Sources familiar with the matter confirm that Organic has cut staff in San Francisco and Detroit as a result of the Hilton search/media loss last fall. No numbers have been provided yet, but from what sources say, it’s a “small percentage” though the layoffs affected multiple departments. While we hear the results range anywhere from single to double digits, no approximate numbers have been provided as of yet. We’ll keep you posted on the Omnicom agency’s happenings as soon as we know.
Well, that was fun while it lasted. Immediately after receiving tips about Organic’s “Ugly Sweater” holiday card, the Omnicom agency decided to pull it down because it’s now “awaiting final approval” according to sources familiar with the matter. Yes, that is CCO Conor Brady posing in his holiday Cosby sweater and…oh, just see the rest after the jump if you’re so inclined. Unfortunately, the site as it was was “not supposed to be live” but you can get a gander at a couple of screen grabs to know what you’re in for. We’re assuming a sanitized version will be re-upped shortly. Kudos, though, for, um, the cajones. Update: Looks like it’s back up and running.
Organic’s Brad Mancuso, who led creative on the harrowing Darren Aronofsky-directed “Meth” work, has been promoted to ECD at the agency. Mancuso (pictured) has spent four-and-a-half years at Organic and has also led digital campaigns for Intel, PlayStation and Bank of America among others. Prior to Organic, Mancuso served as VP, senior art director at Leo Burnett, where he actually spent over nine years and was involved with the Cadillac re-launch as well as efforts for Pontiac, GM, Samsung and Nintendo.
While we’re on the Organic promotion front, we thought we’d also mention that Andy McKinney, who’s worked at the digital agency for just over a year as executive director, engagement management, can now add VP to his title. Before Organic, McKinney spent time on the account side at the likes of AKQA, Grey and Hal Riney.
Warning:The above and below spots are of a graphic and disturbing nature. If viewed at work, wear headphones and attempt to keep the shocked gasp volume low.
If there’s one film that could scare fifth graders away from drugs forever, it would be director Darren Aronofky‘s 2000 drama, Requiem for a Dream. Perhaps no other major motion picture in history better captured the horror of heroin and speed addiction, as we watched the film’s characters lose their dignity, limbs and sanity due to a heavy reliance on drugs.
One could argue that Requiem is the ultimate anti-drug PSA. (Some even argue that the director’s most recent hit, Black Swan, could be seen as an anti-ballet PSA, or at least an anti-Natalie Portman PSA.) So, when agency Organic and prodco Wild Plum were looking their next celebrity director to helm the camera for a new series of spots for the Meth Project, Aronofsky’s name was undoubtedly at the top of the list. After all, the Meth Project “aims to reduce first-time meth use with its hard-hitting and graphic portrayals,” and it doesn’t get more graphic than the above attempted suicide spot, does it?
Aronofsky has created four absolutely terrifying spots for the campaign, and perhaps even more shocking than the spots themselves is the fact that they will, apparently, actually air on TV. I mean, how does one get back into their regularly scheduled episode of Gossip Girl after seeing a young boy about to give sexual favors to a stranger in a hotel room to support his crippling addiction (above)?
If the creative brief from The Meth Project read, “Scare children to the point that they will never want to leave the house again,” then bravo to Organic and Wild Plum. In four 30-second spots, they somehow made meth less appealing than that entire horror movie-esque second season episode of Breaking Bad. View the rest of the spots here and the Meth Project’s new website here. Credits after the jump.
Sources familiar with the matter tell us that after a review, Organic lost a piece of its business for Hilton Hotels. Specifically, the chain has gone elsewhere for a search/media provider and from what we hear, it’s still staying within the Omnicom umbrella. Organic, which did compete, is still handling efforts for Hilton including brand work, website, digital and analytics. The Organic/Hilton partnership is mostly run out of the Detroit office and when pressed, the agency referred all inquiries to Hilton. We’ll let you know when we hear back.
To follow up on yesterday’s news regarding layoffs at Organic’s New York office, we’ve received this official comment from the agency (yes, “realignment” is the catchphrase of the year):
“In an effort to address client needs, Organic’s New York office is realigning positions in our creative and technology departments. Though it is difficult to part ways with long-term members of our team, we continue to upgrade the skill- and experience-sets of existing talent, as well as recruit and invest in talent, to deliver the best service to our client roster.”
Sources close to the agency add that the number was half of what was originally mentioned and that Organic NY is “hiring to service a client base that now includes the Hartford,” which is an account that the agency recently won.
We’ve been receiving tips from various sources since late yesterday afternoon about possible layoffs at Organic’s New York office. While we look into the matter and try to get some concrete numbers (tipsters are saying approximately 10 cuts, both in creative and tech departments), what we can confirm for now is that executive creative director Gary Nelson is no longer with the agency. Nelson had been with Organic for five years, give or take, starting as an ACD, then moving up the ranks before finally being made ECD just over a year ago.
During his time at the agency, Nelson worked on accounts including Bank of America and various P&G brands. Prior to Organic, he had copywriting roles at Wunderman and Agency.com. Here’s a clip of Nelson from a few years back discussing a State Farm digital campaign among other things. We’ll keep you posted when we get some more info about the other cuts.
Because you surely need to know, we’ve been told by sources familiar with the matter that there will soon be a general management shift at Organic’s New York office–but from what we hear, it’ll move at a slower pace than a Merchant/Ivory film. Anyhow, Minna Rhee, who joined the Omnicom agency just over four years ago (during the Mark Kingdon era) from Razorfish, will be leaving her post within the next few months and will be replaced by Amy McAllister, who has served as SVP, engagement management at Organic since January 2010.
Prior to joining Organic, McAllister served as a senior partner, executive marketing director at Ogilvy but spent most of her ad career (10 years) at Digitas as SVP, marketing. We haven’t been told what Rhee’s next move is as of yet. Continue waiting on pins and needles.
The loss of Bank of America continues to have a ripple effect on Organic, as the agency has confirmed that it’s cut 22 staffers across all departments in its New York and San Francisco offices. As we reported earlier this month, the Omnicom-owned agency’s Toronto office is in the process of shutting its doors thanks to BoA’s desire to cut ties with Organic and get closer with Starcom earlier this year.
We’ve received confirmation from the Organic camp that the Omnicom agency’s Toronto office will be shutting its doors “later this spring” (spies say it could be as soon as the end of this month). The main reason: The loss of Bank of America (its biggest client), which decided in January to expand its relationship with Starcom, thus ending a five-year alliance with Organic. A spokesperson for the agency adds, “We are sad about this and trying to handle this as compassionately as we can.” The total number of staffers at the Toronto office wasn’t disclosed. The Canadian operation was opened in 2000.