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We Hear…

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.

We Hear: Did CP+B Win Infiniti or Not?


Last week we reported that the number of agencies still involved in the ongoing Infiniti pitch had gone down from four to two: CP+B and GS&P.

Silence on the PR front confirmed that story, but as soon as we posted it we began to receive a steady stream of both tips and comments (not that we actually read the comments, mind you) claiming that the pitch was over and that Crispin had emerged victorious. References to VW abounded.

When we contacted the agency itself, we received only a perfect comment about their inability “to comment on new business.”

And yet, it certainly seems like someone is either trying to tell us that the pitch has been won or trying to mislead us on that point.

So let us know, readers: what’s the status?

UPDATE: An inside source tells us that, while all signs point toward “buy”, the prospective client has yet to make an official announcement. Bit of a letdown, then. Fingers still crossed.

We Hear: Infiniti Pitch Down to Two


We hear from a tipster today that the number of parties involved in the summer-long Infiniti pitch is down to two.

While no official statements have been released, rumor has it that CP+B and GS&P are the last shops standing.

One thing is certain: this has been an epic pitch. The review began way back in December 2013, and in May the company’s own director of marketing told AdAge that agencies chasing the account (which has been with TBWA for more than a decade) would “have their work cut out for them”. Another dream client, then.

In June, the pitch officially involved seven agencies, and July saw that number drop down to four: Anomaly, BBH, CP+B and GS&P. Our source claims that the first two shops are no longer in the running, that one of them voluntarily dropped out of the review, and that WPP still isn’t happy about the fact that it did not make the first list of finalists. That would mean that Omnicom could still retain its longtime client — and that it’s now competing against MDC rather than WPP or Publicis.

No matter who wins the pitch, the account will remain with TBWA until the end of the year.

We Hear: Nationwide Shopping Around


Here’s an end-of-the-day tip: Nationwide might be in the mood to go shopping.

While our tipster was characteristically vague in claiming that the company is requesting new pitches, the idea that Nationwide wants to shuffle its agency roster a bit does make sense: you’ll recall that the company hired Ogilvy in June to serve as creative AOR for a campaign celebrating the anniversary of the “On Your Side” tagline (written by the very same agency 50 years ago).

Last week, an Ogilvy spot starring Peyton Manning doubled as a coming out party of sorts for the company’s brand-new logo, pictured above.

At the time of the Ogilvy signing, the company spokespeople stated that its existing relationships with McKinney, McCann and Moxie would not be affected — but our tipster claims this is not the case.

Whatever decisions Nationwide makes on the agency front, two things are clear: the Ogilvy work will run throughout the current NFL season and the brand will be sticking with Manning until he’s well into the next phase of his career — retirement.

We Hear: Cadillac ‘Quietly Talking to Other Agencies’


Here’s a juicy anonymous tip for you: Cadillac may be looking for a new AOR.

A few established facts: the company got a new CMO in January and a new president last month. Sales in the U.S. are down considerably, with Auto News reporting that the two new executives “saw the depth of their challenge on Wednesday when Cadillac reported an 18 percent plunge in August U.S. sales.”

More key details:

“The brand’s U.S. deliveries have slipped in five out of eight months this year in an overall market that has grown 5 percent.

To remedy that…the division is considering adding features such as heated seats to lower-level versions of the car to entice buyers next year and making ‘significant changes’ to the brand’s marketing in the first quarter.”

Campbell Ewald’s Rogue unit has been AOR for the brand for more than a year after a creative review that didn’t sit well with former AOR Fallon; Rogue hired Matthew Zelley to run creative on the account in July 2013. ICYMI, the brand’s “Poolside” spot also earned a spoof from Team Detroit back in March.

Again, this is an anonymous tip. But the numbers don’t look good for Cadillac, which seems like a prime candidate for a “rebranding.”

At the very least, we can expect the tone of its campaigns to change in 2015.