Say hello to Dentsumcgarrybowen and Martin Sorrell is on the lookout: Thursday Wake-Up Call
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The latest run-on agency name is here with the creation of Dentsumcgarrybowen, formed from Dentsu brand agencies and Mcgarrybowen. “The network is comprised of creative, content, design and experience shops outside Japan and also includes Isobar, John Brown and Dentsu PR firms such as Mitchell, which will retain their own individual brands,” writes Ad Age’s Lindsay Rittenhouse.
The consolidation has apparently been in the works since January, so the move isn’t due to the pandemic, but “it does have its advantages in this environment as it will come with cost savings, especially for Mcgarrybowen which has been ‘struggling’ from the health crisis,” a person familiar with the consolidation told Rittenhouse.
Merlee Jayme and Jon Dupuis will serve as co-presidents of Dentsumcgarrybowen and Gordon Bowen will become global chairman. Jennifer Hohman, global chief marketing officer at FCB, joins as global chief growth officer.
Conde Nast is laying off nearly 100 employees in advertising, editorial, and corporate and furloughing about the same number of workers. Other employees will have fewer hours, according to a memo from CEO Roger Lynch. It’s no surprise given the state of ad revenue in media these days. Lynch told The New York Times last month that the company was having editors draw up lists of employees to potentially cut.
Buzzfeed News is also beginning furloughs, with three editors and an office manager in the U.S. and approximately 15 local news reporters in the U.K. and Australia. The company is also negotiating with its editorial union about possible layoffs. These are the first staff reductions to hit the outlet’s newsroom since the start of the pandemic. Buzzfeed has already furloughed several dozen non-newsroom staffers.
But some people, including S4 Capital CEO Martin Sorrell, see opportunity in the economic crisis, according to memos obtained by Business Insider. The former WPP CEO is watching “distressed” agencies and companies with an eye toward picking off clients or talent that leave in a time of crisis—or maybe even buying them up. S4 is also looking at agencies and production companies including B-Reel, R/GA, M&C Saatchi and Deutsch that have undergone recent layoffs and staff reductions.
Sorrell’s outlook for his own company is pretty rosy. Some clients might try to delay payments, but he notes that the tech companies that fuel half of S4’s revenue have been weathering the pandemic well. S4 has also applied for government subsidies, though it hasn’t yet received any funds. Many agencies, most much smaller than S4, have had trouble accessing small business loans and payment protections.
Thanks to up-front, pre-pandemic contracts with advertisers, Quibi has been able to hold onto its ad revenue during the downturn. “Few Quibi advertisers have appealed for relief from their contracts, according to several brands, even as some have looked to downsize marketing in other areas,” writes Ad Age’s Garett Sloane.
Of the 10 advertisers that committed a total of $150 million in the snackable video platform’s first year, only one has been able to change the parameters of the deal. “The advertiser initially wanted to pull out of its deal entirely but could not,” Sloane writes. But Quibi is open to some flexibility. Advertisers will be able to swap one brand for another, assuming they have a brand in their portfolio to take the place of one that’s already been committed.
Ordering in but can’t decide between GrubHub and Uber Eats? That might not be a problem for much longer. Uber is considering buying out the food delivery platform, whose valuation climbed to $5.7 billion Wednesday following news of the offer. The two companies would be able to leverage each other’s strengths—Uber’s routing efficiency and GrubHub’s relationships with restaurants—to create what would likely be the largest player in the now-essential food delivery space.
But regulators will need to approve the deal, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar has already expressed concerns about the effect on consumers who depend on the platforms.
Smell you later: Scented candles usually mimic the smells of far-off places. But “Scents of Normality,” a campaign from London-based agency Uncommon, channels the familiar odors of life before lockdown. “The Cinema scent is described as ‘a heady fusion of popcorn, foam banana and the allium tang of adolescent boredom,” writes Ad Age’s Alexandra Jardine. “The Local ‘embraces notes of spilt beer, urinal block and cheap rosé freckled with cigarette ash.’ The candles can be bought from Earl of East and include a donation to charity.
Front page news: Cannes might be canceled, but Ad Age’s Young Creative cover contest is still on. Creatives under 30 can submit art for a chance to be featured on the cover of our June 15 issue. The deadline is May 28, so get to work. Check out the brief here.
Mask mouth: Ever get that not-so-fresh feeling, you know, behind your mask? Most of us are stuck re-breathing our own mouth stink these days, but Ice Breakers mints wants to make staying safe a more pleasant experience. “The 15-second spot begins with a thank-you message to those wearing masks ‘for grandparents, neighbors and cashiers,’ before asking ‘how about a mint before you mask?’” writes Ad Age’s Jessica Wohl. Mint and gum sales have plummeted in the era of WFH sweatpants. “Hershey already said it was spending $1 million to set up a line to make disposable masks,” Wohl writes. “Now, when it ships those masks, it will include some Ice Breakers as well.”
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