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Draftfcb, Chief Digital Officer Part Ways

After spending nearly five years at IPG-owned Draftfcb, first as EVP/group management director, digital and the last year-plus as chief digital officer, Chris Miller is leaving the agency. Sources familiar with the matter tell us that Miller, who worked out of the Chicago office, has resigned for a post at pharmaceutical company, Abbott Laboratories. Prior to Draftfcb, Miller spent four years at the now-defunct Windy City operation Element79, where he last held the same role as CDO. Sources say Draftfcb does not plan to fill the chief digital officer role.

Kmart, Draftfcb Wrangle Da Rich Kidzz for Back-to-School Track ‘My Limo’

For their new back-to-school campaign, Kmart and Draftfcb have wrangled Da Rich Kidzz, a rap group from Minneapolis aka the young geniuses behind “Hot Cheetos and Takis.”  In their new release, “My Limo,” Da Rich Kidzz give shout-outs to their school bus, their calculators, and of course, the first day of school. The chorus goes, “My school bus is my limo/I rule back to school with my cap on and my brim low.”

This spot comes after Kmart’s “Yo Mama” video, in which playground kids used the classic insult to compliment one another’s mother’s back-to-school shopping choices. The clincher: “Yo mama’s so fiscally responsible, she got all that on free layaway.” Previous to that, we got a pun-laden diptych in the form of “Ship My Pants” and “Big Gas Savings.”

If Da Rich Kidzz’ spot succeeds in making K-Mart a cool elementary school shopping destination, then power to them. Anything to make the first day of school less nerve-wracking. “Hot Cheetos & Takis” caught on with the young crowd, so maybe “My Limo” will too. But it’s also possible that, like Jay Z with Samsung, the commercial overload will leave a bad taste in consumers’ mouths. And if Da Rich Kidzz are really up and coming, this spot might arrest their creative momentum, forever branding them the K-Mart Kidzz.

Here’s the Memo Regarding Draftfcb Chicago’s Biz Dev Director Shift

As noted above, we’ve just obtained the memo from sources regarding a changing of the guards on the business development side at Draftfcb Chicago. After spending a decade at said agency, most recently serving as VP/biz dev director, Jamie McGarry is moving on. Taking over in the role of what is now SVP/group management director, new business development will be 15-year DFCB vet Sue Redington. You can read the full memo from Draft Chicago president Michael Fassnacht, CCO Todd Tilford and Redington’s direct boss, group management director Mark Bellissimo to staff after the jump.  As for McGarry, sources say that she is headed to O’Keefe Reinhard & Paul, which was launched in Chicago earlier this year by fellow Draftfcb alums Tom O’Keefe and Nick Paul as well as ex-Amazon exec Matt Reinhard. Anyhow, read on if you so choose.

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And Now, An Update on DFCB SoCal, Part II

Here’s an update to our update from last week. We just had a chat with Rahul Roy to get some clarification on a new wave of tips we’ve received this week regarding the state of Draftfcb’s Southern California operations. First and foremost, Roy, the nearly 10-year DFCB vet who was promoted three weeks ago to managing director of said region for the agency, tells us that the new, Venice, CA-based operation will now be known as Draftfcb LA.

The Irvine branch, meanwhile, will serve as a field office that will still house administration, creative and account folks among others. From what Roy tells us, his goal is that by no later than August 1, the Venice office will house 80 percent of SoCal staff and the Irvine office, 20, though there’s some flexibility for folks in the latter. Roy says that if they want to stay in Irvine, they can stay put but the idea is to be in the Venice office two days a week.

As far as the cuts last week in the West Coast, numbers weren’t disclosed, but despite what tipsters are telling us, Roy says the staff count in Southern California remains north of 30. During it’s Taco Bell heyday a few years ago, max staff count in Irvine was at 60 according to the exec. While we’re the on the subject, Roy says that Draftfcb LA currently has three “huge” creative projects in the works for its main client. We’re not sure if there will be a part III to this saga at the end of next week, but we’ll post if so.

DFCB Montreal Asks Hockey Fans to Slapshot Support for Canadiens

The Montreal Canadiens bowed out in the first round of the NHL Playoffs this year, losing 4-1 to the Ottawa Senators. Making things worse: Montreal was a No. 2 seed that lost to a No. 7 seed. It turns out that a recent interactive outdoor experience near the Bell Centre not only gave fans a chance to show off their slapshots, but it also could’ve improved the product on the ice. How many mediocre sports movies have been started this way? A team underachieves, a fan of that team goes through some transformative process and gets to reveal supernatural talent. Rookie of the Year, anyone?

The interactive setup comes from DraftFCB Montreal, MEC Canada, Thinkingbox, and Coors Light. During the first round of the playoffs, 299 fans had the chance to hit a slapshot and watch the computerized result on a huge screen with customized graphics. The idea isn’t all that different from a radar gun at a minor league baseball game, albeit with some super-duper technology. Fans were encouraged to share their experiences on social media (again, not all that different in today’s world). But hey, it’s beer and hockey for Canadians, so you get the idea nobody thought too hard about it and just had fun…until their team lost.

Credits after the jump.

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Draftfcb NY Welcomes Florio Along with Jordan as GCD

A week after announcing the hiring of BBDO NY alum Kevin Jordan as group creative director, Draftfcb New York has found a second person to assume said title. In a memo sent to staff around noon yesterday, DFCB NY CCO  Javi Campopiano revealed that the agency has brought on Renata Florio as a fellow GCD. The newest hire, who indulged us in a Super Bowl quickfire Q+A this year, most recently served as CCO at Grey Group’s Hispanic agency unit, Wing. We’re checking to see what accounts each new GCD will be working on, but in the meantime, you can read Campopiano’s note below to find our more about the pair if interested.

“Hi all,

You might have already met them in some corner of our offices but in case you haven’t, let’s officially say hello and welcome to Kevin Jordan and Renata Florio, our newest creative department SVPs and group creative directors.

Kevin was most recently at BBDO New York, where he was responsible for remarkable campaigns for AT&T and GE. Before that, he worked at Havas Worldwide where he was one of the creatives behind the highly successful and awarded Dos Equis “The Most Interesting Man in the World” campaign. (He insists that the idea is somehow based on himself. We’ll soon see.)

Before Renata came to the U.S. to be the creative leader at Grey’s Hispanic marketing agency called Wing in September of 2011, she worked at some of the best agencies in her native Brazil, including  BBDO, StrawberryFrog, Saatchi & Saatchi, Publicis and DM9DDB, where she was part of the team that helped the shop to be “Agency of the Year” at Cannes. She’s been a part of some of the most recognized campaigns of the past few years, including the mega-awarded “Windows” for FedEx. Her experience in the U.S. general market includes campaigns for clients like Red Lobster, Radio Shack and P&G.

So let’s say welcome and boas-vindas (pronounce bowushbeendus) to both of them.

More to come soon.



AD/’Ghost Owl’ Sprays Some Cool Onto Draftfcb SF

I bet your office lobby – if you have an office lobby – doesn’t look as artistic as the new and improved office lobby for Draftfcb SF. One of the agency’s art directors brought in local graffiti artist Ghost Owl to freshen up the lobby with a staggering wallscape. As ad folks often do, Draftfcb SF turned non-client work, and in this case, office redecoration, into a creative endeavor. There’s a short video showing how Ghost Owl worked his ghost magic with the spray cans, a cool watch if you want to see how he layers and shades colors up close. A bumpy hip-hop beat plays over the clip, completing the woozy old-school West Coast feel. I’d be willing to bet that E-40 approves of this Bay Area collaboration.

Credits after the jump.

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Here’s a Quick Update on the State of DFCB SoCal

Well, despite what tipsters and those we know have been saying ad nauseum over the last few days, we’ve been told by parties involved that “any suggestion” that Draftfcb’s West Coast SoCal operation is no longer working with Taco Bell “is wrong” (Seattle and SF offices are not in play here). After all, the agency did just bust out this ad campaign this week for the fast-food chain for better or worse. But anyhow, the Draft camp has updated its announce from two weeks ago regarding the revamping of its SoCal agency structure, offering the statement below:

“Last month we announced that Rahul Roy would be taking on expanded responsibilities as the managing director of our operations in southern California.  He is partnering with Eric Springer and Michael Bryce, former creative partners at Deutsch L.A. who joined the agency several months ago as chief creative officer and executive creative director respectively, to revamp our operations there.  While we will keep a small service office in Irvine, we are shifting the heart of our business to new offices in L.A. so that we can tap into a deeper talent pool for the benefit of clients like Taco Bell while attracting new business.

Our latest new hire is Sandip Vadher, who has joined the agency as SVP, group planning director; he succeeds Ken Muench. Sandip had most recently held the same role at Pitch. He has deep QSR experience, working with clients like Burger King and McDonald’s over the years.  His keen strategic thinking has also benefited clients and brands like Microsoft, Target, Coke Zero and Samsung.

While a number of our Orange County people are now assigned to work in L.A., the decision to retool our operations in southern California means that we also need to part ways with some talented people. They were informed of this decision Wednesday. We are doing all we can to provide a smooth transition to those who are affected; we deeply appreciate their contributions to our agency. In the long run, we believe these strategic shifts should fortify our business in Southern California.”

We’ve inquired about number of staff affected and headcount as a result of Draftfcb’s SoCal restructuring. We’ll keep you posted.

Taco Bell is Excited About Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Tacos, Therefore You Must Be, Too

Hey, did you know that Taco Bell’s Doritos Locos tacos now come in a Cool Ranch variety? Of course you did, and you and your 20-something-year-old friends are probably celebrating in a parking lot or pool hall right now according to this spot from DraftFCB. “By golly, what a wonderful new offering,” you thought to yourself. “I should throw a Doritos bag containing a taco to my similarly aged friend across town. That is what I shall do.” And then you did.

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DFCB, Kmart Continue to Make Puns, Offer ‘Big Gas Savings’

When DraftFCB and Kmart released their spot “Ship My Pants” last month, it was lauded far and wide as shot of adrenaline for both the retail brand and the Chicago office of the agency. Sure, it was silly, considering the spot’s entire charm rested on the fact that “ship” can sound like “shit,” but it was still a funny and delightfully unexpected execution for brand not known for taking risks.

After “Ship My Pants” racked up a whopping 17 million+  YouTube views, it would be foolish to switch up a formula that’s proven itself on such a grand scale. So, we now have “Big Gas Savings,” a new spot which tries to recreate the lightning-in-a-bottle success of its predecessor. Now first off,  it lacks the unexpectedness of “Ship My Pants,” not to mention that “gas” and “ass” is a bit further of a reach than “ship” and “shit.” And, of course, “shit” is a far funnier word than “ass.” Also, advertising discounts on gas might not be the best way to get people into your store. In other words, no, this doesn’t live up to “Ship My Pants,” but really could it?

Kmart was left with two options here when it became clear that they had to stick to an execution they knew would bring in viewers. The first, which they went with, was to use a different swear word. The second, which may have worked better, was to continue going with “shit” and come up with new jokes. This isn’t to say that “Big Gas Savings,” isn’t better than 90 percent of ads out there. In fact, it’s still a very enjoyable watch. It’s impossible to hit it out of the park with every swing, and a single sure isn’t anything to be ashamed of. Credits after the jump.

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