Agency Brief: Leo Burnett Chicago makes employee cuts as industry readies for Advertising Week New York
Shrinking client budgets are continuing to put pressure on creative agencies, and Leo Burnett is the latest to take a hit.
This month, the agency’s Chicago office let go at least four creatives working on its Allstate account, according to one senior person affected by the cuts. That person tells Ad Age the decision was due to the client cutting back on its spending. “Seems like every client is asking for more or the same amount of work for less,” he says.
A Leo Burnett spokesman confirmed the cuts, telling Ad Age that as the agency "continues to transform, we are constantly looking at our staffing and talent mix across a number of teams to ensure we are delivering the best work for our clients. This summer, we did adjust our staff and a small number of people were affected."
Allstate did not return a request for comment. Leo Burnett is behind several notable campaigns for the company including its "Mayhem" character that once landed on Advertising Week's "Walk of Fame" parade down Madison Ave. (That parade that featured beloved brand mascots was discontinued in 2007.)
As we ready for the 16th annual Advertising Week New York to kick off on Monday, where everyone will be all rah-rah over the industry, the news out of Chicago is a sobering reminder that all is not well in adland. Agencies are increasingly being squeezed by declining budgets, transparency and privacy concerns, work shifting in-house and to projects, among other pressures. Most recently, the industry watched as 10-year-old creative agency Barton F. Graf closed its doors; client budget cuts were cited as a big reason.
(Shameless plug: keep an eye out for our extensive coverage on the ground next week and don't forget to pick up a copy of our Advertising Week issue, out Monday.)
In death there’s life
Still, it seems, no matter how dire the state of advertising becomes, new agencies and related entities continue to emerge. This week, former Publicis Sapient Chief Strategist and Creative Officer Gaston Legorburu launched his own consultancy, GlueIQ, described as a hybrid consulting and marketing services firm with offices in New York and Miami. The firm comes to market with clients including Atlantis, Paradise Island, Peri Ellis and Regent Seven Seas, and a mission to “hack the agency model.” Co-Founder Matt Kujawa says the consultancy was born out of a “broken” industry in which “clients struggle to see the value they’re getting from their agency partners.” GlueIQ says it already has a staff of creative, strategy and media executives including Kujawa and Marguerite Conde, a marketing strategist who has worked with Legorburu for the last 15 years. Legorburu says the consultancy will set aside “the politics and finances of the big agency model” to “get back to basics.” Kujawa adds, “We need to work with our clients, not for them. That means blurring the lines between teams and responsibilities to work together as a single unit.”
Brands prepare for the 'new majority'
WPP’s media investment division GroupM is forming a coalition comprised of Disney, Google, iHeartMedia, Meredith Corp., NBCUniversal, Twitter, Univision and Viacom to help brands better develop their planning and media strategies to adapt to changing U.S. demographics. The New Majority Ready Coalition aims to shift ad dollars to target multicultural populations in the U.S. GroupM says the multicultural population currently makes up 40 percent of America, yet brands only invest 5 percent of their media spend to target this group. By 2020, 52 percent of individuals under 18 years old are estimated to be ethnically and racially diverse and by 2045, minorities are estimated to be the majority in America. The coalition will include tools and programs for brands to prepare for this shift. Gonzalo del Fa, president of multicultural at GroupM, says, “While we acknowledge the steep climb ahead to better reflect the new majority in our own industry and workforces, it’s exciting and validating to be a part of and witness the many leading organization who recognize and are acting on the rising new majority.”
McCann taps into Gen Z craze for FujiFilm campaign
Interpublic Group of Cos.’ McCann has been brought on by the Imaging Division of FujiFilm North America to launch a new global branding campaign for its Instax line. The Gen Z-friendly campaign, which made its debut this week, revolves around its new tagline, “Don’t just take, give.” It shows various young folks gifting their photos to others in a showing of “shared experiences,” according to the agency. (Mediahub, the sibling shop of MullenLowe, is handling the media planning and buying for this assignment and the entire global McCann network will have a hand in the creation of Instax line campaigns going forward.) “It’s a very cool brand with real cachet among its Gen Z users, which will be reflected in the unconventional cross-channel creative work,” says Devika Bulchandani, McCann New York president. According to estimates from R3 Co-Founder and Principal Greg Paull, Fuji Film spends $40 million on measured media annually with 40 percent of that budget dedicated to the Instax brand.
More wins of the week
The Richards Group picked up creative, advertising strategy and media planning and buying duties for Credit One Bank. As the company’s new brand advertising agency, The Richards Group will be responsible for helping the company reach “new audiences” and “further articulate our vision” for “2020 and beyond,” says John Coombe, senior VP of marketing at Credit One Bank. According to COMvergence estimates, Credit One Bank spends about $8 million on measured media annually.
AccuWeather selected IPG’s Huge as its global experience agency and strategic partner on digital initiatives, effective this week. The agency will co-develop the new AccuWeather global mobile application for iOS and Android devices, among other initiatives. “Huge was exactly the kind of partner we were after to help us continue to evolve our mobile experience. The agency’s focus on craft and creativity, as well as its expertise in tech, made it a quick decision for us,” says Kurt-Fulepp, global chief product officer at AccuWeather.
Ad Age's Jessica Wohl reports that Neverland, the London-based agency started earlier this year by Jon Forsyth and Simon Massey, becomes lead creative agency for a global project on Jacobs Douwe Egberts' Jacobs coffee brand, according to an announcement on the agency’s website. Saatchi & Saatchi previously had the lead creative role on the Jacobs account.
The hires …
WPP’s VMLY&R hired Fred Saldanha as its global chief creative officer, Colgate-Palmolive. Saldanha, who was executive creative director at Arnold Worldwide, will report directly to VMLY&R Global Chief Creative Officer Debbi Vandeven and drive the global creative work for longstanding client Colgate-Palmolive going forward. He brings nearly 30 years of experience—with agencies like Huge, DDB, Y&R, FCB, Wieden & Kennedy and Isobar—to the role.
Independent agency Oberland hired Matthew Bock, former planner at Grey Group, who is credited with helping evolve AARP’s brand while there. At Oberland, he will be strategy director. Bock, who has also spent time at MullenLowe and BGB Group, will report to Davianne Harris, head of strategy. “His enthusiasm and passion for building purpose-driven brands is evident, and his diverse experience in the agency world will be critical to the strategy practice at Oberland,” says Harris.
WPP’s Wunderman Thompson appointed Keka Morelle as chief creative officer in Brazil. She will lead a team of more than 100 people in São Paulo and Porto Alegre and report to Pedro Reiss, CEO of Wunderman Thompson Brazil. Before Wunderman Thompson, Morelle was AlmapBBDO’s executive creative director leading accounts such as Guaraná Antarctica, O Boticário, Audi and PepsiCo. "Keka has a forward-thinking mind and I feel she is ready to leave her mark in the market, beyond her work," Reiss says.
Publicis Media’s Zenith names Bryan Jackson, a veteran of Omnicom’s OMD and GroupM’s MEC (now Wavemaker), as executive VP and managing director of its Atlanta office. As head of the office, Jackson will provide strategic director across its clients. He reports to Linda Fitzsimmons, president of client leadership at Zenith, Moxie and MRY. “His expertise, combined with strong local relationships, will be a great benefit to our clients and partners,” says Fitzsimmons.
San Francisco’s Eleven added Paul Golubovich as head of production and Kelly McCullough as creative director. Golubovich previously was a freelancer, working with brands such as Anheuser-Busch, Southwest Airlines, Intel, BMW, AT&T and Apple. McCullough hails from meal delivery service Sun Basket, where she was a creative director, and also has experience at Goodby Silverstein & Partners and DDB. “We’re thrilled to have Paul and Kelly join Eleven as we continue to win new business and refine our in-house production capabilities,” says Eleven CCO Mike McKay. The hires come as Eleven celebrates its 20th anniversary with the opening of its Chicago office.
FCB and the retail design firm it acquired in 2017, Chute Gerdeman, announce the following leadership changes. Christopher Barcelona joins Chute Gerdeman as chief innovation and growth officer. Jay Highland becomes executive creative director of brand experience at FCB while retaining his current position as Chute Gerdeman chief creative officer. Wendy Johnson, chief operating officer and executive VP of program management at Chute Gerdeman, takes on the expanded role leading the retail design firm’s implementation business segment.
Johannes Leonardo added Emily Garvey Elias as group strategy director to take a “modern, multidisciplinary approach to brand building.” She reports to Mark Aronson, head of strategy in New York, and hails from R/GA where she was group planning director on Samsung. “As we continue to grow, we need strong people with the ambition to make their mark and the generosity to bring others along with them,” says Aronson, “Emily has both in spades.”
Digital creative agency Unfold is bringing on Paul Caparotta as head of account management and new business. He will be based out of the agency’s newly-opened New York office. Caparotta reports to Unfold Co-Founder and President Daniel Weisinger and is responsible for expanding on the agency’s partnerships and supporting its existing programs. He hails from DraftKings, where he managed deals between video game publishers, their media partners and a group of New York-based agencies.
Space150 names Liz Grabek as VP of strategy to help grow, lead and oversee data-driven communications planning and brand building across the agency’s network. She will be based in Minneapolis and previously led the brand strategy department at Olson Agency (now ICF Next) before leaving to lead her own consulting practice and then join space150. Throughout her career, Grabek has worked with clients such as General Mills, Belize Tourism Board, Radisson Hotels, Post Consumer Brands and Zillow.
AMP Agency hired Dan Richards from Columbia Sportswear, where he was global creative director, as group creative director. In the role, he will lead AMP’s Seattle office’s creative and production studios while helping to drive new business. Richards has also served as a creative director at Nike and design director at Fitch.
BarrettSF is bringing on Robert Woods as group account director, a new position, to work on clients Cost Plus World Market, Sutter Health and Marvel Strike Force. In his career, he’s held stints at GSD&M, Argonaut, TBD and Venables, Bell and Partners where he worked on HBO and Google.