Sources familiar with the matter confirm that Dana Fahey, head of creatives services at BBH New York, has resigned from her post to launch her own talent recruiting business. We don’t have a title yet, but we’ve been told that Fahey and her new company will still work with BBH, which of course is fresh off of picking up the Playstation business. Fahey spent nearly a year a BBH and about the same amount of time in similar recruitment roles at the likes of CP+B, Saatchi, TBWA (two stints, actually) and Berlin Cameron United.
Bartle Bogle Hegarty
Well, this hit the newswires a few minutes ago just as our tipsters were hitting us up and yes indeed, BBH New York has emerged victor in the U.S. lead creative agency battle for Sony PlayStation. In a statement, Guy Longworth, SVP, PlayStation brand marketing for Sony Computer Entertainment America says, “All of the participating agencies, 180LA, Anomaly, BBH New York and Deutsch presented outstanding ideas during the process. But after careful consideration, BBH New York is the best partner for our business.”
It didn’t take too long for Sony to select a new lead creative agency for its gaming console as it was only three weeks ago that the brand narrowed down its search to the four aforementioned finalists. The Playstation decision thus ends a six-year relationship with Deutsch L.A., one that has produced memorable characters like Kevin Butler and nifty campaigns like “Michael.” Prior to Deutsch, Sony worked with TBWA\Chiat\Day on the Playstation business for well over a dozen years.
Since BBH debuted last year’s Kiefer Sutherland-starring “Susan Glenn,” AXE’s TV spots have consistently been some of the best on TV. Well, maybe not the “best,” but considering how awful they used to be, they’ve come quite a long way. Now, with a new campaign for the AXE Apollo scent, BBH is taking things to a whole other level completely. That level, by the way, is freaking outer space.
The above spot, “Fireman,” teases the AXE Apollo Space Camp, which will allegedly offer 22 daring individuals the opportunity to receive rigorous astronaut training in Florida followed by a chance to go into outer space. Wait, outer space? Holy shit. Could this possible be legitimate in any way? Well, if you don’t believe AXE, do you believe the space camp’s spokesperson?
So, not only is this campaign apparently making history, but it’s giving us two great spots on top of that. For your chance to actually become an astronaut (that’s right, Lance Bass), enter at the AXE Apollo Space Camp website before February 3. Credits after the jump.
Seeing this new spot for Barclaycard UK from BBH London, you have to wonder whether or not the first test-screeners of Toy Story looked like this. And, by “this,” I mean a terrifying journey into the land of toys, where everything from Barbie dolls to an RC helicopters have a sinister agenda for the confused middle-aged consumer.
However, I cannot speak for parents who have to do holiday shopping for their kids. In that sense, this may actually be an accurate representation of what a toy store looks like–a dizzying mess of colors and sounds that would leave some people foaming at that mouth while writhing around on the floor.
While this spot doesn’t exactly help parents decide what to buy for their kids (Pro Tip: Your kid probably knows what it wants for Christmas and could write you a list 50 items long if you give her or she the opportunity), it does give a quick example of the ease with which you can use the Barclaycard. I mean, you just wave your phone over a credit card machine or something, right? But you need some sort of sticker on the back of it? And it has to do with VISA? Well, if you want more info, visit the Barclaycard’s U.S. site here, and get your tickets for Justin Bieber‘s performance tonight at Brooklyn’s new Barclays Center here. Credits after the jump.
Well, here we go and thank you for the full disclosure. Two days after first addressing the issue, it’s come to pass at BBH as its New York office is undergoing “restructuring.” Here’s the full note from Gwyn Jones, CEO of BBH Group that landed in our inbox from the agency’s U.K. hub. And yes, Greg Andersen (left) is no longer with BBH.
“We have had a very up and down year in New York. Some real breakthroughs and creative highs for clients like AXE, Google, Cole Haan, UNICEF and our recent appointment to The Weather Channel Companies, all under the creative leadership of John Patroulis – coupled with some real challenges on the business side: the loss of Sprite earlier in the year, and some unexpected and significant volatility recently in revenues from existing clients.
In this context we think it is the right time to push ahead with a restructuring of the business, reflecting the need all agencies face to keep their cost base as variable as possible, and as part of this, we will be forced to announce a number of redundancies. We are not disclosing the number of people affected but, given these circumstances, CEO Greg Andersen, who helped evolve BBH into an agency built for the modern media landscape, has volunteered to resign and pursue other opportunities that have been presented to him, and we have accepted his resignation. Furthermore, as part of the wider restructure, Managing Director Richard Stainer is shortly set to return to the UK where he is in in talks with the London office about a role.
We are extremely fortunate to have, in our Chairman Emma Cookson, someone who has been at the agency in New York since it opened its doors 14 years ago and who is uniquely equipped to bring continuity and to partner with John and Chief Strategy Officer Sarah Watson in leading the agency forward.
Obviously you never want to have to announce job losses, and those impacted by this news are not just colleagues but friends and valued members of the BBH family. We will do our best to help them find new positions in New York and throughout the BBH network. But this is advertising and we live in particularly uncertain times. We will dust ourselves down, we believe this move will make us stronger.”
If we can break into Seinfeld mode for a second, what’s the deal when you don’t get a flat-out “yea” or “nay,” whether on or off the record, from agencies instead of the “no comment on speculation” horseshit in regards to people moves? Bitter, honest, sometimes asinine comments that flood our thread aside, it’s just us here talking and this question has haunted us since the days that AgencySpy was dancing around obelisks. Anyhow, for the last several days, we’ve been hearing word from multiple sources that Greg Andersen‘s status as CEO of BBH New York is in question, as is that of several NY staffers at the agency.
Regarding either, we finally received word back, first from the PR firm that is apparently “in the dark” and next, from BBH’s comms HQ in London, which, wait for it, said that the agency cannot “comment on any speculation around certain staff at BBH in New York at the moment.” With most agencies we have a good rapport with, we get straightforward answers, you know, like “yes,” “no,” “don’t attribute to us or we’ll hunt you down”; with others, the ambiguity/mystery will subsist. C’est la vie. Anyhow, Andersen (pictured) has been with BBH NY for 6.5 years, moving up from managing director to CEO in early 2010. Prior to that, the exec has worked on the account/strategy side at the likes of Merkley + Partners and Lowe New York.
So how does BBH NY follow-up their critically acclaimed Kiefer Sutherland-starring AXE spot, “Susan Glenn,” which may or may not feature apocalyptic imagery and Illuminati symbolism? With the above spot, “Office Love,” which chronicles the budding workplace romance between a supple pair of breasts and immaculate head of hair.
Set to Austin folk icon Daniel Johnston‘s heartbreaking “True Love Will Find You in the End,” hair and breasts’ relationship evolves from stealing quick glances across cubicles to finally approaching each other during the nightly commute. The spot aims to convince men of a supposed universal truth: While men first notice a female’s breasts, women first notice a man’s hair. Of course, this is not always true from the male perspective. (There’s a reason than “ass man” is a well-known archetype, after all.) But, it’s enough to make impressionable young men start becoming very self-conscious about their hair, though I don’t know if the shaggy look will last long against increasingly popular retro pompadour that hipsters and Jon Hamm are bringing back into the public eye.
Yes, there’s still an hint of the AXE spots of old in here, but BBH NY is making the brand come off as, dare we say it, almost clever. Ladies, what’s your take?
BBH New York has promoted Nate Able and Caprice Yu to creative directors. If the names don’t ring a bell, perhaps the respective campaigns that the creatives have worked on in recent times will. Able, who joined BBH NY last year from what is now twofifteenmccann, most recently served as ACD on Axe’s “Susan Glenn” effort while Yu was an art director on the multi-award-winning Google Chrome campaign that included “Dear Sophie” and “It Gets Better.”
Along with her two tours of duty at BBH NY (the first lasted four years), Yu has honed her craft at CP+B and 180 Amsterdam during her career. Able, meanwhile, served as an art director on the “Believe” campaign for Halo 3 while at twofifteenmccann (then T.A.G.). Now as creative directors at BBH, Yu will help lead the Cole Haan and Google teams while Able will do the same for Johnnie Walker and UNICEF.
File this little gem under “Too Good Not to Share.” After receiving this in our Anonymous Tips box, I’ve sent it to multiple people and received the same response from everyone, “I can’t stop watching this.”
In mid-July, BBH NY unveiled “Susan Glenn,” an AXE spot that shirks the brand’s usual creative emphasis on machismo and easy sex for something that men might find a little more meaningful: the high school dream girl archetype. People within the advertising industry have praised it quite a bit, pleasantly surprised by AXE’s new direction and Kiefer Sutherland‘s cameo appearance. However, according to YouTube user TheGroxt, there may be something sinister brewing at BBH.
In this 15-minute frame-by-frame bout of paranoia and religious posturing, TheGroxt points out numerous imagery in “Susan Glenn” that conspiracy theorists and deeply religious folks will undoubtedly by horrifyingly shocking and deeply disturbing. For example, the skateboarder in the high school hallway shot is actually looking at the list that TheGroxt interprets as “The Lamb’s Book of Life,” also known as Jesus’ list that determines who will be allowed into heaven come Judgement Day. Later, when Susan Glenn emerges from a coffee shop in a hail of sparks an fire, she is actually experiencing the rapture and ascending to heaven. Because, obviously, BBH knew that the best way to turn unbelievers to Jesus is to do so by selling noxious body spray.
Now, this may sound silly to some (read: “sane people”), but check out the comments on YouTube. “Another great analysis. Praise Jesus,” says YouTube users GovernorJerryBrown. “Yeah, they definitely seem evil and appear to be herding along the clueless other three,” says ginslinger1, referencing the cheerleaders who TheGroxt interprets as angels of the Lord. Surely, the omnipotent readers of AgencySpy can find even more symbolic references upon close inspection. Have at it!