Agency Brief: Year-end edition
Welcome to the last Agency Brief of 2020!
This was the year everyone went a bit batty, and the end-of-the-year news tidbits that came our way this week were, well, let's say, quintessentially 2020.
Let's start with holiday greetings. Any other year, we'd be awash in tidings of comfort and joy. But this year many of the holiday wishes we have received urge downright violence—egging us on to literally flush the year away, burn it in a dumpster fire or physically pummel it into obliteration.
Exhibit A: The WWE. We received a lovely holiday email from Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon that led off this way: "As 2020 comes to a close, it is a time for reflection, a time to be grateful, and a time to take out some of our pent-up frustration from this past year. With that in mind, WWE wanted to create a holiday message that would resonate with audiences while staying on brand, and I think we nailed it." Below is the video.
All fired up
If that didn't put you in the mood to roast some chestnuts on an open fire, perhaps this will. Basecamp/email provider HEY.com has created a literal dumpster fire that will immolate photos or emails you want to forget via a live feed.
According to the company, more than 7,100 people have consigned some of their past to the dumpster fire within the last three weeks, and the fire has received more than 370,000 unique views and counting. For those interested in how it's done, here's a link to a video narrated by Andy Didorosi, Basecamp's head of marketing.
All hail the year of the toilet!
If the dumpster fire didn't give you the warm and fuzzies, there is always American Standard, which has created a toilet paper printed with some of the things that bedeviled our 2020, from canceled vacations to murder hornets, that we can literally flush away. Consumers can enter to win the "limited edition" TP here.
But it was the acccompanying quote from Gene Barbato, VP of marketing at American Standard, that really gave us some holiday cheer. “Normally, it would excite us to have a year for the toilet—we’re big toilet people at American Standard." It continued: "But the realities of 2020 weren’t quite what we had in mind. Given the year’s challenges and uncertainty, we are flushing the turmoil down the toilet and starting fresh with a clean start for the new year."
The release doesn't say, but given the year that was, we'd be willing to bet it's one-ply.
After all those hardly holly jolly holiday sentiments, we finally found one that seemed to spread actual joy. Louisville ad agency PriceWeber sent us a release about the world's tallest nutcracker that sits outside its shop, clocking in at 39 feet. The nutcracker is made out of the shop's decommissioned belltower that the agency says is "fully equipped with a moving jaw that can crack a nut—if we had a ladder tall enough to test it out."
But then comes the kicker—it's wearing a COVID-safe mask.
Don't get us wrong, we're huge mask proponents at Agency Brief, and we are in full agreement with PriceWeber's stay-safe reminder to the Louisville community.
It just seems that there is no getting away from 2020 just yet.
Is it bigger than a nutcracker?
We heard from Cindy Carrasquilla, who runs PR for Haddad & Partners, who sent us a photo of her CEO, DJ Haddad, in the agency's mobile office (below, presumably taken in warmer weather). Writes Cindy: "My CEO recently bought a 47-foot RV with the thought of getting rid of our regular office (to cut costs but to also be truly mobile) so that we can really work anywhere and can make some visits to cities where we have a few other staff. Ideally, we had envisioned taking it to visit clients in other states too, but since most states are now under a quarantine mandate we are not able to do that for a while."
But that hasn't stopped the shop from putting it to good use for the holidays. Haddad is taking the RV and caravaning with staffers to drive-in holiday light shows around New Haven.
Some good came out of 2020 after all
Our friends at McGarrah Jessee in Austin have taken lessons from 2020 and are implementing some new "people-first" policies for the coming year that will give employees a lot more flexibility. First, they will be given unlimited PTO with a mandate to take at least three weeks per calendar year. Second, employees will be able to live anywhere they choose, whether or not that is in the Austin area. And third, meetings will take place in a designated "meeting zone" from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1-3 p.m. each day with 12-1 p.m. left open for lunch.
SY Enterprises, parent company of The Shipyard, is aquiring indie agency Mering. Mering, the company says, "has decades of experience as a results-driven, strategically-grounded advertising agency, known for memorable global creative for brands." The group now totals 120 people across four cities including: Columbus, Newport Beach, Sacramento and San Diego.
Ogilvy Health has hired Andrew Thorn as exec VP-head of planning to oversee the shop's planning, strategy, analytics and experience teams. Thorn most recently served as managing director of strategy at W2O group and has held roles at FCB Trio, Vogel Farina, Saatchi & Saatchi Healthcare and Harrison & Star.
That's it for Agency Brief 2020. Wishing you all a happy and healthy New Year—and in the spirit of truth in advertising, when it comes to 2021 we really, really mean it.