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The Martin Agency

Martin Agency Cuts Some Staff

We’ve been yelled at all week on the Spy line about not updating what’s going on with cuts at the Martin Agency, so here you go. An agency spokesperson has confirmed that as of today, Martin’s Richmond, VA HQ has let go of 13 staffers (or two percent) of its workforce across departments.

As a result of Martin Agency’s move, the total staff count across Richmond and its NY outpost has decreased from 524 to 511. While not quite as severe as the six percent reduction last year, we’ve been told that this latest round is due to various things including clients cutting back, switching skill sets, etc. From what we’ve been told, the Martin camp is offering those affected by this week’s cuts severance, outplacement services and even an offer to pay the agency they’re interviewing with half of their first month’s salary, up to $4,000, if said agency picks them up in the next 30 days.

Martin Agency, Benjamin Moore Make Over Main Streets…with Help from Brad Pitt

“Main Street Matters,” The Martin Agency’s first campaign for Benjamin Moore since winning creative/media duties for the paint brand back in February, celebrates local businesses in the US and Canada. From today until June 30, users can visit paintwhatmatters.com and vote for a town to receive a Benjamin Moore makeover. Painting and renovations will then take place in 20 cities from July until May 2014.

Brad Pitt lends his simpering voiceover (can’t help but think of his Chanel ad) and star power to Benjamin Moore’s video spot, with lines like, “Drug stores that still make milkshakes with real ice cream…matter.” The video–a slideshow of old-timey American storefronts–isn’t exactly scintillating, but of course the idea of supporting local communities hits a soft spot in my small-town girl heart. Using digital outreach to revitalize mom and pop places is a smart, noble idea. I just wish the campaign’s design sense didn’t also need a makeover.

Credits after the jump.

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And Now, a Heartwarming Exchange Between an Agency Prez & CCO

This actually happened a few days ago, but we figured a good warming of the cockles was in order to kick off yet another work week. If you haven’t heard, Martin Agency president Mike Hughes has been battling cancer for some time now and began documenting what he’s going through under hospice care via his blog, “Unfinished Thinking (and now there’s a sister blog as well). Well, weeks after his writing commenced, his agency, led by chief creative officer Joe Alexander, sent some love back his way via the tribute site, “We All Love Mike.”

Well, the fond reciprocation has continued as of last week as Alexander sent this note to Hughes that perhaps provides a glimpse into their relationship and perhaps the culture at Martin:  ”Last year, I approached the St. Paul School Board about a scholarship in my dad’s name. He was a lifelong educator in St. Paul and really felt teaching was his “calling.” They loved the idea and I’m happy to say we have a first winner. It’s an annual award that will be given to a minority male graduating senior who has committed to majoring in education in college. Just thrilled about this. Wanted to share with you because I know how much you love this kind of stuff – and yeah – I love impressing you, too. That never gets old. Love you, Joe”

As one tipster says, “How many President-CCO relationships in advertising include promoting one’s charitable work, smiley face emoticons and telling each other I love you? Not enough.” Can’t say we disagree.

Pillsbury Doughboy Giggles for Geico

What?!? Is that the Pillsbury Doughboy being used in a non-Pillsbury advertisement? Is that even legal? This is a big deal! Wait, is it a big deal? I mean, it’s not like they’re competitors of Geico’s. You can’t insure your car with baking products and you can’t bake with car insurance. Wait, can you? No…no, you can’t. Yet.

What we have here is an ad-crossover of sorts, which, if you think about it, wouldn’t be that surprising if brands weren’t so super protective of their copyrighted material. You’d think that someone would learn a lesson from Who Framed Roger Rabbit? about that joys of allowing your brands to interact with others. So it’s refreshing to see Pillsbury play ball with Geico and The Martin Agency for a joke about the giggly little Pillsbury Doughboy getting the pat-down from the TSA on his way to a baking convention. Man, that little guy really loves being touched, huh? Credits after the jump.

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Martin Nabs Benjamin Moore Creative, Media Biz

Just over a month after reuniting with Timberland, Richmond, VA’s own The Martin Agency has won AOR duties for Berkshire Hathaway-owned paint manufacturer, Benjamin Moore. According to a statement from the paint brand’s CMO, David Melançon, choosing Martin, which will be tasked with handling North American creative as well as U.S. media buying/planning for BM, wasn’t too difficult. “… We wanted a partner who is highly collaborative,” he says. “It didn’t take much convincing for us to see that Martin is an ideal fit for us and has a proven track record of integrity and creativity.”

In making its decision, Melancon adds that Benjamin Moore opted to meet “quietly with a select few agencies, spending ample collaboration and brainstorm time with the strategic and creative teams” instead of going through the normal review process. According to the parties involved, Martin Agency, which takes over for Mullen on the Benjamin Moore biz, is already working on a print campaign for its new client that will debut this month as well as a full campaign that will roll out later this year.

W+K Alum Martinez Lands CD Gig at Martin Agency

W+K vet Jordi Martinez has headed to Richmond, VA to assume a creative director position at the Martin Agency. Martinez, who just started in his new role this week, will be “ applying his knowledge of the digital space” to various accounts and helping out with new business efforts at Martin, which of course currently boasts a client roster that includes Geico, Pizza Hut, Mentos, the JFK Presidential Library, etc..

During his five-plus years at W+K, Martinez worked out of both the agency’s Portland HQ and the Amsterdam office. While he was at the latter serving as creative technology director, Martinez spearheaded W+K’s Dam Armada unit, which was launched in 2011 and focused on digital solutions, programming and product development. Along with Dam Armada, Martinez worked on the Honda Insight “Let it Shine” Vimeo takeover from 2009 as well as the digital component of Nike’s multi-award-winning “Write the Future” campaign. Martinez’s new boss at Martin, CCO Joe Alexander, says of his new hire, “Jordi’s the complete package—a great talent and an even better dude. He immediately gives us deeper depth across multiple disciplines, especially creative tech.”

To the Wannabe and/or Budding QBs Out There, Pizza Hut, Martin Agency Salute You

Now that pro football fans are stuck in the two-week limbo between the NFL championship games and the Super Bowl (no one gives a shit about the Pro Bowl), let’s try to fill the void with something we overlooked last week that is, well, football-related. Here’s a new effort from Martin Agency for Pizza Hut called “Hut Hut Hut,” which as you can imagine, plays off the latter’s name while highlighting the standard call made by quarterbacks to get the ball rolling, so to speak.

Instead of hiring actual NFL stars, though, this somewhat inviting clip, which is part of Martin’s Super Bowl push for the the Hut, salutes the fans, whether they be high-school football players, average joes, parents and/or their kids. The web effort from Martin also happened to serve as a call for viewers to submit their own “hut hut” clips to Pizza Hut’s Facebook page in the hopes of cutting a user-generated version to air in time for the Super Bowl pre-game run-up. Unfortunately, deadline expired on Jan. 20, but we’ll see what agency and client came up with on Feb. 3. Credits after the jump.

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Martin Agency Renews Relationship with Timberland

After hearing this news, we’ve been unable to shake the sounds of Q-Tip busting verses about “Timbos on my toes” on Beastie Boys’ “Get it Together,” but yes, folks, this is indeed how it goes. After well over a decade apart, Richmond, VA’s own Timberland and The Martin Agency have reunited as the former has tapped the latter to develop cross-channel advertising for its outdoor  industrial work boot dubbed the Hyperion.

After a two-month, internally run review, Martin won out over a few undisclosed agencies for the assignment, and as a result, is tasked with strategic and creative development for Hyperion and first work for the line is expected to break in fall of this year. Regarding the Timberland–sorry, make that Timberland PRO–decision to hire Martin, which takes over for Mullen on the biz, the brand’s director of marketing, Susan Emerick, says in a statement, “After looking at several very fine agencies, we chose The Martin Agency because they demonstrated a deep understanding of our product and can bring the benefits of our work boots to life in a very strategic and creatively compelling way. In our category, people have an intensely personal relationship with their boots. We believe The Martin Agency team will harness that emotion and use it to help us build a great story with our end consumer.”

Timberland PRO wouldn’t disclose billings either, but as a result of its move, the brand renews a relationship with Martin Agency that initially spanned from 1997-2001.

Walmart Appeals to Crazy People for ‘Call of Duty’ Midnight Release

With the Harry Potter series of novels completed, the only products that can get weirdos to hang out in a store until midnight are video games. And, with the release of Call of Duty: Black Ops II coming next week, “America’s Chain,” Walmart, is trying to convince weirdos to specifically hang out in their store with this new spot from The Martin Agency.

Believe it or not, this spot was directed by Ruben Fleischer, better known to most as the director of Zombieland. For those that are unaware, a large portion of the Black Ops series is dedicated to killing and/or running from zombies. So, this selection actually makes a good amount of sense.

Perhaps even more shocking, Walmart enlisted the help of Academy Award-winning composer of The Social Network, Trent Reznor, to create the music playing in the background as our protagonist runs to safety. It’s strange to consider that Reznor, better known to most of you as that angry guy from Nine Inch Nails, is now having his “Theme from Call of Duty: Black Ops IIarrangement used to convince nerds to go to Walmart. But hey, Trent Reznor’s gotta eat just like everyone else. You don’t want Trent Reznor to starve to death, do you? Also, we can probably safely assume that Trent had no idea his music for the game would end up in a Walmart ad. Credits after the jump.

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Martin Agency Officially Bestows CCO Title Upon Joe Alexander

We were wondering why that sense of deja vu was creeping over us. Four months after first reporting that Joe Alexander was essentially replacing John Norman as the creative leader of the Martin Agency, the Richmond, VA operation has finally anointed the former as chief creative officer.

Suffice it to say that it’s been a pretty quick ascent to the Martin mountaintop for Alexander, who only in February was named ECD at the agency before succeeding Norman a few months later. Then again, perhaps it’s merited considering the new CCO has been with Martin Agency for nearly two decades. During his lengthy stay, Alexander has led creative on campaigns for the likes of Wal-Mart, UPS and JFK Library, most recently serving as CD on the “Clouds Over Cuba” online doc for the last client. At the very least, we’ve got a new headshot to use this time.

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