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We Hear…

We Hear: Cuts at Translation


This morning we got a tip about some big changes at Steve Stoute‘s Translation.

Specifically, the tip claimed that President Nils Peyron and ECDs Marc d’Avignon and Jay Berry are no longer with the agency.

None of the three have been with Translation for more than a few months: Peyron, a former account leader at McCann and Ogilvy, joined in February and earned an Adweek writeup in the process; he filled a post that had been vacant since November 2012. At the same time, the agency hired former top Chiat creative John Norman to fill the CCO role. Norman then facilitated the hiring of Berry and d’Avignon, who had worked with him at W+K Portland from 2005 to 2008.

Translation produced a couple of spots for Champs Sports this summer, and all three of the names in question appear in the credits.

We did not receive a confirmation or statement from the agency, but we did score a “no comment…”

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Infiniti May Have Chosen CP&B


Someone wants the trade press to know that Infiniti will sign with CP&B.

A source told AdAge this morning that the competition is all over, “although a final contract has not yet been signed.”

Way back in July we established the fact that TBWA would not retain the account and that the initial pitch involved seven agencies; a September report claiming that CP&B and GS&P were the last two parties standing preceded a slew of tips insisting that CP&B would be the winner. That happened exactly one month ago — and now it seems that the “source” has succeeded again in planting the story.

Of course CP+B has yet to comment, because no agency can confirm such reports before the official statement is drafted with the client’s approval.

But we have to wonder who has been trying so hard to leak this news — and why the announcement has been delayed so long when our readers told us that the decision had already been made a month ago.

We Hear: West Loses Some Business

Last month we reviewed TechCrunch’s review of the homepage of West, the San Francisco ad agency co-founded by Twitter’s Jack Dorsey. The general consensus: it didn’t show or tell us much of anything at all.

This week, we’ve received a few anonymous notes about the state of things at West and, like the vast majority of the tips we receive here every day, they weren’t particularly positive.

We’re still waiting to receive a word from the people behind the rotating images on the West homepage, but our tipsters tell us that several tech clients no longer count West as their AOR.

Specifically, this claim applies to tumblr, Rdio and Jawbone. We can’t confirm that these clients are no longer with West because we can’t confirm much of anything about the agency at the moment. But we did find some work apparently commissioned by West for photographer Todd Cole:

jawbone ad west

(There’s an unembeddable video for the “Make Life Easier” campaign here.)

We’re still waiting to hear from whoever monitors the agency’s given email address. Also: apologies, on Google’s behalf, to West Advertising of Alameda.

UPDATE: Layoffs at Moxie Interactive


More than a year ago, we let you know about Publicis Groupe’s plans to acquire Atlanta-based Moxie Interactive and merge it with Columbus, Ohio’s Engauge. It only took about six months for the union of the two shops under the Moxie umbrella to become official.

Now we hear that the staffing cuts directly related to that merger, preceded by tips about a “restructuring” in late July, took place yesterday. We’ve yet to receive a response from the agency, but these are the details provided by tipsters:

  • The cuts affected 10 percent of Moxie’s total workforce
  • Total firings include up to 47 employees
  • Most of those who lost their jobs were former members of the Engauge team

No details on where these cuts occurred, though the July tips indicated that some managers would be leaving and even the moderately positive posts on the agency’s Glassdoor page do seem take some issue with “management structure.”

Another tipster contacted us the day after this post first ran, claiming that the layoffs did indeed focus mostly on former Engauge employees including the agency’s entire research staff and ECD Tony Sharpe. The tipster also claims that Engauge CEO/Moxie Chairman Nick Bandy also left the agency “a few weeks ago.”

In unrelated news, something seems a little…off about the Twitter profile linked from Moxie’s homepage.

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We Hear: Sprint Narrows Its Creative Agency Review


Just over a month after Sprint announced its search for a new creative agency and a few weeks after the death of the “framily” became official, the company’s creative review appears to be moving along.

At EOD Friday, sources told Adweek that five shops remained:

  • CP+B
  • Arnold
  • Deutsch LA
  • KBS+
  • Saatchi & Saatchi

This morning a tipster provided us with an (unsubstantiated) update.

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We Hear: DOJO San Francisco Closing Shop

DOJO agency

We’ve received several tips over the past week or so about San Francisco agency DOJO.

First, we heard that former GS&P account lead Marty Wenzell, who joined DOJO  in July 2012 and most recently held the president/MD title, was out. Then we heard that the agency — founded in 2009 by veterans of SF shop Fancy — would cease to exist at the end of this month.

Way back in January, we did confirm that Chris Masse, the DOJO art director turned creative director, had departed.

We didn’t hear much more from the shop until last week, when we got our first tips about Wenzell. We reached out to the agency’s contact email but received no response — and yesterday the listed phone number stopped working.

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We Hear: Hill Holliday, W+K Discussing Merger?

“We hear” may not be the most appropriate category for this post; “we see, on Twitter” would be more accurate.

But it certainly looks like Karen Kaplan, CEO and chairman of Boston’s Hill Holliday, met with Wieden+Kennedy managing director Tom Blessington at Fenway Park to say goodbye to Derek Jeter this weekend.

Hill Holliday Merger

As to whether Kaplan’s merger mention is serious or not, it would make sense given the Cadillac account’s recent move from HH to Lowe Campbell Ewald and the subsequent disbanding of IPG’s Rogue unit.

It would also be particularly interesting because W+K remains independent while HH, as part of the IPG conglomerate, is a publicly traded entity.

We Hear: Changes Pending at Publicis Kaplan Thaler

PKT logo

While we have yet to receive confirmation from our contacts, a steady stream of tips about some big (allegedly) pending changes at New York-based Publicis Kaplan Thaler has found its way to our inbox.

Here are the claims laid out in the tips we received, which started trickling in back in April after the agency laid off “less than 2 percent” of its staff:

  • The agency’s three offices will consolidate into the location at 1675 Broadway
  • A majority of the agency’s staff will move to that office by 2015 and the shift will be complete by 2016
  • The resulting shop will drop the K and the T to go by the name “Publicis Worldwide New York”

Hints are not so specific on the staffing front. We hear mention of “potential departures” at the executive level, and more than one tipster claims that Publicis Worldwide International Creative Director Erik Vervroegen now “has his name on an office door.”

UPDATE: PKT officially tells us that, as a general practice, the agency refrains from commenting on speculation.

We Hear: RJR/Camel Leaves BFG

RJRT Logo cmyk2Details on this post are vague and we’ve received no confirmation, but we hear that the R.J. Reynolds/Camel account is no longer with BFG Communications.

While the agency does not advertise its campaigns for Camel, research from the National Center for Biotechnology Information tells us that it worked over the past decade creating a series of events and websites designed to help the brand “[penetrate] the underground hipster scene” via associations with indie bands and other “lifestyle” indicators.

For context, RJR named the former head of nutrition at PepsiCo North America as its new president/CCO last week, and we first heard buzz about a frayed relationship between agency and client more than a month ago.

Today, several tipsters tell us that the loss of business led to the announcement of multiple layoffs today for the South Carolina/New York-based shop. One tip has the total approaching three digits.

Another tip claims that the company has moved from BFG to Havas; when pressed, agency spokespeople did not confirm the win.

Updates as they arrive.

We Hear: New CEO at TracyLocke?


Three months ago we broke the news that Beth Ann Kaminkow, CEO of Dallas-based Omnicom shop TracyLocke, was leaving her position to serve as global CMO of shopping center company Westfield Group.

We heard nothing more on the subject until today, when we received a tip claiming that the agency had hired a new CEO: Hugh Boyle, global chief digital officer at Geometry Global Chicago.

Mr. Boyle is a hard man to find: he recently deleted his Twitter account, and all calls to his Chicago office went straight to voicemail. Neither TracyLocke in Dallas nor Omnicom’s corporate office in New York offered any assistance on the topic.

Some backstory: Mr. Boyle hails from the United Kingdom, and he spent more than eight years at Ogilvy Action in London after the agency acquired his former employer, Tarantula. In 2011 he was promoted to global head of digital at the Ogilvy shop, and just over a year ago he moved to the U.S. to accept the CDO position at Geometry.

Updates when we get them.