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Digitas

Boston Future 4 Competition Brings Together Creatives, Startups

It’s that time of year again: the annual 4A’s Institute of Advanced Advertising Studies (IAAS) contest is here, meaning up-and-coming creatives will get a chance to put their education to work for some lucky new clients. This year, however, the client will be a startup. And for any Boston-area startup looking for some free and improved publicity, you can enter here. A committee will whittle the entries down to four finalists. The four finalists will then have to create a pitch that tells a unique story about why that startup should be selected. There will be a live event and then an after-party and then booze. And then, voila. Advertising.

The contest, like most similar competitions, gives off some whiffs of free young-people labor, but that might not be all that upsetting or unusual in the startup world. The deadline for initial entries is October 1.

Digitas Loses a Couple of Execs

Yes, we have a couple DigitasLBI execs that have left the branch. According to spokeperson for the agency, Rich Tobin, SVP of operations for North America, and Paul Gorrell, chief talent officer for North America have resigned from the agency in the last week. No word on Tobin’s exact dates, but we’ve been told that Gorrell’s last dayis September 30. Regarding Tobin, Digitas says, he’s leaving to “join Waltham, MA called Lionbridge. Over the last 13 years he’s been an exemplary employee, and we wish him nothing but the best in this next phase of his career.”

Meanwhile, we’ve been told that Gorrell is leaving to focus on his talent management and career development consultancy. No word yet on the title, but we’ve been told by Digitas that “we wish him the very best in the continuation of his impressive career.”

Taco Bell Recruits YouTubers to Promote New ‘Fiery’ Flavor

For the pre-launch and launch phases of the new Fiery Doritos Locos Tacos (DLT), DigitasLBi created an ambitious digital and social campaign involving young YouTube influencers. Taco Bell gave chosen creators early access to the new flavor and, 13 days later, incorporated the resulting videos in the official flavor launch. Of those video creators, the top 20 were chosen to compete in a second challenge: in 24 hours, they had to complete the entire filmmaking process, culminating in a promo centered on “taking a bite of the new DLT.”

It’s an interesting idea: harness the audiences of independent YouTube stars, gaining social media cred and creative content in the process. In practice, it’s less impressive. Watching the creator content, I had flashbacks to high school health class, when we had to make video PSAs about safe sex. Every Taco Bell “spot” has the same contrived, amateurish feel.The Alexa Losey Flip Book was cute, and “Selena Stalker” was fun mostly due to the actor’s hoodie and his little eating sounds. Otherwise, color me bored. Even reading this campaign’s press release left me overwhelmed and uninterested – if Digitas wants to build excitement around a fiery flavor, they should at least tell Taco Bell’s audience where to look. They could have hired three ambitious YouTubers, given them a bigger budget, and created actual worthwhile entertainment instead of clogging the space with cobbled-together content.

Your Friday Image: Weisman, ‘Unicorn’ Usher in DigitasLBi Era

As you may recall, a few weeks ago, the Publicis Groupe agency now known as DigitasLBi unveiled a new logo complete with a unicorn (see Vine intro clip below). Despite a few folks scratching their heads about it, DigitasLBi apparently remains undeterred in celebrating their new magical, mystical mascot as you can see above. The image was posted on Facebook earlier this week and features DigitasLBi North America CEO Tony Weisman and, yes, a pony dolled up as a unicorn. You can just feel the enthusiasm though none more so than from the guy dressed like a conductor standing behind them. Where was our invite? Anyways, happy Friday!

Taylor Moves on from DigitasLBi Atlanta

We’ve received confirmation that Lange Taylor, who’s spent the last nine years at what is now DigitasLBi, serving as SVP/managing director of the Atlanta office for the last three, has resigned from the agency–and apparently the ad world altogether. Here’s a quick statement from a spokesperson that somewhat clarifies things: “Lange Taylor has decided to explore professional opportunities outside of DigitasLBi. While it is possible that Lange may reunite with agencyland in the future, whatever direction his passion brings him, we wish him our collective best.”

No word yet on his next venture or who’ll take over his duties in the interim as of yet. If you recall, Taylor’s role changed somewhat last fall when he was tapped to head up a new, Atlanta-based Publicis Groupe unit called Agency:D7, which we’ve been told is still in operation. We’ll hopefully find out who’s taking over on his dual roles soon enough.

Kevin Drew Davis Leaving DigitasLBi

Sources familiar with the matter confirm that Kevin Drew Davis, who has spent nearly two years as executive creative director for both the San Francisco and Chicago offices of what is now DigitasLBi, is leaving “for a post at another agency.” No word yet on what the new gig is, but we’ve reached out to Davis himself, who we’ve been told is leaving DigitasLBi the week of August 12.

KDD joined the agency in fall 2011 after spending 18 months as EVP/group creative director, digital at Draftfcb Chicago. During his career, Davis also spent six years as global interactive CD at W+K on everything from Nike to ESPN to Coca-Cola, served as SVP/director of digital strategy at Publicis Dallas/Seattle and let creative teams at the likes The Richards Group and GSD&M. From what sources tell us, DigitasLBi is seeking a replacement.

Westcott Joins DigitasLBi, Which Has Also Unveiled a New Unicorn-Led Logo

We’ve received confirmation that the Publicis Groupe entity now known as DigitasLBi has brought on former Energy BBDO vet Jani Westcott as VP/group director, creative strategy in its Chicago office, where she will work with Team Sprint and on the Emerson account among others. Westcott spent well over five years at Energy BBDO as VP/account planning director and lead strategist on accounts including various Wrigley brands, Bayer and Ziploc. In addition to Westcott’s hiring, we’ve also received word from sources that the DigitalLBi Chicago office has parted ways with Carolyn Frazier, who spent nearly five years at the agency and worked for both the Windy City and San Francisco branch as VP/group director, client operations and project management lead

If we can kill a few birds with one stone here, DigitasLBi’s Instagram account is now alive and kicking, with images including the new logo (clip above) and other happenings throughout the network. Have at it if you please.

Keeler Assumes SVP/Creative Post at DigitasLBi Chicago

After spending barely a year at Ogilvy Chicago, Laura Keeler is shifting gears and moving on to assume the SVP of creative post at Digitas’ Windy City office, where she will lead creative teams on the agency’s Whirlpool and Kao accounts. During her brief stint at O&M, Keeler worked as a creative partner for clients including UPS and SC Johnson corporate. Her new boss, Kevin Drew Davis, who took on the ECD post for Digitas LBi Chicago and San Francisco in fall 2011, says in a statement,  ”Laura is an impressive creative leader with an eye for big ideas. Her strong creative skill set and innovative storytelling makes her a great fit with our people—we’re thrilled to have her onboard to drive our client work to an even higher level.”

During her 20-year ad career, the Chicago native spent well over a decade at JWT, last serving as a senior partner/CD/writer for clients including Illinois Bureau of Tourism, Kimberly-Clark and Macy’s before splitting in 2007 for a gig at Draftfcb. She spent five years in all at the latter agency, leading creative on accounts ranging from Dow and SC Johnson to Nestle and Blue Cross Blue Shield.

Bielby, Digitas Part Ways

Just nine months after assuming the EVP of North American planning post at Digitas, sources confirm that Leslie Bielby is parting ways with the agency to grow her independent strategic planning and research consultancy. A spokesperson tells us, “She has been a strategic force and leader for Digitas during her tenure here, and we wish her only the best in this pursuit and the future partnerships that her consultancy will attract.”

Bielby joined Digitas from Hill Holliday, where she spent six years overall and last served as chief strategy officer for the Boston and New York branches. During her career, the exec also held planning positions at the likes of MMB, Merkley+ Partners and McKinney. In case you need some clarification , Bielby’s position as EVP, North America planning at Digitas is different and distinct from that of Baba Shetty‘s. The latter, of course, rejoined the agency world last week–Digitas specifically–as chief strategy and media officer after a brief stint as CEO of Newsweek/The Daily Beast.

Shetty Returns to Agency World, Takes CSO Role at Digitas

After a brief, nine-month spell as CEO of Newsweek/Daily Beast, Baba Shetty has rejoined the ad industry, assuming the role of chief strategy and media officer at what is now DigitasLBi. From what sources tell us, Shetty will officially assume his role in mid-August and will work out of the Boston office, reporting directly to Digitas North America CEO, Tony Weisman.

Prior to his most recent gig in the publishing world, Shetty spent seven years at fellow Boston-based agency Hill Holliday, where he last served as chief strategy officer and worked on accounts including Dunkin’ Donuts, Liberty Mutual and Bank of America. During his career, the returning ad exec also served as a managing director at Fallon and worked on the client side in marketing/comms at BMW early on.

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