Monstrous things are happening at BSSP
Your agency may have a coffee bar and a pool table. But does it have its own monster museum?
BSSP does, thanks to its co-founder John Butler, who started collecting monster memorabilia at the age of 9. “I've always loved make-up and special effects,” he says. There's also a design and nostalgia element to the stuff for me. I love the look of many of the posters and the designs of the characters—the type, the illustrations, the beautiful black-and-white of the classic Universal monsters films. It's all so well-designed, and there is a retro vibe to much of it.”
The collection, which has its own Instagram account, is now proudly housed in the shop's Sausalito, California offices, which, to hear BSSP copywriter Forrest Quinn tell it, revels in weirdness. “I’ve always felt there was a kind of unconventional culture about BSSP. In our office entrance, there’s a wall that reads ‘The things that made you weird as a kid will make you great today’—I think that says it well. We’re all a bit eccentric in a way, but those quirks make us who we are.”
But who are they really? BSSP staffers can unleash their inner ghouls this Halloween thanks to an Instagram filter the shop has devised that turns them into ghosts, skeletons and werewolves.
Very creative. But hey, BSSP, we'll really be impressed when you come up with way to help us “hand” out candy to trick-or-treaters from six feet away.
Your brand sucks. You're welcome
A lot of shops pitching new accounts go out of their way to flatter prospective brands, but Humanaut wants to insult them. In fact, it's asking brands to pay for that.
Chattanooga, Tennessee-based Humanaut has lined up comics sidelined by the pandemic to undertake roasts of brands, according to Founder and Chief Creative Officer David Littlejohn, who says, “The comedy roast once reserved for celebrities is now available for your brand.”
The agency's logic is that brands can benefit from “brutally honest consumer insights” delivered by New York City standups who can use the work. For a cool $15,000 Humanaut will create a sizzle reel from these jokesters for a client, which can then “turn the comedian's sick burns and insults into actionable marketing insights.”
“These days, it doesn’t seem there’s very much we can all laugh about,” says Littlejohn in the video below. “Maybe your brand is something we can all laugh about.”
There are 10 slots open for roastees, beginning October 14, but don't expect to watch them on Comedy Central: they are sent privately to clients. However, the shop says it will encourage brands to let it post an approved cut of the zingers.
“In a world full of BS, honesty is a powerful way for a brand to break through,” Littlejohn says. “Not many brands have the stomach to go there, but the ones that do almost always win.”
And speaking of stomachs ...
Krystal, the Atlanta-based fast-food chain best known for its square burger, has teamed up with Dagger to bring it some more cultural cred. As Angela Johnson, the chain's VP of marketing put it, Dagger will “lead our creative efforts in modernizing the brand voice and messaging as we grow brand equity in a way that honors Krystal’s iconic heritage and unique appeal.” Dagger CEO Mike Popowski says the plan is to “steer Krystal toward a modern media mentality, and generate disruptive ways to bring this storied brand back to the fore.”
Its first effort in this regard is a series of ads featuring another Atlanta institution, celebrity rapper Fabo, promoting its Country Fried Steak Krystal Meal Deal. In one of the spots, Fabo appears as a flying saucer. For the uninitiated, the first spot is “a nod to Fabo’s hit single 'Spaceships on Bankhead,' and a not-so-subtle Easter egg for his fans,” the agency says.
The spots will run locally in southeastern markets, targeting key audiences in Atlanta, Jacksonville, Nashville, Knoxville, and Chattanooga—which, incidentally, is the home market of Humanaut.
Hey, Krystal, y'all up for a roast?
JL takes Tuscany
The folks at Johannes Leonardo are toiling away for a new client, the boutique hotel Monteverdi in sunny Tuscan, Italy. The hotel is preparing to accept guests in July, after closing during COVID, and has engaged the shop to work on a campaign for its reopening.
According to JL, this is more than a hotel, it's a luxury experience. “It serves as the catalyst for authentic experiences by giving guests the option to immerse themselves in fine dining, music, art, architecture, design and a world-class spa and regenerative clinic,” says the agency.
JL notes its research found that “the people who would benefit the most from the experience at Monteverdi have an insatiable intellectual curiosity and desire for soaking up sources of inspiration.” Right now, though we'd settle for being able to soak up some sun and actually travel again.
Breaking the ice
Meanwhile, some 3,000 miles away, Havas Media Group has won Promote Iceland with the goal of “accelerating awareness” of the “Scandinavian island that was one of the first to open its borders after COVID-10 lockdown.”
“We look forward to driving meaningful engagement with the Icelandic culture and all it has to offer through a strategic global approach,” said Colin Kinsella, CEO, Havas Media North America. “As borders reopen and travelers start planning trips again, Iceland offers an inspirational, sustainable destination filled with unique adventure and possibility.”
WPP exec goes to court
Michael Stich, WPP’s global client leader for Dell and chief business officer at VMLY&R, is joining “digital transformation agency” CourtAvenue next month as CEO and general partner. There, he’ll rejoin Kenny Tomlin, who previously founded digital agency Rockfish, where Stich was CEO when it was acquired by WPP in 2011.
Tomlin co-founded CourtAvenue earlier this year with Dan Khabie, and the plan is to work outside the conventional agency model by focusing on personalized commerce and machine learning. For the latter, it will use an “unsupervised” approach that goes beyond pre-programmed data sets to find the most relevant data to solve problems.
This quarter, CourtAvenue has added Taylor Guitars, Epson, Barkley and Kia to its client roster, the agency says. Stich says the events of 2020 “challenged me both personally and professionally,” leading him to pursue “my core passions of digital revolution and entrepreneurship.”
Working from home is wearing us out
Burnout is real. Just ask the AICP, whose Post Council says it has created a set of “common sense guidelines for working remotely and is recommending to its members—particularly post production companies—that they be referenced in the notes section of all upcoming bids.”
The guidelines address the “importance of recognizing normal operating hours,” as well as “the premium costs associated with after-hours work,” and the need to have an “agreed-upon communication process,” and “respecting the roles of all involved to ensure a smooth experience.”
The group says that among the issues discussed in the recommendations are the need for breaks and child care and reasonable expectations for responses to after-hours emails or texts. Also addressed: the necessity of adequate lead time for Zoom calls.
“Our motivation was to bring back a sense of normalcy in our day-to-day lives,” says Yvette Cobarrubias, managing partner and executive producer at Cosmo Street, who serves on the council. “Due to varying lifestyles, we saw many of our clients and internal teams operating around the clock. To save everyone from burnout, we came up with guidelines to unify our WFH experience.”
She adds: “We all need time to stop and eat a sandwich, help our kids, or just not look at a screen. The language is there for companies to include on their bids, and also to spark conversations with clients about the importance of boundaries when working remotely.”
Rana Verse has been tapped by SoulCycle as cultural communications agency of record.
BCW (Burson Cohn & Wolfe) has named Lauren Glazer as chief brand officer, charged with handling marketing and communications globally in an effort to build the agency's brand beyond its usual audiences. “I am excited to bring my experience partnering with CEOs, chief marketing officers and chief communications officers at some of the world’s most iconic brands to BCW to help build on its strong foundation and further establish it as the essential strategic partner for helping clients move people to solve any business or communications challenge,” says Glazer.
Deloitte Digital's Heat has been named agency of record for brand strategy and global creative for Energizer Holdings' auto care business. Among the brands in the portfolio are Armor All, Nu Finish, STP and A/C Pro.
Contributing: Jack Neff