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WPP’s TAXI Begins Brewing New Relationship with Maxwell House

old maxwell house adThe year was 2010 when WPP rolled out the red carpet and doled out the cash for yet another advertising agency — TAXI.

The Toronto-based shop was bought to stand alone within the group and grow its own offices rather than merging with other units, according to Y&R Brands CEO Peter Stringham.

Apparently that was a good strategy: TAXI just wrangled itself a strong cup of the Kraft Foods empire with Maxwell House. Previously, the account was with W+K Portland.

The change comes only a couple of months after the coffee brand launched a new campaign called “Say Good Morning to a Good Day“; mcgarrybowen ran the account prior to W+K.

Seems that “the last drop” arrives more quickly each year. Stay tuned.

United Bids ‘Namaste’ to Global Travel

If you feel like getting in the multilingual mood, here’s a new spot from McGarryBowen for United Airlines dubbed “Pecan,” which features an assortment of languages including Italian, French and Japanese. The globe-trotting spot hypes the airline’s travels to Europe, Asia and Central America, starring one character who knows his way around foreign languages. It’s breezy, quick and painless and includes the classic “Rhapsody” theme, but we do miss the most recent United theme redux. Credits after the jump.

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Canavari Leaving McGarryBowen

SusanCanavariWe’ve received confirmation that after spending the last three years as executive managing director at McGarryBowen’s New York office, working primarily on JPMorgan Chase, Susan Canavari is leaving said agency to work for said client. Still confirming approximate position (something in the realm of brand building officer) with the aforementioned financial institution, but we’ve been told that a transition process is underway at McGarryBowen, which cannot yet name Canavari’s replacement.

Prior to joining McGarryBowen, Canavari, you may recall, spent four years at DigitasLBi, where she last served as EVP/marketing on all non-American Express accounts and led the latter agency’s Kraft Foods One team.

McGarryBowen Announces Kraft Singles Changes

McGarryBowen is behind a new campaign for Kraft announcing that the company has caved to pressure and made their Kraft singles line with “No artificial preservatives or flavors,” following similar changes to some of their macaroni and cheese products. For those interested, the specific change involves swapping out sorbic acid for natamycin, a naturally occurring anti-fungal agent commonly found in soil.

The campaign features three similarly minded ads, all of which show idyllic cow pastures that couldn’t be more different from the giant factory farms where Kraft actually sources its dairy. “Our story begins here, where we get our milk,” the spot “Dairy” begins. “Made” is similarly structured, while “Why” begins with the end of the story: the grilled cheese.

All three of the 15-second efforts employ simple animation to deliver their message in a way that’s designed to appeal to families that are concerned with what their children are eating (but not concerned enough to discover Kraft’s questionable dairy sourcing). It’s another baby step in the right direction for Kraft, who seem to be attempting to figure out how to appeal to an increasingly health conscious customer base while making their concessions as small as possible. The problem with leading with the wholesomeness of your product when you’re Kraft, of course, is that it opens you up for scrutiny. Stick around for “Made” and “Why” as well as credits after the jump. Read more

McGarryBowen’s Super Bowl Spot for Pizza Hut Features ‘Professional Baby’

In other pizza-related campaign news, what is a professional baby? How does one go about becoming a professional baby? At what point does an amateur baby turn professional? These and other questions come to mind after watching mcgarrybowen’s “Baby Waterskiing” spot from their #GoForGreatness campaign.

The YouTube inspired spot, which Whitehouse Post editors Tim Warmanen and Carlos Lowenstein sliced together for Pizza Hut’s YouTube-inspired “Go For Greatness” Super Bowl campaign (which also features the spot “Grandma Drummer”) shows several seconds of a baby named Ryder waterskiing before flashing the warning “Do not attempt. Professional baby.” At this point it becomes hard to pay attention to the rest of the ad, which promotes Pizza Hut’s new hand-tossed pizza, because how you can you not dwell on the “professional baby” disclaimer? The 30 second ad ends by inviting viewers to “Upload your greatness” to Pizza Hut’s YouTube page. Especially if you have a professional baby in the house. Stick around for “Grandma Drummer” and credits after the jump. Read more

Life No Longer Easy: Staples Changes Slogan to ‘Make More Happen’

I remember the Easy Button last being at all interesting about five years ago. People could actually buy a product that embodied Staples’ marketing strategy in Staples, some mixture of cool/scary meta-advertising that got old once you pressed the button more than 10 times. Staples has actually been running with “That Was Easy” for a decade, but McGarryBowen just retired it in favor of the less punchy “Make More Happen.”

Would you prefer your supply store to make things easy or to make more things happen? Rhetorical, but the rebrand is meant to change the perception of Staples as just an office supply store. The logo changed slightly, too, with the now-rotating “L” you can see in the new promo above that includes dog food, rain boots, paint brushes, etc. They sell dog food? Is this Staples or Walmart? It’s hard to tell. I’m not sure that’s a good thing, since Staples can’t do Walmart as well as Walmart can, but at least they’re trying to adapt instead of coasting down an easy route to irrelevance. Credits after the jump.

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McGarryBowen Makes Some Cuts

mcgarrybowenSpeaking of McGarryBowen, we’ve been swamped with tips this morning about cuts and now, we’ve received confirmation that the Dentsu-owned agency has cut approximately six percent of staff across departments on a global scale. From what we’ve been told, McGB houses approximately 600 staffers in the network, so you can do the math from here. Sources in the know tell us that the cuts were part of a restructuring as McGarryBowen is veering from traditional to a more digitally-focused agency in 2014. To address certain tips we were receiving, we’ve been told that United Airlines is still partnering with the agency, though the JPMorgan Chase digital consolidation at Publicis Groupe a couple of months ago did have some lingering effect.

Ed Norton Sings Karaoke, Almost Dies Several Times in New Droid Spot

This one’s been making the rounds for awhile now, but we thought we’d give some love anyway. McgarryBowen New York’s new spot for Verizion, “A Lot Can Happen in 48 Hours” features the talents of Ed Norton. It originally aired on December 5th, although it was posted to YouTube about a week before that.

In the spot, directed by Matthijs van Heijningen, Norton is thrown into a variety of dicey situations, with his Droid helping him get through most of them relatively unscathed. “A Lot Can Happen in 48 Hours” opens with Norton waking up to find himself in a strange room, with his Droid still at 3% power. “It’s been an interesting 48 hours,” Norton says, followed by a flashback. We then follow Norton through his series of misadventures, which begins with him finding a lost wallet and using Droid to find the location. This leads Norton to a karaoke bar, where he ogles a taken woman while singing “If I Could Turn Back Time” (the funniest part of the spot).

From here, Norton’s misadventures include attempting to land a plane, being held captive, having a key found in his stomach, playing a high-stakes game of Connect Four, and being held captive once again. Its everything-goes-wrong brand of humor borrows a little bit from The Hangover series, and although the spot seems to employ the kind of random connections Grey NY used in their 2012 DirectTV campaign, the superior execution helps keep it from feeling too easy or derivative. The spot uses a clever setup to promote the Droid’s impressive battery life, and then finds ways to showcase the phone’s other features in the process. This is certainly a far cry better than McgarryBowen Chicago’s disastrous “Denskies” campaign for Sears. Bonus points for the excellent use of a Lykke Li song. Credits after the jump. Read more

McGarryBowen Chicago is Back with More From ‘The Denskies’

Last week, we introduced you to McGarryBowen’s new “Denskies” campaign for Sears, and it wasn’t pretty. The spots employed a tired “There’s a better way to…” gimmick and random offensiveness without any real humor attached. Now there’s a new spot in the campaign,”Chupacabra,” and it’s pretty much more of the same.

There aren’t any mouth-raping squirrels in “Chupacabra,” but there is a chupacabra. The Denskie patriarch accidentally beams the chupacabra into the house with a teleportation device he created to get products the family ordered there sooner (that’s the “There’s a better way…” tie in for this spot). What the husband, or any rational viewer, doesn’t expect is that the chupacabra isn’t bent on destruction but rather takes a fancy to Mrs. Denskie. (What is it with McGarryBowen, Sears and bestiality?) This ridiculousness is played up with the wife still deciding between Mr. Denskie and the chupacabra, in a “To be continued…” ending for the 1:10 spot. I’m not sure who decided this (or any of the “Denskie” spots) needed a sequel, as I can’t imagine anyone clambering for more after watching “Chupacabra.” Maybe it was just easier to run with this concept than to come up with a new, random idea incorporating zoophilia. Credits after the jump.  Read more

McGarryBowen Debuts Three Ridiculous Holiday Spots for Sears

It seems that the fight for the craziest, most absurd holiday ad is in full force, with McGarryBowen Chicago being the latest agency to throw their hat in the ring with three new spots for Sears that introduce us to “The Denskies.”

While Draftcb’s currently causing controversy with its Joe Boxer jingle for Kmart (and let’s not forget the earlier Satan/Genghis Khan layaway spot), McGarryBowen makes that holiday effort seem tame in comparison to its “Squirrel Revolt” ad. It wouldn’t stand out from the other two “Denskies” installments, in its “let’s be as crazy as possible” humor, were it not for the line (assuming I’m hearing this correctly), “Oh god, it’s mating with my mouth.”

The aforementioned spot (which you can watch above, though you probably shouldn’t) begins with Papa Denskie explaining to his wife that he’s trained “those pesky squirrels” to cut coupons. Everything, though, soon goes haywire, the squirrels attack the man and elicit the crazy, over-the-top response from the above paragraph. (You know, the one where the guy gets orally raped by a squirrel with a rage boner.) If people were pissed off about Kmart’s “Show Your Joe,” I can’t imagine how they’ll respond to this one.

The other two “Denskies” spots for Sears have plenty of crazy to spare as well. In “Robo Granny,” the same man builds a robotic grandmother so that the family won’t have to go visit their real, living grandmother. Predictably, chaos ensues, dragging on for way too long, with the spot clocking in at 1:23 but seeming more like a 5-minute endurance test. Meanwhile, “Medium” sees agency and client portraying their subject as some kind of crazy, possessed witch lady. I’d almost feel bad for real mediums if it weren’t for the fact that they make their living by pretending to talk to dead people (sorry, Sylvia Browne, RIP). The message from Sears this holiday season seems to be the tired “Don’t do something crazy to save time and money, shop here” approach–just with the crazy pushed well beyond the point of reason. You can check out the other two after the jump, along with credits.

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