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Grey

Grey Toronto Examines ‘Lockdown’ for Moms Demand Action

In a new PSA, Grey Toronto (with production support from Untitled Films, Saints Editorial, Eggplant Music & TopixVFX) examines a school “Lockdown” drill in the wake of the tragic Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America (also known as Moms Demand Action).

The harrowing PSA, of which there is a 60-second broadcast version as well as the 90-second version featured above, depicts the harsh reality of school lockdown drills that have become the norm in many schools following the Newtown, Connecticut school shooting which approaches its two year anniversary on December 14th. It is affecting because it gives viewers the perspective of students and teachers as they go through the drill. As students hide under desks, their teacher reminds them to be silent. Ominous music plays as the camera shows the scared faces of the children, interspersed with audio clips announcing things like “37 school shootings so far in 2014″ and “almost 100 school shootings since Newtown.” When the lockdown is finally revealed as a drill, viewers share in the relief felt by the teacher and her students.

The PSA was revealed today at a press conference on Capitol Hill, along with a report documenting the “at least 95 school shootings” since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Among those in attendance at the press conference were “elected leaders, gun violence survivors and gun safety advocates.”

“You may not have heard about all of these shooting incidents on the national news, but when a lockdown is announced over a school intercom – for whatever reason – it strikes fear across the community,” said Shannon Watts, founder of  Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “We will not allow the constant threat of gun violence at our schools to become the new normal – it’s time our elected leaders take a stand for the safety and future of our children.” Read more

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Grey London Creates Adorable ‘Christmas Choir’ for McVitie’s

Grey London created one of the more off-the-wall Christmas spots you’ll see this year with “Christmas Choir,” promoting McVitie’s Victoria cookies.

In the spot, a family sits around on a sleepy holiday evening when the father decides to open up a box of McVitie’s biscuits. Upon opening the container, a chorus of tiny, adorable animals begins barking, meowing, quacking and otherwise vocalizing to the tune of 80s hit “Only You” by Yaz. The chorus of cuddly critters is, clearly, meant to evoke the happiness evoked by digging in to a box of McVitie’s (in this case punctuating a case of holiday doldrums), but that’s not important right now. What’s important is that around the 44 second mark a tiny narwhal whale emerges from the depths of a punch bowl. For that, Grey London, we thank you. Read more

Staffing Cuts at Grey New York

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This morning we can confirm that Grey New York notified “under 30″ staffers that their employment with the agency will end in January.

The cause of the reduction is client Eli Lilly, which recently decided to consolidate work for one of its many pharmaceutical products under an alternate agency on its roster.

Grey has worked with Lilly for nearly 20 years and won a greater share of the business from G2 back in 2012; its Grey Healthy People unit, launched in 2011 to handle a growing roster of related brands from Lilly, Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline and others, continues to operate (though the name itself has been retired).

Despite reductions that seem to have touched all departments, the agency’s relationship with the client will, for the most part, continue unaffected. The move concerns the diabetes drug Humalog, and Grey will retain other Eli Lilly brands including its best-known product, Cialis.

In a statement, Grey says that it chose to give employees advance notice in order to help them find new positions as soon as possible, noting that its New York office is currently “over 1,000 people strong” and that it has hired 75 new staffers in 2014.

At the moment, we do not know which agency will handle the diabetes work moving forward. Updates as they come in.

Grey NY Introduces Yet Another Rob Lowe for DirecTV

Grey New York has introduced yet another Rob Lowe in its ongoing campaign for DirecTV.

Following on the heels of “Painfully Awkward Rob Lowe,” which apparently drew some criticism from shy bladder sufferers, the agency has returned with the self-explanatory “Scrawny Arms Rob Lowe.” The formula is the same as in previous spots, with Rob Lowe introducing himself as a DirecTV customer before a more unfortunate version of himself, who also happens to be a cable customer, comes along for comparison. In the new spot Scrawny Arms Rob Lowe watches ping-pong on a small screen and attempts to open a jar of mayonnaise. Like previous ads, it ends with Lowe saying “Don’t be like this me.”

While it may be that the series is running out of steam, “Scrawny Arms Rob Lowe” just seems like the weakest of the bunch so far. Whereas “Super Creepy Rob Lowe” and “Painfully Awkward Rob Lowe” found convincing ways of tying Lowe’s alter egos to the inferior quality of cable, “Scrawny Arms Rob Lowe” feels like an empty gimmick. Let’s hope Grey can up the ante with the inevitable follow-up and recapture the potential of this campaign. Read more

Nestle USA Shrinks Digital Agency Roster to Eight

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In a story that somehow slipped through the cracks here yesterday, Nestle USA shrunk its digital agency roster to eight shops, following a lengthy review which the company launched in the spring to “streamline the agency roster and increase the impact of the company’s digital efforts,” AdAge reported.

The review covered Nestle USA brands, excluding Purina, Gerber and Nestle Waters, which are part of a separate Nestle division. Agencies left standing are 360i, Deep Focus, Huge, Grey, Resource/Ammirati, Threshold Interactive, SmithBrothers and Swift. Read more

Grey NY Documents ‘The Rise of See Forever’

Grey New York teamed up with Whitehouse Post and Carbon VFX to document the rise of One World Trade Center and promote One World Observatory, set to open in the spring of 2015 in “The Rise of See Forever: One World Observatory.”

In the 50 second video (featured above) the visual history of One World Trade’s rise is pieced together from hundreds of crowdsourced Instagram images. Reminiscent of a flipbook, the images flit across the screen, documenting the eight year construction of the structure in under a minute and ending with a 360 degree view of the building as it morphs into the One World Observatory logo and the line “See Forever.”

“The Whitehouse Post team and I have watched One World Trade being built from our office since we moved in six years ago,” said Executive Producer Lauren Hertzberg in a press release. “It has been an absolute honor for all of us to work on this project with Grey.” Read more

Grey NY Gets Painfully Awkward with Rob Lowe for DirecTV

Last month, Grey New York debuted a new campaign for DirecTV, introducing the world to Super Creepy Rob Lowe and Less Attractive Rob Lowe in the process. Now the agency is back with a follow-up effort, this time contrasting DirecTV spokesman Rob Lowe with cable subscriber Painfully Awkward Rob Lowe.

The new 30-second spot follows in the same cringe comedy formula as its predecessors. Like Less Attractive Rob Lowe, the new character has made some questionable choices about his appearance, including winged hair, a fanny pack and khakis hiked up to Urkel height. He also doesn’t do well around other people, as, after commenting that you have to wait forever for cable providers to show up he notes, “I hope it isn’t a girl…or a guy.”

With the success of the previous ads, it was only a matter of time before Grey rolled out a successor, and it looks like we can expect more from the campaign as well. According to Adweek, there are “at least two more spots from Grey New York” on the way, begging the question, which Rob Lowe will we see next? Read more

Grey London Names Nils Leonard Chairman

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Grey London announced yesterday that Chief Creative Officer Nils Leonard is being promoted to the role of chairman. Leonard will continue on in his previous role while also being tasked with driving innovation across the company.

Leonard first joined Grey London back in 2007, becoming an executive creative director and then chief creative officer at the agency. Prior to Grey London, Leonard served as head of art/creative director at United and senior designer/art director at Abbot Mead Vickers BBDO. Prior to that he spent five years as head of art/design at Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R. Among his best-known work at Grey London is Vodafone’s “Kiss” and McVities recent campaign featuring kittens and puppies, which Time magazine called “the cutest thing ever put on television.” Read more

Andreas Dahlqvist Joins Grey NY as CCO

Andreas DWunderman isn’t the only New York agency to name a new chief creative officer today. This morning, principals at Grey NY announced the hiring of Andreas Dahlqvist.

Dahlqvist, who co-founded DDB Stockholm in 2004 and served as ECD/managing partner there for several years, most recently held the titles of vice chairman, McCann New York and deputy global CCO for brands within the larger McCann organization (which he joined in 2011).

He also served as global CCO at the GM-focused Commonwealth//McCann, and his name appears atop all of that agency’s latest campaigns. His most memorable AgencySpy appearance to date occurred as part of the dress-alike project “Partnerganger,” which may or may not have been inspired by the Ogilvy tumblr “Work Twinsies.”

The release tells us that the new CCO, who has won “every major creative award,” will oversee Grey’s entire 500-strong creative department. President/Worldwide CCO Tor Myhren writes:

“Few people in this industry have done what Andreas has…started his own agency from scratch and built it into the best digital agency on the planet.”

Dahlqvist will report to/work closely with Myrhen and North American CEO Michael Houston.

Memo from those two after the jump.

Read more

Grey NY, Ad Council Launch ‘Healthy Mouth’ PSAs

With Halloween and its accompanying sugary assault on young teeth just over three weeks away, Grey New York and the Ad Council have released a series of “Healthy Mouth” PSAs reminding parents to make sure their kids practice proper oral hygiene.

The PSAs are based on the insight that despite tooth decay being the “single most common chronic childhood disease” (yeah, we weren’t aware that it qualified as a “disease” either), a recent Ad Council survey found that 75 percent of parents admit that their kids sometimes forget to brush. So to show parents that just two minutes a day of making sure their kids take care of their teeth can make a lifetime impact, Grey New York crafted a series of PSAs about things you can’t teach your kids in two minutes. It’s a clever approach, and highlights just how little effort is needed on the part of parents to ensure proper oral hygiene. In one 30-second spot (featured above), a man gives his daughter a crash course on bike riding. In other spots a man spends 30 seconds teaching his child manners and a woman attempts to teach her son to cook. Read more

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