Sources familiar with the matter confirm that Denis Griffith, who’s spent the last 18 months as head of user experience/experience CD at Atmosphere Proximity/BBDO, is parting ways with the agency. No word yet on his last day or if there are plans to replace, but from what we hear, Griffith is heading to Rupert Murdoch‘s turf to serve as VP of product and experience at News Corp (still awaiting confirmation on this). Prior to BBDO NY, Griffith spent a year as head of the UX department at Euro RSCG Life, which is now known as Havas Life, of course.
Here’s an update on the James Harden/Stephen Curry commercial-pretending-to-be-a-music-video we covered last week: while Harden may have uncorked his vocal cords first, Curry is back with an unsavory r&b diss track that has more blues than rhythm. Foot Locker and BBDO New York seem to be having some fun with this one, right down to the purposefully low-budget video effects. I’m not sure whose voice is worse, but both of them are really, really bad singers, and that makes this campaign all the better. A little tea with honey for next time, guys? Anyway, grab some earplugs and listen up.
Credits after the jump.
Not only should you fear James Harden‘s beard, but now you should fear his voice, too. There’s a long history of athletes who want to be rappers/singers, and that history stars and ends with this awesomely terrible Deion Sanders single from 1994. Luckily, Harden’s leap into the music industry is all in good fun on behalf of Foot Locker. BBDO New York has been pumping out quality NBA-related spots for the brand in the past, and “Harden Soul” is no different. It’s crisp, funny, and capable of appreciating the offbeat moment of humor.
Basketball fans may also recognize sharpshooter Stephen Curry as the voice of reason, begging Harden to give up the strain on his vocal cords. But, as Harden says, “I just had the best year of my career, I gotta keep things fresh.” For those interested in things that are kept extra fresh, Foot Locker also released a full version of “Harden Soul” on Youtube (you can listen after the jump). Watch out for the lyrical genius of lines like, “I wear my shirt open/so you see my chest…I keep my stock open/so you can invest.” Almost worthy of a Grammy.
Credits after the jump.
BBDO New York and Foot Locker know that Clippers forward/dunker Blake Griffin is a commercial machine – Subway, Kia, Jordan Brand to rattle off a few quickly. So for their latest joint venture, “The Endorser,” the creatives decided to physically hook up Griffin to a machine called The Endorser as if he were programmed to place products. For some Lob City support, Clippers point guard/whiner Chris Paul steps in as a foil to turn off the machine and show us the difference between Real Blake and Robot Blake.
The spot is another smart and self-aware sports bit that takes advantage of an athlete’s public persona through subversion. Griffin is usually stone-faced or arrogantly posturing on the court after huge dunks, but he’s built up a quiet niche as a funnyman on television. Just see this Grantland piece from March that discusses why Blake’s comedy is more complex than you might think. The only issue with Blake is overexposure, like, when his sponsorship brands debut separate commercials within the same week. His Jordan “Blake and Drain” spot, which alludes to MJ and Spike Lee ads from twenty years ago, is even better than the Footlocker commercial. And for that reason, “The Endorser” might get lost in the ever-expanding Blake Griffin commercial merry-go-round. Credits after the jump.
It looks like we’re in the same boat as Adweek on this one as BBDO has declined to comment and has referred all inquiries to Pfizer, which of course has yet to respond. But from what the tipsters have been telling for the last hour or so, the agency has nabbed the Viagra account from McGarryBowen, which has handled ad duties for Pfizer’s erectile dysfunction drug since the fall of 2009. We’re following up once again with Pfizer and will let you know, but if it’s all legit, this would be BBDO’s third account win in a month following Emirates and the ING New York City Marathon. Perhaps the Gillette loss is quickly becoming a distant memory after all.
Update: By now, you’re probably all well aware of the BBDO/Viagra partnership, and though it took a while, Pfizer has sent over this statement regarding its agency move:
“In Pfizer’s ongoing effort to seek improved operating effectiveness and efficiency, we investigated strategies to consolidate our Marketing Agency supply base across the product portfolio. After an objective and thorough assessment of operating models and supplier capability, Pfizer consolidated our brand marketing agency activity into three global holding companies: WPP, Omnicom, and Publicis.
mcgarrybowen (MB) has been an exceptional agency partner and has helped us generate substantial awareness of Viagra and executed high-quality programs on behalf of the brand. The decision to end our relationship with MB was only due to the Pfizer enterprise-wide agency consolidation. MB will remain on the business until the end of 2013. We value their creativity and partnership greatly.”
Sources in the know have confirmed that Mark Himmselbach and Teddy Lynn will be leaving BBDO. The agency has declined to comment on the matter, but despite what tipsters are saying, our sources tell us that the pair is NOT starting their own independent agency venture though they will be working together in some capacity. Both Himmelsbach and Lynn worked out of BBDO’s New York hub, with the former serving as EVP/director of digital strategy, North America for the last two years while the latter held the title of EVP/director of content.
From what we’ve been told, this will be their last week at BBDO. Prior to their most recent gigs, Himmelsbach worked at fellow Omnicom agency PHD while Lynn held content roles at the likes of UM and Arnold.
After less than a year away, Clemens Brandt has rejoined the fold at BBDO New York to serve as director of digital operations, reporting to director of integrated production Dave Rolfe and chairman/CCO, David Lubars. Last we heard, Brandt left BBDO last summer for a gig at B-Reel, specifically for the production company’s B-Reel Products division, where he served as executive producer in its New York office.
During his first stint at BBDO NY, which lasted approximately 18 months, the returning exec served as a VP/interactive executive producer on campaigns including the Will Arnett-starring holiday effort for AT&T and the Nokia Lumia 920. Prior to initially joining BBDO, Brandt served as an interactive producer at W+K London for three years.
We’ve been told that Brandt officially assumed his new role at BBDO NY this week and will now oversee the agency’s digital production, in-house digital studio (K5) and general BBDO digital operations. In a statement, Rolfe tells us, “We are very fortunate Clemens has returned. He’s the perfect guy to help steer our day-to-day approach toward better digital fluidity and integration. Connecting technology to idea and vice versa, getting the right teams in place and strengthening our digital production and tech staffing.”
Betty White, Joe Pesci, Robin Williams, and… Kenny G. Aside from picking the most odds-and-sods group of entertainers out there, Snickers and BBDO New York have a knack for choosing celebrities with just enough relevance for the “You’re not you when you’re hungry” campaign. The title for best Snickers jokester is a toss-up between White’s roughhousing football player and Pesci’s whiny wingman. The latest spot, “Cards,” won’t top its predecessors, mainly because Kenny G doesn’t speak throughout the whole clip, but you can always lose yourself in his patented melancholy saxophoning.
It’s strange to think that the first ad with White came out over three years ago, but these spots seem to have enough social support to keep on kicking, even as the celebrities get less celebratory. Maybe for the next one, BBDO could get all four celebs in one room at the same time – a group of hungry people who all need to eat Snickers. That way, we could get Pesci to look at Kenny G and unleash a “Who is this fuckin’ guy?” tirade. Everybody wins, even Kenny G, since he’d be in two commercials in the past decade instead of one. Credits after the jump.
After spending the last four-plus years at BBDO/Proximity, where he served as SVP/group planning director on Gillette, Emirates and Campbell’s, Collin Douma has moved on to fellow NYC-based agency, Publicis Kaplan Thaler. Sources familiar with BBDO confirm Douma’s departure, but PKT has yet to provide some clarification on the matter.
The now-ex-BBDO staffer worked primarily out of BBDO sibling, Proximity, working first at the agency’s Toronto office and then its NYC hub. Prior to BBDO, Douma has worked at the likes of Ford, Hill & Knowlton and MacLaren McCann. From what it appears, Douma is now leading global brand strategy for P&G’s oral care line including Crest, Scope and Oral-B.
Following the usual “competitive review,” BBDO NY and its sibling Atmosphere Proximity have been appointed as AORs for Emirates in North America. As a result of the airline’s move, which goes into effect August 1, Emirates not only extends a digital/social relationship with Atmosphere that’s lasted nearly a decade, but now adds BBDO to the fold as both agencies will collaborate on an integrated marketing campaign that’s expected to break late summer.
In a statement, BBDO NY president John Osborn says, “This is a great opportunity. An opportunity to build on the quality, leadership and footprint of the biggest international carrier in the world. We are thrilled to be partnering with Atmosphere Proximity to help Emirates achieve its aggressive sales goals.”
Prior to BBDO, Emirates (which is also kicking off a global media review) worked with Boston-based ISM on its North American ad duties. This marks the second win for the agency this week following its appointment as creative agency for the ING New York City Marathon.