received one that says "15 minutes just isn't enough time with you." To DoorDash, which the Interpublic Group of Cos. shop won in August last year, the agency writes: "You Fill Our Stomachs With Food And Butterflies." It even nodded to the “one that got away,” i.e. TripAdvisor, which The Martin Agency tried and failed to win over in a creative review last year. Instead, TripAdvisor found its match in Mother, naming it global creative agency of record last October. The move resulted in TripAdvisor breaking its relationship off with incumbent The Many.
‘Cause nothin’ lasts forever / Even two shops called Rain
Rain is suing Rain. As Ad Age pointed out in an earlier Agency Brief when it reported on R2C Group rebranding to Rain, a “growth” agency, that name is already taken. And digital shop Rain, which has been going by that moniker since its founding in 2013, is none too pleased. The latter filed a lawsuit in the Southern District Court of New York against R2C, now Rain, this week for trademark infringement. The original Rain says in the suit that it has offices in New York, Seattle and Lehi, Utah and works with clients like Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Nike and Unilever—and “R2C’s infringing acts have already caused confusion and unless enjoined by this court, those acts are likely to create additional confusion among Rain’s clients, prospective clients and generally throughout the advertising industry,” the suit says.
Brian Edelman, founding partner of the original Rain, tells Ad Age that the agency sent a cease and desist when it first became aware of the rebrand, but the shop that once went by R2C did not respond. (Man, that is confusing.)
“We like the name too,” Edelman says. “But unfortunately this is creating a variety of issues. You’re confused. We’re confused. We don’t know why that never raised red flags with them. They’re either trying to leverage something over us or they don’t seem to care about our trademarks.”
The rebranded Rain said in a statement: "We think this lawsuit has no merit. We acquired trademark rights that pre-date Crossborders’ rights before launching our new name. Many companies use ‘Rain’ in the marketing and advertising space. We do not see how our Direct To Consumer marketing services could be confused with a technology company focused on Voice AI."
Hearts will break
This Valentine’s Day, The Hershey Co. decided to call it quits with MDC Partners’ Anomaly in the U.S. The confectionary giant confirmed the breakup to Ad Age's Jessica Wohl, noting that the agency will “remain working with our Canadian brands.” Hershey added that it is still working with creative agencies McGarryBowen and Droga5 in the U.S. McGarryBowen has done some Reese’s work in the past, including its 30-second Super Bowl LIV spot for its lesser-known Take 5 candy bar, which marked Hershey’s debut in the Big Game.
Our house is burning
On the one-year anniversary of Greta Thunberg’s moving speech at the The World Economic Forum—when she described Earth as a burning house, urging global powers to stop the climate crisis before it’s too late—digital agency Hook animated her words into a poignant short. The just under 2:30 video shows the teen climate activist at the podium, delivering her speech, then zeroes in on her thoughts: the burning house, the politicians who ignore the issue, the domino effect of human’s everyday lifestyle that is leading to the destruction of our planet. The short, called “In Case You Haven’t Noticed," is layered by Thunberg’s searing words.
“I don’t want your hope,” Thunberg says. “I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel everyday. I want you to act as if the house is on fire. Because it is.”
The short ends with a message: “This is an emergency. Let’s act like it” and then urges people to visit the accompanying site, incaseyouhaventnoticed.com. The site features facts—like air pollution alone kills 7 million people a year while natural disasters, direct results of climate change, is equivalent to a global loss of $520 billion in annual consumption—and demands action now.
Wins of the week
Independent creative shop Interesting Development picked up two wins in 2020 so far: Babbel and Native. For global language learning app Babbel, Interesting Development will handles brand strategy, website redesign and advertising duties in the U.S., with plans to launch a campaign later this year. The agency also won creative responsibilities for Native, the direct-to-consumer natural deodorant brand.
London’s Quiet Storm has been named lead strategic and creative agency for Westland Horticulture, a provider of gardening products in the U.K., Ireland and Europe, following a review. Those duties were previously handled in-house. Quiet Storm is expected to debut its first work for the company in April that will support its peat-free compost brand, New Horizon.
Oxigen Beverages (better known as Oxigen water) selected The Many as its creative and media agency-of-record. The account was awarded without a review. The partnership kicked off with The Many releasing a strategic creative campaign educating and influencing people to purchase the company’s oxygenated water. The campaign includes digital and out-of-home media in New York. Additional work is expected to be rolled out later this month.
Ste. Michelle Wine Estates appointed Publicis Groupe’s Team One as its lead agency following a review. The agency will handle advertising and social campaigns, as well as media planning and buying for the Seattle, Washington-based wine maker. The decision follows a review that kicked off in the fourth quarter of 2019 and was led by Joanne Davis Consulting in New York.
Scott Credit Union named Denver-based independent shop Cactus as its agency-of-record. The agency says the client was seeking a partner to leverage sports sponsorships for marketing after it secured a sponsorship of the 2019 Stanley Cup winner St. Louis Blues. Cactus is expected to debut its first work for Scott Credit Union in April.
Crossmedia has been appointed media AOR for European Wax Center, a beauty-focused personal care brand and operator of 700 waxing centers in 40 states. The independent New York-based agency will be responsible for communications planning, analytics and cross-channel media planning and buying.
The hires, moves and promotions
Luis Gaitán has been appointed to president and chief creative officer of Grey Mexico. He previously was executive creative director for Latin America at Uber. Gaitán also held a stint at Google before that, as head of creative for Mexico.
Full-service media and marketing services company Engine named Scott Schiller as global chief commercial officer, a newly-created role. He will lead efforts to enhance and simplify media solutions for clients through capabilities like Engine’s programmatic arm, EMX. Schiller previously was executive VP of advertising and client partnerships at NBCUniversal.
Mike Davidson has joined Publicis Groupe’s Leo Burnett Chicago as executive VP, president and head of integrated production. In the role, he will oversee the agency’s production department. Davidson hails from Wieden & Kennedy Portland, where he was head of integrated production. He’s also helped produce music videos for rock bands Portugal. The Man and Real Estate.
Dentsu Aegis Network global lifestyle marketing agency MKTG appointed Victoria Azarian as U.S. chief creative officer. Azarian had previously served as the executive creative director for WPP’s Ogilvy New York for the last 15 years. MKTG’s U.S. chief creative officer role has been vacant since Ben Smith, who last held the position, left in November 2017 to become a strategist at consultancy Original Syndicate.
Deutsch L.A. hired Kelsey Karson as senior VP, group strategy director for its Taco Bell account. Karson joins from R/GA, where she led strategy for brands including Barbie and Amazon. Karson will oversee all of Taco Bell’s efforts including campaigns, the fast food chain’s loyalty program, new product launches and platform work.
Terri & Sandy promoted two people within its account service department: Drew Schwartz and Lauren Rubenstein. The duo were both elevated in the newly created role of group account director. Schwartz and Rubenstein are credited with helping Terri & Sandy triple its revenue throughout their tenures with the agency and land five out of five new business wins in 2019. Both were integrated account directors.
Wisconsin-based Planet Propaganda hired Tommy Cottam as director of business development to accelerate the creative and branding agency’s growth in new business and with existing clients. Planet Propaganda works with clients like Duluth Trading Co., Jersey Mike’s Subs, Ale Asylum, Pancheros Mexican Grill and Big Lots. Cottam was an account director at Mono Minneapolis and before that worked for Publicis out of Milan, Italy.
Agency Brief has been updated to reflect the rebranded Rain's response to the lawsuit the original Rain brought against it this week.