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Martin Williams

Martin Williams Launches Kill Kancer for Mary Beth Mueller

Minneapolis-based agency Martin Williams, fresh off rebranding Mall of America, has teamed up with Mary Beth Mueller (widow of Soul Asylum bassist Karl Mueller) in a campaign launching Kill Kancer, “a nonprofit aimed to raise awareness for preventable types of cancer.”

Following her husband’s death approximately nine years ago, Mueller started The Karl Fund at the University of Minnesota “to support breakthrough cancer research.” Kill Kancer is an extension of The Karl Fund, “a nonprofit positioned to inform the younger generation to take proactive measures on preventing cancer.”

“Cancer is the leading cause of death in Minnesota and since I have been personally affected by the terrible disease, I’ve made it my life’s mission to support the fight. After much research, I found there is a lot information on diagnosing cancer but limited information about prevention,” explained Mueller. “Through Kill Kancer, I hope to give our younger generation information that is useful to them concerning prevention as well as an outlet to have open dialogue about the illness.”

The backbone of Martin Williams’ campaign is the Kill Kancer website the team designed providing cancer prevention information and a community portal where visitors can post content. At the center of the site (and the campaign) is the above video, directed by Dan Huiting. The video features appearances from Minneapolis-based artists such as Slug from Atmosphere, Ashley Dubose from NBC’s “The Voice,” street artist HOTTEA, and rapper/community activist and teacher Toki Wright. Martin Williams will also be hosting a benefit concert for Kill Kancer today at The Cedar Cultural Center, including performances by by Dave Pirner of Soul Asylum, Silverback Colony, Communist Daughter, Willie Murphy & Special Guests, and Taj Raj. Irksome intentional misspelling of “Kancer” aside, this is an important campaign that differs from countless other cancer awareness campaigns by providing important information about preventative measures people can take to reduce the risk of certain cancers. Since most people don’t even realize there are cancer prevention methods, this is an invaluable cause that could do a lot of good.

“Pro Bono work is extremely important to us,” said Tom Moudry, CEO and chief creative officer, Martin Williams. “Working on Kill Kancer from the ground up has been an unforgettable experience, especially for someone who gave the Minneapolis music scene so much and was such a lovely guy.”

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Martin Williams Rebrands Mall of America

Minneapolis-based agency Martin Williams recently completed a rebranding effort for Mall of America, the nation’s largest retail complex in Bloomington, Minnesota.

“Mall of America is in the process of expanding and rebranding itself to reflect its vast and unique experience,” explained Tom Moudry, CEO and chief creative officer, Martin Williams. “We’re really excited to have been chosen to be part of this effort.”

The new television campaign focuses on the excitement possible from the array of experiences found at Mall of America, crafting two separate “best day ever” type narratives from the perspectives of visitors, while avoiding the use of the word “mall” — which we’re guessing is a key component of the rebranding campaign. Both spots are created to show a dizzying whirlwind of different experiences at Mall of America, with a short-attention span let’s cram everything in series of events that’s exhausting just to watch. The narrator has to talk really fast to even keep up. “A tiring day spending hundreds of dollars (at least) at Mall of America could get you laid” seems to be the message behind “Couple,” which ends with the line, “Who needs date night when there’s date day?” Okay, so that may be reducing things a bit, but there’s definitely the suggestion that a day at the mall cramming in countless shopping and dining experiences can spark some romance. Positioning a mall as romantic is a hard sell, to say the least, but Martin Williams does a passable job with that premise.

“Girls” meanwhile, shows Mall of America as the perfect place for a girls day out, which makes a bit more sense, although the execution comes off as a bit stereotypical. What do girls do at the mall? Get a crush on a bag; try on jeans, jeans, jeans; find some guys, ditch some guys; eat something and don’t remember what it’s called. (At times things get a bit insulting.) At least they ride the rollercoaster a couple of times for good measure. Both of the 30-second spots end with the “Always new” tagline, emphasizing the ever-evolving nature of the 4.2 million square-feet complex housing over 520 stores. Check out “Girls” below and stick around for some behind-the-scenes footage, along with credits, after the jump.
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Martin Williams Brews New Site for Charitable Beer Brand, Finnegans

Minneapolis-based, Omnicom-owned agency Martin Williams has crafted a new site for Minnesota-based brewing company Finnegans. What sets Finnegans apart is their pledge to donate 100% of profits to feed the hungry, an admirable deed for any company and (to our knowledge at least) pretty unheard of in the beer market.

Martin Williams VP/GCD Steve Casey said, ”…our biggest priority was making sure the brand’s unique mission was front and center,” and that’s certainly the case. The new site features an introductory video (featured above), as well as text explaining who the company is and what their unique mission entails: donating all of its profits to a community fund where it is used to buy produce from local farms that is then donated to food shelves to be distributed. It’s such a noble mission, it doesn’t even really matter if the beer tastes good. The video introduces the viewer to a cast of characters including Finnegans CEO Jacquie Bergland, Head Brewer Damian McConn, and Laura Frerichs of Loon Organics farm. If you have a spare 2:53, it’s worth it for for an uplifting look at a brewery making a positive impact — which is especially nice on a Monday.

Martin Williams‘ new site for Finnegans also offers up information and pairing suggestions for the two varieties of Finnegans beer, a calendar of events, a store locator, and lets you pick up all kinds of Finnegans gear. There are also opportunities to become a Finnegans intern or brand ambassador, as well as to volunteer or donate to Finnegans Community Fund.

While we couldn’t really say anything about the quality of the beer — Finnegans is only available regionally in Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota and South Dakota – we’d recommend picking up some Finnegans anyway, if you can find it where you live. How often can you feel good about donating to a worthy cause, while simultaneously getting your drink on? Let us know what you think of Finnegans beer, and their unique brand mission, in the comments section.

Redux Addendum: Martin Williams – Have They Lost The Plot

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Martin Williams press is on full steam. Choo-choo! WE HEAR THAT… today, the shop is laying off least 9 people with some staffers saying the total will go up to 15. Question is – who is doing the firing? We know that high level staff is out of office. Please… did they leave this to the HR lady to do? Crap. Craptastic.

“Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice…” We actually chatted with some high level folks at MW and we wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt, that we were getting full disclosure. Silly us. Silly cow.

We’re going to do a No Wukkas post before EOD for those who got the shit end of the stick today.

Addendum: Martin Williams – Have They Lost The Plot?

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More on the news that Martin Williams has lost the Cellular South account from a good reliable source.

It’s true. Cellular South has kicked MW to the curb and hired its third agency in about18 months. As we mentioned, the client is totes difficult and comes with a skittish CMO who is under enormous pressure to compete with the big boys and y’know how that goes. Forget strategy! Saynora agency!

Meanwhile, Martin Williams will be working on the account for Cargill, which has asked the shop to extend their US corporate brand campaign into Europe. To be fair, we failed to mention some of the agency’s other clients including agribusiness, Syngenta, three divisions of Pfizer Animal Health, Marvin Windows and Doors (MW has had the one for 28 years).

Aiight? Alright.

Martin Williams: Have They Lost The Plot?

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Word on the street is that Martin Williams lost the Cellular South account this past Friday. They’ve held the business since March 2007. Cellular South is known to be a notoriously difficult client, so maybe that’s all this is – a difficult client moving on. We’ll have more details for you later today.

What is clear is that the agency recently suffered a round of layoffs and that shop is holding onto somewhere around nine accounts including the pro-bono MediaWise, Payless, the low billing Timberwolves versus the $40M Hoover account.

What we also know is that the rumors circulating that Martin Williams will be merged with BBDO Minneapolis per an Omnicom mandate are totally false. Repeat, totally false. The agency has not totally lost the plot.

Lay-Offs At Martin Willams

There are big lay-offs and then, there are small ones, too. Minneapolis ad agency, Martin Williams, just laid off 14 staffers from across media, creative, operations, print production and television production units. The lay-offs came from across the agency, since let the “primary reason was to bring staffing resources in line with workload expectations on existing clients early in 2008.” We hope the 14 find themselves a new home soon, but that reasoning by the agency is the nature of the business, no? Martin Williams has Payless (see video above), Cellular South and Cargill, as clients.

Minneapolis ain’t an easy town for ad folk. The Star Tribune once said that:

“Agency chiefs acknowledge that advertising is, if nothing else, highly cyclical, and clients tend to change their chief marketing officers more frequently than the Minnesota Timberwolves change coaches.”

True. Things may improve for the City of Lakes, though that loss by Fallon surely hasn’t helped the city’s morale. Sigh.