Agency Brief: Chili's, Cheese and Birth Certificate Backpacks

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Well, the dog days of summer are finally here. And the cat days, since Tuesday was International Cat Day, a pseudo-holiday that received quite a bit buzz on Twitter from you agency folks (ahem, FCB Global, Y&R, DigitasLBI…).

Anyway, let's see what Agency Brief has in store on this summer Friday.

GSD&M's backpacks.
GSD&M's backpacks. Credit: Courtesy GSD&M

Bathrooms, not ban rooms

GSD&M is behind a new campaign to continue raising awareness about the discriminatory nature of the Texas "Bathroom Bill" (Senate Bill 6), which aims to prohibit transgender people from using the restroom they choose. In February, the agency launched a campaign called #IPEEWITHLGBT, which included a video entitled "Taking a Seat, Making a Stand." The new effort, called "Lifestyle Products for a Bathroom Bill World," is providing Texans with educational resources aimed at showing why the bill is bad for business and for the community. To demonstrate the absurdity of the bill in a humorous way, the shop created, which offers Texas products they can buy to prove gender, such as pink and blue birth certificate lunch boxes and cellphone cases.

A side order of print creative, please

Chili's Grill & Bar placed another new order, picking Johnson & Sekin as its print creative agency. The Dallas-based shop says its duties include developing restaurant menu and point-of-purchase materials, national promotion support, local restaurant marketing and new restaurant opening support. The latest agency addition comes weeks after Chili's hired O'Keefe Reinhard & Paul for a marketing project.

Brighthouse Financial's listing on Nasdaq
Brighthouse Financial's listing on Nasdaq Credit: Courtesy Brighthouse

You can ring my bell, ring my bell

On Monday, BBH New York helped Brighthouse Financial celebrate its listing on Nasdaq. For the new company established by MetLife, the agency set up a screen takeover in New York City's Time Square. The takeover included placements on the Nasdaq, Walgreens and Reuters billboard spaces, with the core message focused on: "Saying hello to a brighter financial future." Brighthouse hired the shop as its agency of record following a competitive review in March.

I've got a fever and the only prescription is fewer agencies

Nature's Way wants you to take your vitamins, and it thinks working with fewer agencies will do the trick. The nearly 50-year-old dietary supplement company just chose Spark Foundry as its media agency of record, while consolidating creative duties with Epsilon. Previously, the company worked with multiple agencies across both media and creative, with Epsilon as its digital agency of record for a number of its brands. Nature's Way VP-Marketing Eric Dahmer said the company opted to have "three voices in the room to most effectively figure out strategically … what we want," instead of brokering conversations across various partners. Nature's Way spent about $18.2 million in measured media in the U.S. in 2016, according to Kantar Media.

Stay calm and cheese on

Between viral "cheese pull" videos and even a hot glue gun for cheese (yes, the Fondoodler), the dairy product is certainly having a cultural moment. But while cheese is feeling the love, Sargento thinks specific cheese brands aren't so much, which is where Hearst-owned digital marketing shop iCrossing comes in. The Plymouth, Wisc.-based company just hired iCrossing to work with digital media and digital creative. The marketer will be continuing the "Real Cheese people" campaign it launched a few years ago, but putting a heavier emphasis on data and targeting to sell cheese fans on the company' family-owned roots and its natural fare. The company spent about $41 million on measured media in the U.S. in 2016, according to Kantar Media. That's a lot of quesadillas.

Translation helps teens go for the touchdown

Translation created the NFL's new youth-focused campaign called "The Handoff," which debuted with a 60-second spot on TV during the NFL Hall of Fame Game last week. The creative also includes a 90-second, 30-second and several 15-second videos, as well as Instagram stories and videos created by kids and NFL players about their on- and off-field experiences. The campaign aims to highlight the life lessons, such as hard work and friendship, that teens take away from football.

Feeling a bit down

Consumer packaged goods companies have been cutting back on their marketing budgets lately, a factor that led ad giant Dentsu to lower its revenue forecast for the year. The Tokyo-based company now expects its 2017 gross profits – the company's proxy for revenue – to come in about 5% under its previous forecast. For the first half of the year, gross profit grew 13.1%, benefiting from acquisitions. But on an organic basis, that number was weaker -- down 0.4%, after taking into account acquisitions, divestitures and currency fluctuations. Dentsu, which owns agencies including Isobar, McGarryBowen and 360i, has had some rough times lately in its mainstay business in Japan, where the suicide of an overworked young employee forced the company to rethink its working conditions.

No sweat with salt

MullenLowe Group, which recently acquired communications shop Salt, was named global PR agency for Unilever's Rexona brand of antiperspirant and deodorant products, following a review. The group will work on the brand with teams from MullenLowe PR in the U.S. and internationally with MullenLowe Salt, focusing on brand strategy, digital content and PR.

Tweet of the Week

Number of the Week

Bullish's Mike Duda and me pre-Peloton face-off
Bullish's Mike Duda and me pre-Peloton face-off Credit: Courtesy Mike Duda

19 – the number of kilojoules (cumulative cycling effort) that I beat Bullish Managing Partner Mike Duda by during Peloton Cycle's 80's hip-hop ride on Thursday. I expect a little more next time, Duda. Rematch?

Contributing: Jessica Wohl, Meg Graham, Angela Doland

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