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Digitas

Maurice Lévy Returns, Now with Balloons in Tow, for Publicis Groupe’s 2014 Greeting

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Maurice Lévy is back this year for the new Publicis Groupe New Year’s greeting. After toying with YouTube’s functionality last year,  the holding company, with the aid of their DigitasLBi France unit, has once again found a new way to make their greeting interactive.


This year, Publicis built their message around the theme of #TheMoretheMerrier in honor of their expected merger with Omnicom. To accomplish this, they’ve made it so “The more people that join in during the video, the merrier it will become.” So, what does that mean exactly? Well, if you watch the video alone, nothing special happens. But if you watch with a friend, Maurice Lévy will deliver his speech in a confetti storm. Adding more people to the mix will result in “gospel singers, cheerleaders, Chinese dragons and a few other surprises.” It’s a pretty cool concept, managing to be interactive in an intriguing new way.

 

To accomplish this, Publicis’ tech team developed “a fancy facial detection algorithm that allows a webcam to count how many people are actually watching the video together.” The facial recognition software was conceived by “a 21 year old Russian math genius” working for DigitasLBi France. The software is the “first of its kind to detect up to ten faces simultaneously” while the video plays. “The More the Merrier” is the first video to count the number of viewers, rather than views, on YouTube. That’s a lot of technological firsts for a New Year’s greeting. By the way, in case you were wondering, it takes 1,487 balloons to cover Maurice Lévy.

Credits after the jump. Read more

DigitasLBi Crafts Gesture-Based Retail Experience for Sprint

How do you take attention away from the fact that you were recently declared the worst cellular network in a consumer report? If you’re Sprint, apparently you get agency DigitasLBi to work with you to create a gesture-based, interactive retail experience. Because that’s the future: being able to shop online without having to use a pesky mouse and keyboard. But where to unveil such a creation? What is an event where people would see the Sprint name and not know any better?

Sprint will unveil the new “Shop. Hands Free. In 3D.” experience during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week in Las Vegas, tomorrow, Dec. 6. This follows on the success of the pilot unveiling, during NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race weekends at the Chicagoland in Septmber, and Kansas Speedways in October. NASCAR fans seemed pleased with the Sprint’s new magical technology, as evidenced in the above video.

So how does it work? Well, according to the announce, “…users move their hands through the air above a Leap Motion controller, which displays their actions onto a large screen ahead.” But wait, that’s not all. There’s a podium. A branded podium. To appeal to Nascar fans, DigitasLBi created “an eye-catching branded podium to house the technology.” Those who tried out the shopping experience then “supply their email addresses to receive their picture from the virtual photo booth as well as a link to the items they browsed.” Combining technology used in next-gen gaming with a theme park-esque photo service, that’s their strategy, because Sprint is “more than just a wireless company,” according to Sprint Program Manager Lane Allison.

Perhaps I’m being a bit hard on Sprint. After all “Shop. Hands Free. In 3D.” is sort of an intriguing prospect, if only for the novelty value. It’s just that this does absolutely nothing to repair Sprint’s damaged reputation. Since most people now view Sprint as something of  a joke, maybe that’s what they should be working on. Or maybe Sprint is just for NASCAR fans now.

 

Figliulo Joins Forces with Team Sprint

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Four months after parting ways with TBWA\Chiat\Day New York, where he was replaced as creative chief by Matt Ian, Mark Figliulo is now collaborating with Team Sprint–Leo Burnett, DigitasLBi and MediaVest– via his new agency, Figliulo & Partners. From what we’ve been told, “Bringing in new partners and ideas who complement an already strong multi-agency team, is both healthy and consistent with the dynamic needs of brands, consumers and the marketplace.” From what sources tell us, Figliulo will continue working out of New York City with a focus on broadcast. During his career, Figliulo, who replaced Gerry Graf at Chiat NY, served as chief creative officer at Y&R Chicago.

DigitasLBi, Search Guys Part Ways

briandigitasWe’ve received confirmation that DigitasLBi has lost a couple of search marketing leads, mainly Jon Kagan and Brian Hemhauser, who served as associate director and manager/search marketing, respectively at the agency. Kagan, who spent nearly three years at what is now DigitasLBi, has joined up with a firm dubbed Results Digital as director of search/biddable media while Hemhauser has taken an unspecified role at WPP/GroupM-owned unit, MediaCom.

Richman, Bokariya Part Ways with DigitasLBi Chicago

chetanbWe’ve received confirmation of tips we’ve received that both Claudia Richman and Chetan Bokariya, formerly SVP/regional operations director for San Francisco/Chicago and VP/architect, mobile technology, respectively, are no longer with DigitasLBi. From what we’ve been told, Richman actually departed a few weeks ago while Bokariya’s last day is today. The former is now working on her own consultancy after spending 15 months at Digitas. During her career, Richman had fairly lengthy senior-level stints at Tribal DDB and Energy BBDO. Bokariya, meanwhile spent a couple of years on the technical side at Publicis Groupe’s mobile unit, Phonevalley before joining DigitasLBi.

Digitas Snags Reed from Energy BBDO

reeddigSources familiar with the matter confirm that Chris Reed, who’s spent the last eight years at Energy BBDO, has moved over t0 DigitasLBi’s Chicago office, where he now serves as EVP/account management. Reed now heads up the account team on DigitasLBi’s Whirlpool account as well as Maytag and Kitchen Aid. From what we’ve been told, Reed assumed his new post as of last week. Along with his lengthy stint at Energy BBDO, the account exec also spent a couple of years at Y&R during his career.

Power to Replace Neinhaus at DigitasLBi/Team Sprint

davinpowerhomeThis little tidbit trickled into the tips box over the weekend and now, sources familiar with the matter confirm that Brian Nienhaus, who’s spent the last year as SVP/account management and Team Sprint relationship lead at DigitasLBi Chicago, will soon be leaving his post. From what we’ve been told by sources, Nienhaus is going to “explore other [opportunities] within agency and the broader holding company.”

As a result, he’ll be succeeded come mid-November by Davin Power, who has served as EVP/global client services director for nearly two years on SC Johnson at fellow Chicago-based agency, Energy BBDO. Power, a 20-year ad vet, has had fairly lengthy stints on the account management side at the likes of O&M New York, Havas Worldwide NY and Grey prior to joining . As for Nienhaus, the account exec had similar roles at similar notable agencies including Y&R, JWT, Grey SF and Cramer-Krasselt during his 25-year career.

Here Are Tony Weisman’s Thoughts on Bjorkman’s Departure

lincolnbjorkman1As you may have heard this morn, Lincoln Bjorkman, who moved up to the big chair as CCO of Digitas North America three-and-a-half years ago, will join Wunderman effective Nov. 11 and report to Wunderman chairman and CEO Daniel Morel. In his new role, Bjorkman will oversee the creative efforts of 60 offices in 170 countries for clients including Coke, Shell, Land Rover, Microsoft, Nokia, and Dell among others. According to the Wunderman camp, Bjorkman is only the second global creative director in Wunderman’s history. London’s Steve Harrison first served in the role (2006-2007). Anyhow, the unicorn whisperer that is Tony Weisman, CEO of DigitasLBi North America, reflects for a bit on Bjorkman’s departure below:

“Lincoln Bjorkman shared with me that after ten remarkable years with us, he has decided to leave DigitasLBi for another agency. He will be with us for a couple of more weeks.

What to say, what to write.

When I look for writing inspiration, I often pull up Lincoln’s famous emails. Each shares a piece of news worth writing about. Each written with an artful dose of humor that brings smiles across our faces. Each frothy with authenticity and love for the subject. Each uniquely Lincoln.

I won’t talk about Lincoln’s credentials. They stand like skyscrapers on their own. And, anyone who knows Lincoln knows well that the very last thing he likes to do is praise himself. He much prefers giving the warm spotlight to others. Again, uniquely Lincoln.

Instead, I simply want to say thanks to our resident gentleman, soulful writer, exceptional creative talent, music lover, tireless perfectionist, rock star manager, artist, a tennis player with an awesome forehand, and champion of our formidable creative team that he helped build, nurture and grow. I want to thank Lincoln for making “the work, the work, the work” at the center of why we come to the office every day. I want to thank Lincoln for elevating our creative muscle earning us award-winning, record breaking  creative streaks.

Lincoln, you crushed it at DigitasLBi. We’re just sayin’.

Our very, very best to you.

Tony Weisman
CEO, North America”

 

Departing Digitas Staffer Turns MC, Pens Hip-Hop Love Letter to Agency

“Dear Digitas, this will be my farewell, even though I’m gone, I’ll always hope that you fare well” is the poetic hook in this hip-hop farewell from an as-yet-unknown staffer who’s obviously moving on–but not without waxing nostalgic about account management, making sandwiches in the break room and other hardcore shit. Our lyrical genius even has a sidekick who sings the hook, just for added dramatic flair we imagine. Should Digitas–sorry, DigitasLBi–be flattered or embarrassed by this sentimental shout-out? We’re not sure, but somehow, we made it to the very end, though not without a little chuckle here and there. See if you can do the same while we just sit here crossing our fingers that this heralds an agency rapper renaissance.

DFCB Alum Maerov Assumes GCD Post at DigitasLBi

digitascornIf the name Jeff Maerov, doesn’t ring a bell, perhaps you might better know him from his his output over five years at Draftfcb Orange County, where he served as SVP/GCD on, what else, Taco Bell. On said account, Maerov helped lead creative on campaigns including the “Live Mas” rebranding and the subsequent “Operation: Alaska” effort. Well, the creative exec has now moved on and went eastbound (not down) to DigitasLBi, where he has now assumed the same title in the agency’s Boston office. In his new role, Maerov will lead creative teams on clients including Goodyear, Dunkin’ Donuts, and more,  reporting to DigitasLBi Boston/Detroit ECD Rob Rizzo in the process.

During his career, Maerov also tallied a decade’s worth of work over two stints as a creative at Y&R New York and even penned his own children’s book Boca Buddies on the side.

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