Agency Brief: Cultural Trends, Tanzanian Teens and Everything in Between

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It's the first Friday of August, and more importantly, it's National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day. And yesterday was National Watermelon Day - lots of sweet stuff this week. Speaking of sweet, Ad Age honored its new class of Women to Watch on Thursday at an annual luncheon celebration, hosted by our very own Deputy Editor Judy Pollack, who rocked the stage. Congrats again to all of the honorees!

Now onto this week's Agency Brief.

Sparking cultural conversation

Omnicom's Sparks & Honey held its first twice monthly "Live Culture Briefing" this week, which is an extension of the shop's daily internal discussion of cultural trends from the past 24 to 48 hours. The first live briefing, viewable on Facebook, was focused on diversity and inclusion and ended with a 30-minute discussion featuring experts on the topic. The panelists included Tiffany Warren, chief diversity officer, Omnicom; Jim Hollaran, chief digital officer of GLAAD; Rita Rodriquez, exec VP, Omnicom; Geraldine Moriba, CEO of Moriba Media and Programming Consultant of WNET; Bing Chen, founder-CEO of Kingdom Studios; and Paul Grossinger, founder of Gaingels.

Infiniti agency shift drives CP&B layoffs

2018 Infiniti Q50
2018 Infiniti Q50 Credit: INFINITI

Earlier this week, Ad Age reported that Infiniti has brought on MDC Partners' 72andSunny to handle global creative for several upcoming vehicle launches. That's a potentially worrisome sign for incumbent and sibling shop CP&B, which served as the brand's global agency partner. While CP&B retains its status as agency of record in the U.S. and continues working with Infiniti in several international markets, the shift still sparked some layoffs.

"This week we parted ways with 5% of our staff from the CP&B L.A. office," said Danielle Aldrich, president of CP&B West, in a statement. "Saying goodbye to our colleagues and friends is the most difficult part of this business and something we do not take lightly. We are working closely with those affected to support their efforts in moving forward." According to people with knowledge of the matter, about seven or eight people were affected by the job cuts. Some other clients serviced out of L.A. include NBA2K, PayPal, Jose Cuervo and 1800 Tequila.

Express yourself

Just in time for those crucial back-to-school wardrobes, apparel brand Express Inc. has tapped Kansas City, Mo.-based VML as its agency of record. While creative will be handled by Express' in-house team, VML will work on everything else, including consumer sales optimization, paid media, search and analytics for the 650-unit chain. Express could use the help. Shares of the brand, which targets young professionals, have lost 75% of their value over the last six months and now trade near $6.

TBWA teaches Tanzanian teens to create their own future

TBWAKhanga Rue in Tanzania, East Africa has launched a free 12-class series on entrepreneurship for young people in the area called "Noa Ubongo" in Swahili or "Sharpen Your Brain." The series will be available on social media and will also air in thousands of the 10,000 informal movie theaters and video halls in Tanzania. TBWA created the new program after seeing success from a pilot in 2016. Each year, 700,000 young people in Tanzania are ready to enter the job market, but only 40,000 formal salaried jobs are available.

Upping the creative Hall of Fame game

The One Club of Creativity, which produces the One Show Awards, ADC Annual Awards and Creative Week, has announced five more inductees into its Creative Hall of Fame. The new inductees include: Susan Hoffman, co-chief creative officer of Wieden & Kennedy; Rebeca Mรฉndez, artist, designer, and professor at UCLA, Design Media Arts; David Lubars, chief creative officer of BBDO Worldwide and chairman of BBDO North America; Diane Cook-Tench, founding director of Virginia Commonwealth University's grad school, the Brandcenter; and Tom Burrell, founder of Burrell Communications, which helped highlight black American culture.

Standing up to domestic violence

VML Atlanta has partnered with Georgia nonprofit Partnership Against Domestic Violence to launch a campaign called "Everyone's Problem," aimed at showing how domestic violence affects all of us; not just those in abusive relationships. The initiative stemmed from research that revealed that 57% of mass shooters had a history of committing domestic violence assaults. In addition to a radio public service announcement, VML helped create 30-second PSA videos, which are running on Atlanta news station WSB Channel 2.

More women on the move

Wolff Olins has appointed global Chief Operating Officer Sairah Ashman as the agency's first female CEO. The 23-year Wolf Olins veteran succeeds Ije Nwokorie, who will remain at the agency to mentor client teams. W2O Group also brought on a new femal executive, tapping former Edelman New York Chief Operating Officer Mary Corcoran as president of Twist, the second largest agency in its network. During her time at Edelman, she played a part in building the digital practice of the agency's West region to over $30 million.

Marca does jumping jacks over sunscreen and safari hats

Miami-based Marca has been named digital and social agency of record of casual lifestyle brand Panama Jack, best known for suncare products, furniture, apparel and -- let's not forget -- safari hats. In additional to managing the brand's social platforms, Marca will handle email marketing, search, digital display, website redesign and ecommerce. The agency's new digital work for Panama Jack will appear this summer.

Tweet of the Week

Number of the Week

ColorComm's first nine Fellows with ColorComm Founder Lauren Wesley Wilson (right) and Whoopi Goldberg (middle)
ColorComm's first nine Fellows with ColorComm Founder Lauren Wesley Wilson (right) and Whoopi Goldberg (middle) Credit: Courtesy ColorComm

9 โ€“ the number of people inducted into the first ColorComm Fellows Program, sponsored by MSLGroup, during this year's fourth annual ColorComm Conference in Miami. Inductees, who were selected from more than 200 applicants, were asked to present their ideas about where ColorComm โ€“ a community for women executives of color in the communications industry --should be by 2021.

Contributing: Adrianne Pasquarelli

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