Editor's Letter, November 2007

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It was exciting even before our sibling organ, Advertising Age, broke its brand, er, spanking new ad scandal, this time concerning a randy Japanese ad mogul from Dentsu and the wide-eyed creative director who was coerced into looking at crotches—in photographs and in real life. In this hilariously lurid drama, sushi palace Nobu has been replaced by a Czech bordello and exhibit A is a photo of a tennis star's ass instead of an Aston Martin.

While l'affaire Julie Roehm/Walmart introduced such enduring quotes as "I think about us together all of the time. Little moments like watching your face when you kiss me" to the pages of upstanding business publications, the Dentsuit upped the ante considerably. I'm certain that these words have never been published in Ad Age before: "If you buy lady-companion for all night, we'll surprise you by an interesting discount" (a snippet from the web site of Escade, the Prague funhouse in question). And I'm certain they never will again (however, I'm less certain we'll never again see a photo of a young woman's cotton covered lady parts, taken without her consent, on Ad Age's home page).

But sexually bullied men were only a minor distraction in a month like this. Panty shots had to compete with news of major creative personnel shifts in agencies near and far. First we heard that hot shots Leo Premutico and Jan Jacobs would pull up stakes from Saatchi & Saatchi/New York, the agency whose creative rep they helped build, and reportedly launch their own venture. Meanwhile, Al Moseley, one of the award winning creative leaders at Wieden + Kennedy/Amsterdam, also relocated—to practically startup Hurrell and Dawson in London where he'll be a partner and creative director. In other agency news, Saatchi Sydney ECD Nobby announced he would front a down under hub of Droga5. That agency was responsible for another, indeed perhaps the biggest, ad happening of the month.

Yes, panty shots also had to compete with, well, other panty shots as October saw the much anticipated launch of Honeyshed.

Industry folk have been pondering the new venture for months, after hearing portents of the online content venture percolating at the New York agency. Early information suggested that the new site would bring something new to the branded content arena but much speculation swirled as to exactly what that something would be.

All was finally revealed, Or, rather, some was revealed, as the anticipated brand-driven shopping meets entertainment site launched in a beta incarnation on October 24 (read all about it on p.30).

"Everyone is scrambling to do branded content but for the most part there is no real home for it," says David Droga of the long gestating initiative. "The strategy has mainly been to create entertaining content and then seed it, put it on YouTube, or elsewhere. So content is king but the king didn't really have a throne. Our idea was to have a site where you could be overt about the brand. The site gets at the entertainment value and the sociability of shopping."

The site will provide an interesting case study on brands—and shopping—as entertainment and will be worth watching as it evolves out of its beta phase.

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