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We Hear…

We Hear: Staffing Changes at Factory Design Labs

Factory DesignWe have yet to receive an official statement from the agency after multiple requests, but we can confirm that some staffing changes have occurred at Denver-based Factory Design Labs.

The most visible move comes atop the shop: Scott Mellin, who until recently served as CEO, now occupies the chief brand officer role. Agency founder Jonas Tempel has stepped in to assume the chief position moving forward; he served as both CEO and creative director for several years before launching a separate project called Beatport, and he has held the Chairman/Special Projects title since 2010.

We hear that other staffers are no longer with Factory’s Denver office, but we do not have concrete details at the moment.

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We Hear: S.C. Johnson Business Currently in Review

sc johnson

Last Friday, Chicago Business Journal reported on some changes in the status of the very large S.C. Johnson business — primarily the fact that portions of it had “quietly” moved from Ogilvy Chicago to Energy BBDO in recent months.

This week, multiple sources claim that the general report is accurate, that the company has been sending more of its creative work to the BBDO side, and that an ongoing creative review could see more business changing hands.

Neither client nor agencies have officially responded to our requests for comment, but two things are clear: S.C. Johnson has yet to complete its first major agency review since breaking with FCB (then DraftFCB) in 2011 and Energy BBDO currently handles a larger share of the business than it did last year. This is what a company spokesperson told the Chicago publication:

“[The company is] going through a review exercise…it’s typical we would do this as contracts are up.”

The biggest unknown at the moment is how many brands, exactly, have moved from one agency to another.

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VICE Media Insiders Defend Outgoing Creative Director

VICE-logoVice Media may not be a traditional agency, but it does have a lot of clients and, depending on who you ask, some quality creative talent.

Holding companies are certainly interested: you may recall that Sir Martin and WPP bought a stake in the still-growing company in 2012 before Rupert Murdoch could climb on board.

Vice also acquired Carrot Creative back in 2013, and Carrot CEO Mike Germano assumed the chief digital officer position.

There’s no denying that Vice Media does real work: in July we posted on in-house creative studio Virtue’s Spanglish-flavored campaign for AT&T. Based on what we hear from both an inside source and a report in this morning’s New York Post, the company seems to have all the interpersonal drama of a traditional ad agency as well.

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We Hear: Corona Launching Agency Review?

We have very little to go on at the moment, but sources tell us that one or more divisions of the lime-friendly Corona beer business are preparing for an agency review.

Cramer-Krasselt is currently AOR for Corona Extra while GS&P remains the agency of record for Corona Light after winning that brand, along with fellow Crown beers Pacifico and Victoria, in 2011. La Comunidad handles Spanish-language campaigns for Corona Lite and Canada’s Alpha Zulu Kilo has also created work for the company.

Here’s GS&P’s latest featured ad, which appeared in AdAge back in March:

We’ve received no official word on this rumor from any of the relevant parties, but Corona has been open about its attempts to “rebrand” in the interest of capturing a larger share of the domestic market from chief competitor Bud Light; its spending has increased in turn.

Whether the gossip is true or not, future Corona Light/Extra campaigns will almost certainly move even further away from the beach.

We Hear: Changes at Silver + Partners

silverThis morning, sources confirmed that CarMax will no longer work with New York’s Silver+Partners, the agency behind last year’s viral “Slow Clap” Super Bowl spot.

Last week another Silver client, “web development platform” provider Wix, announced that it would also be running an ad during the next Super Bowl. The company’s PR team strongly implied that Silver would not be the agency responsible for that spot:

“The ad is being made by an outside agency, but it isn’t being disclosed which one yet.”

Over the past few days, we’ve received a series of tips indicating that this change in business has resulted in some staffing shifts at the former Amalgamated, which renamed itself more than two years ago after DDB/BBDO vet Silver took over as CEO.

We’ve reached out to the agency and we left a message with Silver yesterday, but since we have yet to receive a response we cannot confirm any details regarding the changes. More than one reader tells us that multiple layoffs occurred and that creative staffers were among those affected.

Updates when we receive them.

Jawbone NOT Searching for a New Agency

We know that Fitbit, one of the leaders in the new “wearable tech” movement, launched its first ad this week via San Francisco’s Argonaut.

We also know that the somewhat-mysterious SF agency West has counted Fitbit rival Jawbone among its clients. Here’s some work in the form of a mini-doc attributed to West and Creative Director/writer Ben Hughes:

Today we learned, via the company itself, that it does not plan on changing its existing relationship with West, which will apparently remain its creative AOR for the foreseeable future. This despite a string of tips indicating otherwise (which we strongly suspect to be written by one person).

You may now return to your regularly scheduled programming.

We Hear: McCann Erickson May Have Won the New York Lottery

271px-New_York_Lottery.svgThe agency’s position at the moment is “talk to the state,” but we (and someone at Adweek) hear that McCann Erickson may have drawn the winning numbers in the New York Lottery creative pitch.

We first heard of the alleged McCann win near the end of the day Friday, when an unverified source named the Lottery as McCann’s newest client and sources outside the agency told us that they’d heard murmurs of victory coming from New York.

That would appear to be news to McCann. This morning, an agency spokesperson told us that the shop has no comment because, Adweek article aside, the State of New York has yet to name the lucky party. Longtime incumbent DDB says the same.

Here’s what we do know: after launching the review back in April, the New York State Gaming Commission narrowed the field to McCann, DDB and FCB Garfinkel in August. The New York Lottery’s annual media spend “approaches $50M,” and Adweek also claims that IPG’s UM won the media pitch.

Updates as we receive them; based on the gossip, we expect the official decision to arrive soon.

We Hear: Snyder’s-Lance Changing Agencies

snyders lance

In September, we posted on the Camel/RJ Reynolds account leaving South Carolina/New York-based agency BFG Communications after more than 17 years. While multiple sources told us that the account went to Havas Chicago, we never received confirmation.

Today we hear of another account shakeup at BFG: a tipster claims that Snyder’s-Lance may be shopping around. The client, maker of sandwich crackers most often encountered in workplace vending machines around the country, signed with BFG in December 2012.

After our initial post on Camel, several readers reached out claiming that at least 50 team members at various offices had been laid off; today a tipster claims that the loss led to the closing of offices in Savannah and Tampa and that two rounds of layoffs in recent weeks have reduced the total workforce at the agency’s South Carolina office.

Another tip claims that the MillerCoors account is no longer with Bromley Communications of San Antonio. MillerCoors did sign the Publicis agency as its Hispanic media buying/planning AOR almost exactly six years ago, but the reader tells us that the client will be shopping elsewhere due to disagreements over audience targeting strategies.

We’ve yet to receive confirmation regarding either of these tips. Updates as they arrive.

We Hear: Deutsch Wins Sherwin-Williams Business


This morning sources tell us that Deutsch New York has won part of the Sherwin-Williams business.

Sherwin-Williams did not announce an agency review; we last heard from the company in early 2013 when it handed some of its digital work to Cleveland-based agency Marcus Thomas (the company’s headquarters is also in Cleveland).

Our source says the win did not concern the larger business, and it appears that McKinney, which first signed with Sherwin-Williams in October 2008, will retain its status as creative AOR while Resource/Ammirati remains digital AOR. But we hear that Deutsch beat at least one other New York agency to win what will amount to a sizable part of the company’s ad budget for the year to come.

A second source tells us that the win primarily concerns “non-branded” Sherwin-Williams products under lines like Krylon and Purdy.

For context, Sherwin-Williams is by far the largest player in what Forbes calls a $90 billion “coatings industry.” The company spent at least $40 million on McKinney’s 2009 “Ask Sherwin-Williams” campaign, though budget totals for 2013 were not immediately available.

Deutsch declined to comment for this story while a McKinney spokesperson clarified that the agency is currently creative AOR for the Sherwin-Williams HGTV HOME line.

We Hear: The North Face Business in Review

The North Face is making a big push to expand its brand. At the end of October, the company launched a new campaign called “Your Land,” its most expensive marketing effort to date; now a source tells us that it might have opened an agency review as well.

First, the spot created by Mekanism (with web experience designed by Colorado’s Factory Design Labs), which will make its TV debut during this week’s edition of Sunday Night Football:

For the record, we really hope the surfer in this spot wasn’t trying to bring his board on the L train at rush hour.

We know that North Face chose Factory Design Labs as its AOR in 2007 and that Mekanism took over the TV portion of the account recently, hence the credits on this new campaign (which has earned coverage in Fast Company, The New York Times, and other pubs).

A source tells us that, as part of this new initiative — which sees the company increasing its marketing spend by 50 percent – the rest of The North Face business is currently in review.

We’ve yet to receive confirmation or information about which agencies might be involved. Updates when they come in and credits for the ad above after the jump via Adhugger.

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