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Young & Rubicam

Chicago Bulls, Blackhawks Players Stalk BMO Harris Bank Customers

A delightful new campaign from Y&R Midwest and Anonymous Content director Brian Billow for BMO Harris Bank finds credit card holders joined by Bulls and Blackhawks players in their everyday lives. Above we see Bulls players Joakim Noah and Jimmy Butler accompany a family in the monotony of suburban living, from chatting about potholes getting to taking the dog outside for a bathroom break.

Meanwhile, your Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks are represented by Patrick Kane, Andrew Shaw, Corey Crawford, Bryan Bickell and Brandon Saad, who swim laps donning their complete uniforms and pads.

What makes these spots much funnier than other commercials for team credit cards is the fact that the players don’t seem to enhance the lives of BMO Harris cardholders. Instead, they just take part in the tedium of every day life. The juxtaposition of game-ready professional athletes and the typical morning routine help make these ads stand out, and they’ll definitely cause a few belly laughs from Chicago sports fans. See the whole campaign, which marks the first time BMO Harris Bank has featured Chicago Bulls players in its advertising, and the third time BMO Harris has featured Chicago Blackhawks players, here.

Bel Brands Consolidates at Y&R

belbrands

We’ve been told by sources familiar with the matter after 15-plus-months, Havas Chicago has lost the snacking cheese client, Bel Brands, which includes the likes of Laughing Cow, Merkts, Kaukauna, Price’s and more. We’ve been told that the brand has consolidated its global ad account with Y&R. We’re awaiting comment from the agency, but have been told that Havas Worldwide has handled the account since July 2012. No word yet from Y&R, but we’ll keep you posted.

Y&R, Xerox Celebrate 75 Years in 75 Seconds

Y & R New York has crafted a fun video for Xerox’s 75th anniversary tracing the evolution of the company (and their technology) over the course of 75 seconds.

I’m pretty fond of this “montage of technological innovation” approach, which seems to have become something of a trend. We saw 72 and Sunny try something similar with their montage of fictional high-tech wristwatches for Samsung Galaxy Gear, and of course there was the iPhone’s “Hello” spot. What’s interesting about the Xerox spot is we’re watching pieces of real history, given a glimpse of the birth and evolution of a truly important technological innovation. Xerox concludes the spot by saying “Let’s marvel at what could happen in the next 75.” I like that the focus of the spot is on the company’s history, with just a quick “What will the future hold?” type moment at the end. They could have lingered longer on this idea and it would have been to the spot’s detriment, since its strength lies in the nostalgic historic footage it provides. Y & R’s approach is hardly new or innovative, but it’s well executed and tasteful, a fitting tribute to Xerox’s history. I wouldn’t mind seeing more agencies mining this same approach in the future. It works.

Sears’ Diehard Batteries Will Survive the Zombie Apocalypse

Including a narrative is usually a good way for a commercial to hook the audience with creativity, but this Y&R Midwest zombie spot for Sears actually overdoes the narrative focus to the point where the  brand association is almost negligible. We know, zombies are popular, but it seems like the creatives put more time into the character development of the actors than organically integrating the product. Somebody really enjoys The Walking Dead.

The setup: a girl and a guy running from zombies try to escape in separate cars. The guy’s car won’t start, but the girl’s car has a Diehard battery that is still kicking even after the apocalypse, which is conceptually clever. But, the 70-second running time is too long for the two-second insert shot of a Diehard battery at the very end. If the first 35 seconds of the ad were cut, the relevant story points would still be in tact. There’s also a #SurviveZombies for brand engagement, but if you want or need a reliable car battery, you probably don’t care about hashtags or zombies. Credits after jump.

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Y&R Enlists Three Artists to Paint Murals in the New Columbus Circle Office

Continuing the inspiring agency art wall trend is Y&R New York, which recently moved from 285 Madison Ave to 3 Columbus Circle. To “celebrate advertising as the intersection of art and commerce,” Y&R brought in three artists, each with a unique aesthetic. Shantell Martin works with black pen, letting it lead the way. She draws sweeping lines and then revisits the work, adding details within. Ever draws faces surrounded by blocks of color, which for Y&R shows the process of ideation. Maya Hayuk takes Ever-style work to the next level, making abstract murals entirely of patchworked colors.

You guys freaked out about Arnold NYC’s recent mural, and I’m curious if this seems any less twee or irrelevant. I think the consideration of an everyday environment and the integration of art is important, and if nothing else, we can consider this a visual celebration as summer draws to a close. Who doesn’t like a party?

Y&R Division SicolaMartin Rebrands as Y&R Austin

And thus, the Matt Anthony era at Y&R begins. In what we’ve been told is his first major announcement since taking over for Carter Murray at said agency as North American president/CEO earlier this year, Anthony has announced that Y&R’s Austin-based SicolaMartin will now be known as Y&R Austin. As a result, Y&R’s North American network now spans five markets, which also includes likes of Y&R Midwest, West  sorry, California and New York.

In a statement, Anthony, who joined Y&R after spending nearly two decades at WPP sibling VML, which he was a founding partner of, says, “We are excited to make this formal integration of the Austin agency to our North America network. The truth is we have worked alongside SicolaMartin as partners within Y&R for many years.  While the transition will be seamless and easy, its impact will be powerful.  Y&R Austin has a great offering, fully integrated capabilities, and a strong culture. Their clients will benefit from access to our talent and resources.  But it is also clear that Y&R clients in other markets will benefit from their expertise and experience.”

We’ve been told that the 28-year-old shop formerly known as SicolaMartin, which has shared clients with its parent including Dell and SanDisk since joining as a subsidiary in 2001, will house a staff of approximately 50. Cherie Cox, who has been with SicolaMartin for 20 years and most currently serves as its CEO, will keep the same title at Y&R Austin.

UNCF, Y&R Go Beyond Donations, Asking for ‘Investment in the Future’

Since 1944, the United Negro College Fund has operated under the banner “A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste.” Today, they’re updating to the too-long slogan “A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste But a Wonderful Thing to Invest In.”

Regardless of its verbosity, Y&R New York and the Ad Council’s new campaign is a smart, relevant adaptation. Instead of accepting donations for their fund, UNCF is “taking the cause straight to where the money is,” and has created the first-ever stock for social change. Columbia University economist Clive Belfield created an algorithm to determine the value of a share, which investors can purchase via Better Futures’ website.

The Better Futures campaign puts concept into practice, and shows people that they’re not just giving money, they’re investing in future generations. Y&R’s pro bono work will include print and TV PSAs that “use real stories from real UNCF students to show how that investment will pay dividends for all our futures,” says Michael L. Lomax, president/CEO of UNCF, in a statement. If investors are inspired to get involved, the Better Futures stock could be Wall Street’s most meaningful.

Credits after the jump.

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Y&R Celebrates 90 Years in Business with a Hashtag

 

One of the oldest agencies in America, Young & Rubicam turns a whopping 90 years old tomorrow, and they’re throwing a party.

Now, a 90th trip around the sun can’t be taken lightly. I mean think of all the thousands of people whose hard work kept Y&R going through the Great Depression, World War II, and a third event of equal or greater importance! So, as any great agency in a similar position would, Y&R is celebrating nine decades with a hashtag, #advertisingis. It’s a pretty big deal.

Those who tweet their opinion about what #advertisingis (Bread? Love? Incest? Spite?) tomorrow between the hours of 2-3:30 pm ET will see their tweets appear on a large interactive digital billboard in Times Square. It’s supposed to be a big billboard, probably almost as big as the giant American Eagle billboard, but not quite. Still, pretty big one would assume. Add your Twitter avatar to Y&R’s birthday mosaic, and watch the hashtag event of tomorrow live here.

Y&R NY Officially Bounces from Madison Avenue

Well, WPP-owned Y&R New York has stuck to its guns and as noted back at the end of 2011, the agency is officially making its move to Columbus Circle on Monday, thus saying goodbye to Madison Ave, where it’s resided for the last 87 (!) years.

The agency’s global CEO David Sable (who you see above christening Y&R Way) has this to say in a statement: “This is a historic day. But Madison Avenue is a state of mind, not a state of place. Today, the Northeast corner of 40th street and Madison Avenue is Young & Rubicam Way. And the 285 Marquee is coming with us and will adorn the café in our new space. Since 1926, we have been definers of the best of the innovation of Madison Avenue – creative leaders, business shapers, inventors, innovators. We look forward to continuing that innovative, entrepreneurial spirit by creating Madison Avenue West in a new state-of-the art work environment that has been designed to accommodate who we are and how we work in the epicenter of New York City, the greatest media town in the world.”

As mentioned previously, the Y&R space at 3 Columbus Circle will not only occupy said agency, but WPP siblings including Wunderman, VML, Blast Radius, BrandBuzz, Bravo, Kang & Lee, KBM Group and ZAAZ.

 

Dell Ups its Game, Brings a Graphic Novel to Life

From Dell’s lead agency Y&R NY comes this enchanting new TV spot that tells the story of a cubicle slave named Thomas and his aspirations to be something more.

Obviously, 2013 finds Dell in quite a different spot than they were in a decade ago. While “Dude, You’re Getting a Dell” was seen as a major success in convincing parents worldwide that their college-bound spawn actually needed a computer, the company is now the butt of tech jokes. In fact, consider this headline from last week’s edition of The Onion: “Dell Acquired By Gateway 2000 In Merger Of 2 Biggest Names In Computer Technology.” Yes, Michael Dell‘s buyout of the company is seen to be as relevant as Gateway 2000. Ouch.

Dell has been relying big on Y&R, especially after parting ways with Sid Lee and Arnold in January. With spots like “Thomas: Creator of an Alternate Universe,” Y&R proves that Dell made a wise move consolidating their commercial work with one agency. Not only do we get some great visuals, but we actually see the Dell XPS laptop in action, looking (to be honest) surprisingly forward-thinking for a company that my generation sees as playing catch-up for the last few years. Add to great advertising some bold business moves, and Dell could yet find the pathway to long-term profitability. Credits and a behind-the-scenes clip after the jump.

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