OKRP celebrates the sounds of Chicago's South Side for Black History Month: Agency Brief
With the kickoff to Black History Month this week, agencies are beginning to promote their various diversity initiatives and celebrations. (Of course, the best initiative is to simply hire a diverse staff and ensure they have the means to succeed and grow within the company.)
O'Keefe Reinhard & Paul is celebrating Black History Month by showcasing Chicago’s wide-ranging and lesser-known Black music history. Throughout February, in conjunction with 2020 being named the Year of Chicago Music, the Chicago-based agency will be promoting all the songs and sounds that originated in the city's South Side between 1955 and 1990.
The initiative includes a four-week, four-part multimedia library of video essays, interviews, playlists, artifacts and more. In partnership with Vince Lawrence, producer and pioneer of house music, OKRP launched #312Soul, which explores all of the music and culture beyond the well-documented Chicago Blues scene. (Fun fact: OKRP's office in Chicago is located on Frankie Knuckles Way, named after another early house music innovator, Francis Warren Nicholls, Jr.)
“Chicago music has been at the forefront of music culture for the last 50 years,” Lawrence says. “Almost every relevant culture shift in black music has stemmed from Chicago as of late, changing the face of music as we know it. Chicago has given birth to some of the greatest artists of all time who have in turn had profound influence on other artists around the world. Just consider the impact of Chicago’s Curtis Mayfield, Etta James, Kanye West, Chaka Khan, Chance the Rapper, Earth Wind & Fire, Lupe Fiasco, Ramsey Lewis and the list goes on."
#312Soul takes a deep dive into the gospel music of the late 1950s and early '60s; the political and purpose-driven songs of soul artist Curtis Mayfield; the “Horn Sound of Chicago”; and the birth of house music, among other topics. Among the first video sessions conducted by Lawrence is a conversation with Grammy Hall of Famer Gene Chandler, who explains how he created the 1962 number-one hit “Duke of Earl” (which became his nickname) during a warm-up exercise with his band. There is also a feature on the women who drove Chicago music, the “Soulstress Spotlight,” like The Opals and Chaka Khan. The content, which includes playlists, will be deployed on a weekly basis throughout the month, by era, with week one being dedicated to the 1955-1966 decade.
A taste of Iceland
Icelandic Provisions answers all your burning questions about the Nordic island alternative to yogurt: Skyr. It’s like yogurt but thicker. It’s pronounced like “skeer.” What else? Oh yeah, it’s nutritious and you should buy it. That’s the gist of this humorous campaign from agency Circus Maximus for Icelandic Provisions, a Skyr brand. The agency and company leaned on only Icelandic partners to create the campaign, with the exception of New York-based Circus Maximus itself. The campaign employed Sagafilm Productions, a Kópavogur-based company that’s worked on films like Interstellar and Star Trek: Into the Darkness, and Director Hawk Bjorgvinsson. The series of videos (a 30-second one included below) was filmed over five months in the Icelandic coastal village of Vík. The characters, Jón & Guðmundur, are played by Reykjavík improv actors Jörundur Ragnarsson and Bragi Árnason. The team says it braved 20-degree weather and 50 mph winds, with just over three hours of natural daylight per day, to film eight separate spots. The campaign, which kicked off in Washington, D.C. this month, includes geo-targeted social and digital content, as well as out-of-home components like transit takeovers.
“It’s safe to say that this was one of the most rewarding, yet challenging, campaigns that our team has been able to work on,” Circus Maximus Founder Ryan Kutscher says.
Ad Age Agency Report 2020: Call for entries
The upcoming Ad Age Agency Report 2020 will include the industry’s definitive ranking of agencies, agency networks and agency companies. Make sure your agency is included by completing Ad Age Datacenter’s questionnaire. Download the questionnaire at AdAge.com/arq. Questionnaires are due now. Ad Age Agency Report 2020 will appear online and in print on May 4. Questions? Email [email protected].
Barkley joins Dawn collective
Barkley has joined Dawn, the collective of independent agencies that former MDC Partners Global Chief Marketing Officer Bob Kantor formed last year. Dawn says the integrated 400-person creative shop has been collaborating with the network and its agency partners on several clients and new business opportunities, leaning on its data science and analytics capabilities. Barkley’s clients include Planet Fitness, Dairy Queen, Terminix and ShopRite. The agency is based in Kansas City (that’s in Missouri, for any U.S. leaders unaware) and has additional offices in New York, Pittsburgh and Boulder, Colorado. Barkley’s New York team will move into Dawn’s Manhattan office under the partnership. Other agencies within the Dawn network include Pereira O’Dell, Crossmedia and Main Street One.
“As our business continues to grow, we are going to keep adding more capabilities in data services and performance analytics,” Barkley President Dan Fromm says. “The team at Dawn provides great synergy in this area.”
New York agency picks up some 'good bacteria'
Terri & Sandy has won the agency of record title for Royal DSM subsidiary i-Health’s probiotic brand Culturelle, taking those duties from incumbent Grok. The appointment follows a review and an out-of-home campaign Terri & Sandy created for the brand in New York that included a food truck selling the probiotics and posters emblazoned with quips like “Pick up some good bacteria in New York for a change.” The independent New York-based agency will debut its first integrated campaign for Culturelle in Spring 2020. The work will incorporate Jessica Alba, Culturelle’s recently signed celebrity spokesperson. Media duties were not up for review and will continue to be handled by Crossmedia.
"We instantly connected with the Culturelle clients because they are committed to creating disruptive work in the healthcare space,” says Terri Meyer, founder and co-CEO of Terri & Sandy. “They also expressed a desire to forge a long-term partnership built on mutual success and respect. Music to our ears."
Some more wins of the week
Smashburger named Partners & Napier as its creative and media agency of record, following both a review and some project work the agency did for the brand, Ad Age’s Jessica Wohl reports. The review was led by Scott Johnson, VP and head of marketing at Smashburger, who joined the fast-casual burger chain in August. A January campaign from the agency, which hyped Smashburger’s new fried chicken sandwich as #Comfort4All and included a buy one, get one offer, boosted sales. A new Smashburger brand campaign is set to launch in March.
Joan was named agency of record for Virgin Hotels as it expands its chain of “lifestyle” properties in the U.S. Miami-based Virgin Hotels, launched in 2010, has locations in Chicago, San Francisco and Dallas, with plans to open more in Nashville, New York and New Orleans sometime in the “near” future, according to the company. New York-based independent shop Joan was tasked with leading Virgin Hotels’ strategy as well as video production, audio, design, experiential and digital creative for the brand and local locations. The appointment followed a multi-agency review. The companies expect to debut new work together in the second quarter of 2020.
Hood River Distillers, a maker and marketer of spirits in the Northwest, appointed Portland, Oregon-based shop North as its lead brand agency. North will be responsible for brand positioning, creative and communications strategy for the Hood River, Oregon-based company brands Batanga Tequila, Easy Rider Bourbon Whiskey, along with a new vodka brand that is expected to launch later this year. Hood River Distillers, founded in 1934, says music will play a big role in its upcoming marketing.
Furniture retailer Havertys hired EP+Co and sister shop Trilia as its creative and media agencies of record, respectively, following a review run by Hasan + Shumaker Consulting. The two agencies will handle media, creative and digital planning efforts under the partnership. EP+Co says specifically that it will be tasked with developing an integrated marketing strategy and helping evolve its current brand positioning. “Every step of the way, EP+Co showed a genuine enthusiasm for this opportunity and for our business,” says Helen Bautista, VP of marketing at Havertys. “We were in awe of the amount of research, planning and work they did in such a short time—but, more importantly, how they strategically tied it all together to consider the furniture shopping journey in its entirety. We weren’t just looking for an ad agency but for a true partner, and that’s what we’ve found.”
Independent shop GYK Antler was named lead agency for Wahlburgers, the Boston-based chain of casual dining burger joints and bars owned by chef Paul Wahlberg and his brothers, actors Donnie and Mark Wahlberg. The agency says its first campaign will feature a fresh brand platform to support the chain as it looks to expand domestically and internationally. Work is expected to debut this month. Wahlburgers has more than 34 restaurants in North America, the U.K. and Europe, and recently ended a 10-year run as the subject of an A+E reality TV show.
The hires, moves and promotions
Kaylin Goldstein joined Publicis Groupe’s Leo Burnett Chicago as executive VP, strategy director. She is tasked with leading strategy for MillerCoors. Goldstein previously spent more than 12 years at MDC’s Crispin Porter + Bogusky, where she helped create campaigns like American Express’ “Small Business Saturday” and Kraft Mac & Cheese’s “World’s Largest Blind Taste Test.”
Syzygy Group in London’s Phil Stelter has been promoted to CEO of North America, a new position, from global chief media officer. The move comes as the agency, founded in 1995, looks to further expand its operations in North America in 2020. Stelter, who joined Syzygy in 2010 as client services director, will relocate to New York from London to head up the new position. He will report to Syzygy CEO Lars Lehne.
Following the win of Kimberly-Clark adult care brand Plenitud, FCB Brasil appointed Pablo Manzotti as creative director, Bibiana Saldanha as content editor and Fabio Freitas as chief growth officer. Manzotti returns to FCB Brasil, where he worked in 2013, after a creative stint at FCB Lisboa in Portugal. Saldanha joins from the Avon hub, Mutato, where she was content director. Freitas has been serving as media VP at FCB Brasil since 2016.
Jay Dettling became CEO of independent global marketing agency Ansira on Monday. Laurie MacLaren, who previously served as CEO in addition to chief financial and chief operating officer will keep her other two titles. Dettling was VP of global partners at Adobe, one of Ansira’s partners. Prior to that, he was a managing director for Accenture Interactive.
Peter Vandre was appointed as Dentsu Aegis Network’s Carat’s first chief analytics officer. Vandre was serving as the senior VP, global data science leader at Merkle, the data-marketing operation that Dentsu acquired in 2016. In the new role, he will work to align the capabilities of the Carat and Merkle brands to create one data-driven, tech-powered solution for clients. In addition to his Carat remit, Vandre will oversee the entire analytics offering across all of Dentsu’s media agencies.
MDC’s Forsman & Bodenfors hired Elias Kakomanolis to lead creative operations in its New York office. He will work with F&B’s creative, production, project management, account service and finance teams to foster further collaboration across the agency. Kakomanolis was the chief operating officer of Publicis’ Power of One agency team for client USAA.
Co:collective hired three new strategy leads: Athena Diaconis, who will specialize in experience design; Jessica Lehmann Ash, who will focus on brand and experience strategy; and Marilyn Markman, who will be responsible for brand and business strategy. The agency’s Aude Broos was also recently promoted to strategy lead. Diaconis most recently was running her own studio, collaborating with brands like Spotify, Foursquare and Google. Lehmann Ash joins from Fitch and Markman hails from Wolff Olins.
Marisa Giannini joined Laughlin Constable as director of paid search and social. Before coming aboard, Giannini was on the media team at Cramer-Krasselt and has worked with brands like Estee Lauder, Edward Jones, Craftsman/Kenmore and Procter & Gamble, among others. At Laughlin Constable, she will identify new opportunities within search and social to improve client’s overall performance and ROI.