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Grey, Ketchum Auction Off Red Sox Beards for Gillette

Beard Ball

After forever tainting beards and depressing me by winning the World Series (disclosure: I’m a Baltimore Orioles fan), the Boston Red Sox said goodbye to their playoff-grown facial hair in a mass “Shave Off” at Gillette World Shaving Headquarters on Monday, November 4.

If you’d like to commemorate that event, you’ll be glad to know that the “Gillette Fusion ProGlide razors that were used to shave each champion beard,” as well as the beards themselves — called beard ball trophies — are up for auction on eBay thanks to agencies Grey and Ketchum. It’s kind of gross and creepy, but at least it’s for a good cause. All of the proceeds for the auction are being donated to Movember, the global mens charity raising awareness and funds for prostate health through the growth of November mustaches that you may have read about here this month. If you’re interested, you can bid on Shane Victorino‘s beard ball here (the current bid is $1,550), or World Series MVP David Ortiz‘s beard here (current bid 3,050). “I’m glad that the beard that helped me throughout the series can now help raise funds for a great organization like Movember,” said Ortiz.

Gillette senior brand manager Hooman Shahidi says of the Red Sox shavings, “their facial hair has been the symbol of the team since spring training and became part of baseball lore. We hope the shavings help raise awareness for important men’s health issues and find good homes with passionate fans.” I know this is for a good cause and everything, but I’m trying to imagine the type of fan who spends thousands of dollars to obtain and display the facial hair of their favorite player, and “passionate” is not the word that comes to mind.



Grey NY Cuts Some Staff


No memos this time around, but while sources tell us that Grey New York is still the agency partner of Radio Shack, the latter has had some financial woes that have now cost the former 45-100 staffers in its Big Apple hub. We’ve been told this equates to approximately four percent of the agency office. According to those in the know, there was an all-staff meeting earlier this afternoon letting Grey crew know the situation. Sources add that no one will be laid off until January but the agency just wanted to inform its staff (we hear 1,100 strong and counting) and tell them it’s working to place those affected across WPP. On a positive note, we hear that Grey NY has added 350 staffers this year (a few of which we’ve covered as you know) and is continuing to add to its digital team. Grey picked up the Radio Shack biz in spring 2012 following a six-month review. The electronics retailer previously worked with Sausalito, CA-based BSS&P.

Mellors Leaves, Myhren Ascends to Worldwide CCO at Grey

torthumb1Grey Group CEO/chairman Jim Heekin just announced a big leadership change at the agency this afternoon. Of course, we do have the memo, but the gist of it is that Tim Mellors, who’s history with Grey dates back to 1998 and who’s served worldwide creative director at the agency since 2007, is parting ways while Grey NY president/CCO Tor Myhren will assume the role of worldwide CCO of the agency network along with maintaining his management post in the Big Apple.

Anyways, Heekin’s memo, which includes memories of Mellors during his lengthy stay at Grey, is below. Read on:

“I wanted to share the news with you that Tim Mellors, Vice Chairman and Worldwide Creative Director of Grey Group, and the founder of our Grey Global Creative Council, has decided to leave while he’s on top since the word “retirement” is not in his vocabulary.

In 2007, I charged Tim with the critical mission of raising Grey’s creative quality and profile around the world.  What he has accomplished is the stuff of legend, surpassing everyone’s wildest expectations, and mostly, our own.  Under his creative leadership, together we have built Grey into a vital, stimulating, confident, winning agency which is respected and increasingly feared by others.

Tim has been a unique, and inspirational, evangelist for Famously Effective work.  He has identified and recruited world-class talent and mentored rising stars from Beijing to Rio.  Ever the free spirit, he’s done it with passion, joy and humor.

Tim came into the Grey orbit in 1998 when we bought his successful agency, Mellors Reay, in London.  After a sabbatical in 2003, we coaxed him back a year later as President and Chief Creative Officer of Grey North America, based in New York, before assuming his global responsibilities.
Earlier in his career, he set London on fire at Saatchi & Saatchi, creating breakthrough work for British Airways, launching the Independent newspaper and catapulting Margaret Thatcher and the Conservatives into power.  Along the way, he worked at Publicis, GGT, FCB London, DDB and Lintas, amassing 15 Lions, 5 D&AD Pencils, the Grand Prix at the European Advertising Festival and serving on every major worldwide award jury.

While rising to the pinnacle of our business, Tim has managed to be a magazine journalist, a commercial film director, a BBC TV host, a trained psychotherapist, renowned photographer, painter and poet and it’s only Wednesday.

One thing is sure, we will never see his like again.  Please join me in thanking Tim for his vast contributions to Grey and wishing him much happiness as he conquers new worlds.

Importantly, I am very pleased to announce that Tor Myhren will assume the role of Worldwide Chief Creative Officer of Grey, leading the Grey Global Creative Council, in addition to his management role at Grey New York.

Tor has played a pivotal role in the ongoing success story of our flagship, Grey New York.  We have transformed our talent ranks, creative product, digital prowess and new business fortunes, achieving our sixth record year of financial and creative performance in 2013. In his new role, he will have the opportunity to evolve this culture of innovation across our global footprint.

A natural leader and team builder with an intuitive feel for work that captures pop culture imagination on a global scale, I’m confident he will build on the momentum we have achieved and help make us the undisputed leader in our industry.

Please give him your congratulations and full support as we take the next big leap.

GREYgroup | Famously effective since 1917
Jim Heekin, Chairman & CEO”

Here’s the Memo Regarding Grey’s Hasbro Win


And now, a little change of pace on the Grey memo front. Michael Houston, who was elevated to CEO of Grey NY this summer, takes the reins to send word out to staff about the agency picking up a major portion of the business for toy/board game giant Hasbro, which counts brands including Marvel and Transformers. According to reports, Grey beat out the likes of Droga5 (Update: We’ve been informed Droga5 was not involved) and Mother for the business. Anyhow, while we await the next GCD announcement, let’s give Mr. Houston the floor to discuss his agency’s second major win in as many months.


“Hello, Grey New York.
While we’re barely two weeks into Q4, I’m confident we can already claim 2013 as our best year yet. As if the Gillette win and our organic growth aren’t sweet enough, we’ve received the amazing news that Grey New York has won a sizable share of Hasbro’s brands. Hasbro is a true leader in worldwide innovation, a bold marketer that is, and continually strives to be, best in class. Beyond their stellar business acumen, our new clients are also great people to be around: savvy, fast, inquisitive, and demanding yet unafraid to have fun and laugh. Perhaps this is why they were named by Fortune as one of the “100 Best Companies to Work For” in 2013. Believe me, these are our kind of people.

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Tor Myhren Will Give Away One Possession a Day for a Year

tor1Yep, in case you haven’t heard, Grey NY president/CCO Tor Myhren, man of many memos has been profiled in Time for his rather generous offer, that being valiant and giving one possession each day, every day for a year. This is pretty generous, we must say, and according to our favorite memo writer, what he dubs “The Purge Project” goes like this: “This is not a commentary on consumerism,. The Purge Project was just for me. To see what I really wanted, and really needed…Frankly it has been a very selfish experiment.” We say good on ya, matey.

Grey New York Plugs Features, Kills Cat for Ally in New Spots

Grey New York aims for the funny bone with two new spots for Ally Bank, but they mostly miss the mark.

The more humorous of the two spots, “Nothing Hidden,” (featured above) opens with a man asking an Ally representative if Ally really has no hidden fees on savings accounts. He mentions that he’s worried about “hidden things.” When the representative asks why, he flashes to a series of memories of his father attempting to hide the fact that he’s a crime boss. It’s not exactly laugh-inducing, but also not bad enough to induce frustration or anger. Or maybe I’m just in a good mood today.

The second spot, “New Ways,” tries harder and makes a lot less sense. A woman speaking to an Ally representative asks if it’s true that she can reach Ally 24 hours a day, but there are no branches. She tells the representative that she’s “really reluctant to try new things.” When the representative asks why, we get another series of flashbacks. Like I said, this one makes a lot less sense, and tries a little too hard to be zanily funny. (Why would anyone tell a robotic dog to drink water?) The spot is also less successful in that the Ally feature it talks about doesn’t tie in as well with the flashbacks. Plus, people like cats; they don’t want to see them die on TV.

Credits and cat-killing spot after the jump.  Read more

Yep, Grey Adds More GCDs to Fold, This Time a Cannes Gold-Winning Pair

While we await the next Carter Murray memo to Draftfcb staff, Grey makes a comeback with yet another pair of additions to the group creative director position. The New York office of the latter WPP agency has now welcomed  Nick Pringle and Steve Wakelam as GCDs. The Cannes Gold Lion-winning duo hail from DDB Sydney, where they were creative directors on Volkswagen. Anyhow, Tor yet again has word on the new arrivals.

“I am psyched to say they are now GCDs at Grey, running the Febreze, Ally and P&G Global Corporate accounts.

Friends for the past 15 years, Nick (left/bald) and Steve (right/hair) have worked together, moved countries together and had a baby together. Well, Nick and his wife had the baby, Steve was nearby with hot towels. As for their advertising careers, they have taken a less than traditional route. In fact they both started out as account guys, decided they wanted to make stuff, moved into creative and spent 8 years in various London agencies including Leo Burnett, BBH and CHI. They then packed up and headed to Australia, where they spent five years as the hottest team Down Under, running accounts like Volkswagen, Virgin, Wrigley, Levi’s, McDonald’s and Boag’s Draught. It was in Australia that they developed a powerful integrated approach to building brands through all things digital, mobile and experiential as well as film and print. Next it was on to NYC, where they spent the past 6 months as GCDs helping start up and launch Goodby Silverstein’s office here in the city.

Nick is a wheeler-dealer urban art collector, an averagely good swimmer and has recently taken up woodworking. He grew up in Kent, England. His first introduction to the business was packing 20,000 copies of ‘Ogilvy on Advertising’ in a factory in Maidstone. After walking out with a copy concealed in his pants, he decided to get a job as an account man in London. His time as an account guy at DMB&B ended after three years when he moved into the creative department. For all of 2012 Nick was ranked the number 2 creative in Australia. I think this means they actually rank their creatives in Australia, which is weird. But hey, if you’re gonna be ranked, being number 2 in the entire country ain’t bad.

Steve was once the drummer in a band that got to number 175 in the UK charts (selling 72 singles), has been halfway through writing a book for 5 years now, and has a fetish for watches. He grew up in Marlow, England. After a short and unremarkable stint as an account manager, he switched to being a creative. Always a keen writer, he ignored his passion and became an art director instead. The rest, as they say, is history. He’s since picked up every award known to man, and for all of 2012 Steve was ranked Australia’s number 1 creative. This, I’m sure, pisses off Nick to no end.

These guys have helped build smart brands through all medias, while cleaning up in all the major award shows including Grand Prix at the CLIOS, Grand Prix at the Spikes, four yellow pencils at D&AD, and three golds at One Show to add to their five golds at Cannes. And that’s just in the last few years.

I strongly suggest you check out their work at, then come say hello to our new team.

But wait, don’t say ‘hello.’ They’re English and kind of Australian. So say something like ‘Good day, matey!’ or ‘Cheerio,’ which Wikipedia says is considered friendly and more informal.



Collins Latest to Assume GCD Post at Grey NY

So what did I miss? Oh yeah, this. Shit. Oh well, after about a week away from the action, yours truly is back and ready to roll, so what better way to shake the rust off than, you guessed it, reporting about another Grey NY group creative director appointment. The latest to assume to said title is one Michael Collins, the self-proclaimed “creative tsar” who’s been with Grey for over a decade. By our count, Collins is the seventh creative to make GCD at Grey since the agency first adopted the title a month ago. We’re thinking they’ve taken to it. At this point, you know what to expect after the jump, folks, read on.

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Grey Welcomes Lee St. James as ECD

Yes, you read that correctly, Grey NY has now hired an executive creative director–not group creative director for a change this month–in Lee St. James. Prior to joining Grey as its newest ECD, St. James spent several years as a senior creative at Publicis New York on brands like UBS and Sanofi as well as a half-decade as SVP/CD at Saatchi & Saatchi NY. We rather appreciate the portrait shot of the CLIO/Effie/ANDY-winning St. James, who you can find out more about in, yes, another memo from you know who below and after the jump.


“We’ve got a new ECD in the house. His name is Lee St. James, and he’ll be partnering with Dave Cohen to run all GSK brands. Lee will also help with a lot of new biz pitches moving forward.

Lee has run big brands and helped spearhead creative change at great agencies like TBWA/Chiat/Day, Publicis and Saatchi & Saatchi. He understands global branding, and what it takes to create big creative platforms that work across cultures and regions. Pepsi, Jet Blue, P&G, Tylenol, Wall Street Journal and Amstel Light are a few of the brands he’s guided.

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Grey NY Continues GCD Appointment Spree

In case you needed further proof that Grey New York has fully embraced the group creative director title, the agency has appointed yet another pair to the position this week, namely Elaine McCormick and Fran Sheff-Mauer (pictured l-r). The creative duo has been working together for over a quarter-century and for the past several years at Grey NY, picking up Cannes Lions, One Show prizes and Effies along the way. As if you even have to ask at this point, yes, we’ve obtained the memo sent to staff from you know who that offers some insight into the agency’s latest GCDs as well as their remit. Maybe we should just create a separate tips box at this point. Anyhow, check it out if you’d like after the jump.

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