It looks like KBS+P’s relationship with BMW has turned from temporary to permanent as the New York-based, MDC-owned operation has been named lead creative agency for the automaker’s North American business. KBS+P beat out Martin, Gotham, Cundari and Grey West for the account, which went back into play in March. Of course, it didn’t hurt that KBS+P had already been working on a national project basis for BMW ever since the latter’s former lead creative agency, GSD&M, resigned the account at the end of last year. Adweek has more on the matter here.
Sources familiar with the matter confirm that Allyson Witherspoon has left Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal + Partners. The exec spent the last four-and-a-half years at the agency and most recently held the title of group account director on BMW, specifically leading the automaker’s digital, social, emerging technology and CRM biz. The national creative account, of course, went into review back in March.
With Witherspoon out, we’re hearing stirrings from the grapevine that current KBS+P co-CCO Ed Brojerdi is stepping down and shifting posts at the agency to head of BMW North America’s account side–though our sources say that this is “absolutely not true.” Brojerdi oversaw creative for BMW’s Super Bowl work this year so he’s no stranger to the brand. Anyhow, we’ve been told that KBS+P is currently conducting a search to fill Witherspoon’s position so we’ll keep you posted when we find out who her successor is.
Many young college students see summer as an opportunity to hit the beach with their friends, spend the day at Six Flags Great America or to just lay on the ground and bask in the warm sun. However, there are other types of college students, those who would prefer to spend their days cooped up in an ad agency, looking wistfully out the window from time to time and sighing deeply while longing for the freedom and happiness that their peers are enjoying. For the latter weirdos, KBS+P might be the agency for you. You can either enjoy the reprieve from school or defiantly declare “FCKSMMR” and embrace the long hours of an advertising internship.
Computers! Speedy Internet! A/C! Vending Machines! Yes, at times, a summer at KBS+P seems to good to be true, but according to a video on the agency’s FCKSMMR website, it could be a reality. “It’s like heaven,” one of the KBS+P’s employees says. “We stay here all night!” And, they’ll even pay you for it! Crazy, but this is the world of advertising, and anything goes. So, young 20-something, ask yourself: are you going to let summer have its way with you, or are you going to join your pals at KBS+P and FCKSMMR?
Update: Currently, the above link for the FCKSMMR page is down. We’re contacting KBS+P to see what’s up.
Update 2: A source familiar with the matter tells us that the site was not actually finished and the link has been disabled because it went to an internal review site not for public viewing. We’ll let you know when it’s ready. It was fun while it lasted.
Now that Jonah Bloom has been finally made official as content strategy lead at KBS+P, the New York-based MDC agency is turning its focus to the creative department and hiring DJ Pierce as executive creative director. This actually marks a return trip to KBS+P for Pierce, who started his ad career as an art director at the agency.
Before returning to his roots, so to speak, Pierce spent the last four years at CP+B, starting as a senior AD then moving up to an ACD role in which he was part of the team responsible for Best Buy “Twelpforce.” Pierce was eventually promoted to CD and worked on accounts including AmEx Small Business. During his career, the creative logged time at JWT, DDB and Lowe’s New York offices as well as Fallon Minneapolis.
Joining Pierce in the ECD ranks at KBS+P is Chris Cereda, who has been promoted from creative director. Both ECDs will be working across a range of accounts.
KBS+P’s entrepreneurial chief digital media officer Darren Herman is the mastermind of agency’s new investment arm called kbs+p Ventures. Herman–who joined KBS+P four years ago and whose digital media firm, Varick Media Management, is also housed under the MDC umbrella–will serve as managing director of Ventures while maintaining his current post at Kirshenbaum.
The goal of this new unit is to back up early stage entrepreneurs and startups in the ad technologies, mobile and UX/UI sectors. Those who receive funding from Ventures will also be able to access resources from KBS+P and sister agencies within MDC. Ventures’ first investment is an on-demand realtime media intelligence platform called Yieldbot. The latter’s CEO Jonathan Mendez says in a statement, “Over the past five years or so, I’ve bumped into Darren at all different tech and advertising conferences. We struck up a friendship and when I started building YieldBot, he was one of the first people I met with to tell our story and he instantly understood it. We’re excited to have him and his firm on board.”
Steak ‘n Shake, the restaurant chain that was a godsend many a night for yours truly during the college days, launched a review recently and sources familiar with the matter confirm that Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal + Partners is one of the agencies pitching.
According to a report from AdAge just last week, Steak n’ Shake has basically been without an AOR for some time, working briefly with Zimmerman recently and the now-defunct Varnson Group before that in 2009. Previous to that, Steak n’ Shake worked with Young & Laramore from 1990-2008 . Kantar Media adds that Steak ‘n Shake–which is seeking its third agency in two years if you’re keeping score–has been upping its ad spend over the course of the last three years, spending about $17 million in U.S. measured media in 2009. Judging by Zimmerman’s stellar work for the brand (below), we’re shocked that Steak ‘n Shake put its creative account into play yet again.
In other KBS+P news, we’re hearing from tipsters that the agency has landed Super Bowl work for BMW, an account we previously mentioned that GSD&M is resigning by year’s end. We’re still awaiting confirmation on this.
After swallowing up fellow MDC shop Adrenalina over the summer, Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal + Partners has now gone and restructured the multicultural agency, giving it not only new leadership but a more feminine name: Ramona. We’re not sure whether to say aww, giggle or what, but regardless, the newly rebranded outfit will be led by Sandra Alfaro, former managing partner, director of account management at Vidal.
KBP+S’ goal with the rejiggering is to expand what was known as Adrenalina beyond the confines of a standalone specialty unit and offer a more integrated solution to better suit clients’ needs. Alfaro, who will take on the post of GM, multicultural at KBP+S, says in a statement, “Team Ramona will seamlessly integrate with their general market counterparts to offer Clients big ideas that are a total marketing solution from their inception. Today, we are all multicultural consumers and marketers who want to gain a competitive advantage will benefit from addressing this important consideration from the start.” Alfaro will be joined in the Ramona unit by creative director Ivar Rodriguez.
Richard Kirshenbaum must be a Libra. The man behind the moneyed television program “Creative Lunch” (a show where rich people dined on expensive lunches and expounded on creativity), has balanced himself out.
The KBS+P namesake was Friday’s WSJ Donor of the Day for creating a scholarship with the Torch program, which works with underserved New York City high school students. Camille Crawford, a freshman at Pace University, will be the first recipient of the $20,000 scholarship and summer internship at KBS+P. Congratulations Camille!
In case you missed it, the subtext here is Richard and MDC, which is also helping five additional students a year, are talking about supporting minority students. Why ?
“If you watch ‘Mad Men’ you can see how it was through the ’50s, advertising companies were almost like investment banks,” says Kirshenbaum. “As demographics shift, we need to have creative voices that are representative of these changes.”
Dear Richard you are so right! U.S. Agencies need to diversify, so that they can actually offer deep insights, while leveraging the changing cultural landscape of the United States for their clients. The ad world could use a little diversification across all disciplines from women to gender-bending Blasians.
So, um Richard? This means that you should probably take a closer look at your own staff. Over at the KBS+P website, one is able to see all of the company’s shining, happy employees. Let’s see here… There is a graphic artist and a very cute business manger, as well as a production billing coordinator and media payable manager working at the agency. All of these folks are clearly minorities. However, it’s disappointing to see that none of these people are in positions where those “creative voices” Richard was talking about would come into play.
That’s alright. We’re betting on Camille to bring a new generation of mixed-up culture to KBS+P. Right, Camille?
Do you want to support Torch? Find out more about the outstanding program here.
We assume this is a major topic of conversation amongst the MDC PR community, which is assembling in NYC this week. Miles Nadal‘s holding company announced that its Big Apple-based agency, Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal + Partners, is teaming up with sister shop Allard Johnson to create KBS+P Canada.
The rebranding will affect Allard Johnson offices in Montreal and Toronto, which serve clients ranging from Subway to Merck. KBS+P Canada’s leadership includes Allard Johnson alum Mario Daigle, who has been appointed president, while Allard Johnson CEO Terry Johnson will assume the role of chairman, KBS+P Canada and Cameron Wykes will take on the dual roles of president, BabyRobot and GM, KBS+P Toronto. On the creative front, Dan Pawych is now CCO of KBS+P’s Canada operation. All parties involved up north will report to KBS+P president/CEO Lori Senecal.
More: “Adrenalina Merges Into KBS+P“
Ever wondered what KBS+P partner Lori Senecal would look like with a Che Guevara beret? Well, look no further than the image above, which features MDC chief Miles Nadal applauding this painting that was presented at the agency’s “Blue Chairs” event that took place in NYC on Sept. 16.
One rather excited tipster tells us:
“The revolution continues at KBSP!!!…It was a day of sharing, laughing and of course drinking. Our brave leader, Lori Senecal, was even presented with a Che inspired poster in her likeness that read ‘viva la kbsp.’ Have a look at the photos and get a look at the agency of the future.”
More: “KBS+P Creatives Split for McCann“