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Avenue A/Razorfish

Razorfish Creates Word of Mouth/Social Media, Fills with Mystery Person

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Word came in this morning that Razorfish created a new position, presumably to bring the agency further into the social media fold. The role has loosely been described to us as director of word-of-mouth/social-media, and has allegedly been given to a former Fleishman-Hillard SVP of Digital Communications. We’re not sure which.

We’ve contacted both Fleishman Hillard (a PR firm) and Razorfish but the agencies declined to give a name. Can’t ever be sure why with these things, but we thought you should know Razorfish is stepping into that pool. Our best Googling returned only males, and all other indications point to a female.

So who is this mystery person and why has it been so hard to learn her name? Not important, but Razorfish has a social media department. And a patented tool (patent pending!) to measure social media. Our social media is a solid 8 inches. That was a penis joke.

Also, if anyone knows who stole Shiv Singh‘s signed social media book from Picasso, please burn it. I mean return it.

Also also, a colleague points out that there’s a hint of irony to a story about a woman whose new role is word of mouth related, whose employment we learned about through the very same method but couldn’t get a word from anyone’s mouth about her name. Expect a spash in PRWeek or AdAge post haste.

Update: PRNewser reveals that the new hire is Cristina Lawrence.

More:Shiv Singh’s Wise Words On Social Media

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Microsoft: Razorfish For Sale

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The Financial Times reports today that Microsoft will sell Razorfish, the digital agency they picked up just over 2 years ago following the purchase of aQuantive.

Though details are thin, it has been reported that Publicis is in the best position to buy the Seattle based shop. Both the Financial Times and The Guardian cite unnamed sources, and there’s little evidence that Publicis is ready to make such a purchase.

In August of last year we started hearing (here and here) that Microsoft was planning to sell. At that time, rumors of WPP making a bid were floating around, but since then there’s been little to mention.

WPP provided no comment when asked if Razorfish is an agency that might be worth picking up.

One question worth looking into: would Microsoft disable Razorfish’s commitment to the Atlas platform if they sell to Publicis? Furthermore, as one spy notes, “how does publicis buy razorfish, when publicis is committed to the google platform and razorfish is committed to microsofts atlas platform?”

Update: Sources within Razorfish say CEO Bob Lord issued a notice to employees indicating the agency is not getting sold.

Update 2: a Razorfish representative responded with “no comment.” Interestingly, we didn’t ask a question.

Full story

More:Avenue A|Razorfish Poised for Sale to WPP, Insider Says

Razorfish Offices Going Remote, Austin Squeaks By

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My spies tell me that Clark Kokich‘s “synergy” e-mail last week regarding the state of things was not too well received. The agency is telling clients their employees in Boston, LA, Portland and Ft. Lauderdale are going remote. Read: shutting down those offices.

During a town hall with staff late last week, we hear employees were informed that the four offices will be shut down within a month. We’re also hearing that some senior management may be staying on and are transferring to other offices, but local staffers will continue to service remaining clients remotely.

Some sad evidence: if you check Razorfish.com, you’ll notice the live Web cam feature no longer shows the Ft. Lauderdale, Boston, LA or Portland offices (special thanks to the spy that pointed that out). Those offices are however still listed in the global list. they have those locations listed in global offices, but not in the webcam feature at the bottom right (see image). Not that it matters &#151 the video is a fake 24 hour loop.

An agency representative declined to comment on the matter.

More:Razorfish CEO Kokich’s Letter to Employees; it’s Nice

McCann Gears Up For A Microsoft Fight

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While McCann has the title of “lead agency” on the Microsoft business. Right now, you are probably snickering into your morning coffee at the term considering the brand engages quite a few shops on its business these days: Crispin Porter + Bogusky, Razorfish and more recently, JWT. And those are just the ones above the board. Who knows who is doing little assignments here and there?

Microsoft has recently put these agencies in a dog pit to face off for the brand’s nameless, faceless new mobile application. Our guess is that this mysterious piece of business is Windows Mobile 7 or The Windows Marketplace (the new app store for people running Windows OS on their mobile phone), since PR agencies are currently engaged in a pitch for those accounts. Let the games begin, but perhaps, McCann might want to consider this as a warning shot from the brand. According to Adweek, “Kevin Turner, Microsoft’s chief operating officer who joined the company in August 2005, is not a proponent of a single agency partner and has pushed for bringing in other shops.”

This reminds us of when McCann was forced to fight for project from their other long time parter, Intel, back in November. Just three months later, the entire account was moved to Venables, Bell and Partners. Stick and move McCann and keep your left up while you’re at it.

More: From JWT To The Pond

Digital Is Traditional, Traditional Is Digital: Razorfish Goes 360

Today, Adweek has an article up about digital shop, Razorfish, getting into the broadcast game for detergent brand, All. If anyone caught that last episode of Celebrity Apprentice (and I’m sure you didn’t), you’ll recall that the teams were tasked with creating a “viral” video for the brand. The results were pretty mediocre, but whatever. The agency went on to take two of the contestants, Joan and Melissa Rivers, and feature them in Razorfish’s first ever broadcast production. You can watch it above.

From the article: “Razorfish has a history in digital media and developing Web sites,” said Marc Lucas, executive creative director for Razorfish in New York. “In the last 12 to 18 months, we’ve made a push to be a marketing services company and being more media agnostic.”

All just recently put its creative account into review. While BBH is the incumbent, it ended up goin to Lowe. However, wouldn’t it have been rad if Razorfish just snuck in there and took the booty? Forget about whether you like or hate the spot. Isn’t just a wee bit exciting to see a digital agency is now just an agency and vice versa? Lines are blurring left and right. Consider that GlobalHue, which has long been billed as the the biggest multicultural agency, won their MGM Grand account as just an agency – serving every color, gender and platform under the sun. Finally – the whole bag of goods is getting mixed up. It’s about time.

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Razorfish’s 2009 Digital Outlook Report

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Razorfish published their 2009 Digital Outlook Report this week, which culls media spending patterns across advertisers around the country and thoughts on the future of digital. Here’s a round up of some of that thinking from the overwhelming 180 pages of their PDF:

- “We are in the second year of a major shift away from portals toward niche targeting over a wide array of media choices.”

- “Social media and Social Influence Marketing exploded this year partly due to the economic downturn. Consumers began losing faith in large institutions and experts and turned to each other for advice. Marketers embraced SIM this year too because it’s a very cost-effective means of reaching their customers.”

- “We predict “your CEO will join Facebook” this year.”

- “Social media advertising will finally hit its stride in 2009 as advertisers figure out better ways to embed social media into ad units.”

- “Advertisers continue to support search because it delivers a stronger ROI than many other tactics, especially in an economic downturn. We don’t think search is recession-proof though, and do expect some budget tightening in 2009.”

- “Television is undergoing a fundamental shift – it is going digital in all aspects and is becoming more niche in terms of both audiences and programming.”

- “A long tail of television is emerging as audiences are increasingly dividing their time between computer screens, TV sets, mobile devices, gaming systems and set-top boxes. This will cause both content providers and marketers to reinvent the way they present content and experiences.”

Yeah, but you knew all that didn’t you?

More: State Of The City:Philadelphia Halflife

Razorfish Picks up Mercedes, Agency Confirms

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Razorfish New York has won the Mercedes account, and will act as digital AOR, agency representative Sally O’Dowd told AgencySpy. The win comes on the heels of another get, The Travel Channel.

The agency is reportedly abuzz with the news, per an e-mail to employees about this victory this morning.

More: All Your Razorfish News

Razorfish Picks up TravelChannel.com

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The Travel Channel, which hosts one of our favorite shows (No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain) has selected Razorfish New York as their interactive agency &#151 as such, the shop will rebuild travelchannel dot com, which currently sucks.

The win should help offset the recent embargo on Razorfish’s work for Conde Nast mag Details. And though the agency hasn’t revealed how much they’re bringing home with this win, they do plan to, “refocus the website while delivering a state-of-the-art interactive experience for all visitors. Razorfish plans to create a sense of consistency and ease of navigation, highlight television extensions, and promote the recent incorporation of interactive offerings on TravelChannel.com.”

Great, now only if they would add something about getting a discount on food from Les Halles, Bourdain’s French steak house, which is stellar btw. Fingers crossed!

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More:Inside Conde Nast’s ‘Ancillary’ CutBacks: Details & Razorfish

Razorfish Holiday Wishes Fall Like Snowflakes

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The digi-bots (we use the term lovingly!) over at Razorfish made a nifty little holiday Web site for all of us to love and cherish. At wish dot razorfish dot com, you can submit your wish and see it become a beautiful snowflake, not unlike the smiling eyes of young children everywhere.

Too bad they’ll be getting coal this year. Bwa ha ha ha OK we’ll stop now. Anyway, we like Razorfish, and their participation in this year’s dreadful holiday season. As bad as things are, a little cheer here and there is always welcome.

So, what are you doing to spread the love: Caroling, serving food to the homeless, knitting blankets for orphans, building microsites? Share your holiday cheer sharing efforts below.

Click continued to see a list of our favorite wishes from the Razorfish site.

More:Inside Conde Nast’s ‘Ancillary’ CutBacks: Details & Razorfish

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Wal-Mart’s Digital Business Is Up For Review

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Wal-Mart’s digital business has gone up for review. Speculation over at Adage is that Resource, Digitas, MRM and R/GA; and Razorfish are in the pitch, but the journo isn’t quite sure. Neither are we. Do you know?

Walmart.com was the second most visited retail site on Black Friday right after Amazon.com.

More: Wal-Mart’s Marketside Is Also Shopping Around

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