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Archives: April 2009

Starbucks CMO Answers Our Questions About Advertising in a Recession (With Steep Competition)


Starbucks (SBUX) is launching a multi-million marketing and advertising campaign “focused on the quality, value and values Starbucks offers” despite the fact that just yesterday the company reported abysmal Q2 earnings &#151 a 77% profit drop. We interviewed Starbucks CMO Terry Davenport about the coffee-n-more company’s breach into the ad game and more.

Matt: Given the recent announcement about Starbucks Q2 revenue, how committed is the company to this campaign and what do you hope it will do for your brand?

Terry: We’re very committed &#151 not just to the campaign, but to telling our story. Our intent is to remind customers of what they loved about Starbucks from the beginning, and what makes us different. The quality of our coffee, the third-place experience and social values that mean more to consumers today than ever before.

Matt: What are your expectations for this campaign going into the next quarter?

Terry: We are launching this campaign to tell the Starbucks story in our way using facts about our brand. As a leader in the coffee category, it is not surprising that other companies are looking to compete for our coffee customers. A few are making claims that just don’t add up. So its time for Starbucks to tell our story

Matt: During a recession, many companies cut back on ad spending. Starbucks is clearly not in line with that thinking. Why?

Terry: Let’s be clear: we do need to be prudent with our marketing spend, and we are. We’re optimizing what we have and using it in the most impactful ways we can. It goes without saying that the competitive environment is noisier than it has been in the past, and we need to ensure our voice is heard.

Matt: McDonald’s and Dunkin’ Donuts are also advertising a lot these days &#151 how is your strategy different?

Terry: We are launching this campaign to tell the Starbucks story in our way using facts about our brand. As a leader in the coffee category, it is not surprising that other companies are looking to compete for our coffee customers…So its time for Starbucks to tell our story.

It is important to provide the historical perspective. We know that having greater consumer awareness and education about coffee leads consumers to trade up to better quality and experience. We understand that mass market advertising can lead to trial. However, we also know that consumers will reject offerings that don’t meet their expectations. Therefore, our view is that increased visibility to brewed coffee and espresso beverages plays to our advantage.

Speculation that Starbucks is losing retail market share to competitors has been grossly exaggerated. It should be no surprise that a category leader like Starbucks would be faced with others wanting to take share; however, we’ve looked at markets where competitors have tested coffee adverting and one thing is apparent: our customers are not trading down. We are aware that the noise level is going to increase and we are prepared for that.

Says a Starbucks rep., “The campaign will build over time, and take advantage of multiple channels, both traditional and non-traditional, supporting all of the distribution points in our business. It will also be a validation for our customers &#151 and our partners &#151 of what Starbucks is all about.”

Breaking: Starbucks Giving Away Coffee So You’ll Vote

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Copywriting: Creative Ad Writing

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Arnell’s Peapod Mobility LLC Included in Chrysler LLC Bankruptcy Filing


In the bankruptcy filing submitted by Chrysler LLC this week there’s an addendum that includes pending bankruptcy cases filed by “affiliates of the debtor” and included in that list is Peapod Mobility LLC, the same company that’s producing Peter Arnell‘s Peapod. Dude cannot catch a break.

Chrysler owns the Peapod brand and all but as we know it’s Arnell’s baby. That’s gotta sting &#151 we’ll dig into what this means for the all-electric vehicle.

Oh, and Chrysler also owes BBDO Detroit $58 million. Ain’t that a bitch.

Original Story

Chrysler Changing the Game: $2.99 Gas Guarantee

White Castle and the Ill-timed Pulled Pork Promo

Mmmm, swine flu. Now look, I only mention the swine flu here in reference to the media frenzy, not the actual bug itself. It just seems like a bad time to be parading one’s pork products around the room, no? Or maybe it’s the best time since you can’t get swine flu from eating pork, or so they say, and this is White Castle’s way of saying “hey, our meat is all good.”

Nonetheless the first thing I thought of when I saw this spot was Heidi and Spencer wearing those gad awful face masks as they traipsed around Mexico. Ha ha they were so funny, like people dying is funny. Ugh.

The Spy Who Loved You

This Advertising Apprenticeship Sounds Crap-tastic!


Seriously, who writes these things? From the annals of Craigslist goodness here’s your advertising-job ad of the day. But, don’t take the job.

Advertising Apprenticeship &#151 Art Director or Copywriter
I am what you want to be in a few years. Lots of awards, lots of contacts, plenty of interesting projects and earning over $200,000/yr.

If you have some raw talent and drive, this can be your chance to work on some great accounts, learn the ropes, get your portfolio out of ‘too student-y’ land and make a couple of bucks while you’re at it. Who knows &#151 you could see your name in the shows too.

It’s somewhere between an internship and a junior position, except that the hours are super-flexible, you can do it from home (most times) and you make money (sometimes).

Reply to this post with a link to your work and if you don’t hear back from me it’s probably because your work sucks.”

The writer of this ad sounds like a total enema bag.


More:Boston Cops Use Craigslist to Find Accused Killer’s Victims

TBWA/Chiat/Day LA Elevates Rob Schwartz, Hires Fallon’s Al Kelly


TBWA/Chiat/Day LA has hired former Fallon ECD Al Kelly (called it) who will co-direct the creative department with Patrick O’Neill. The agency has promoted Rob Schwartz to CCO.

Said Lee Clow, TBWA’s Worldwide CCO, “Ultimately our reputation is in our work and Rob has been behind some of the best work this Agency has done recently.”

Kelly, formerly of Fallon Minneapolis, was rumored to be shopping not only T/C/D but also W+K, Goodby, and others. He and O’Neill (formerly a GCD) will co-lead in Schwartz’s old position; Schwartz, you’ll recall, led the “Refresh Everything” campaign as well as Nissan_Shift.

So, why fill one spot with two people? What about Jimmy Smith, wasn’t he in the running for the gig? If Schwartz could handle the big accounts (Visa, Pepsi Gatorade), what does that say about them splitting it between these two? Well either they wanted to make room for the big names to come in or Schwartz was over his head. Then again we all know who really does the work &#151 you (know who you are).

Oh, and we all know Mr. Clow is still, as some call him, the grand poobah of LA. And finally, the agency also promoted Chris Adams, Brett Craig, Margaret Keene and Joe Shands to GCDS

More:TBWA Nabs Vonage, Enfatico Gaffes, Dell Shops

The ADC is Awarding Y’all for the 88th Time, Tonight


Tonight in New York is the 88th Annual Art Director’s Club Gala slash award show with complimentary drinks, food and witty banter. It’s gonna be a ball, and some say SuperSpy will be lurking around listening to your conversations, making friends.

The last time I was at the ADC was last summer for a speaker event (though admittedly I can’t remember which). I think PSFK put it on, and I have to say it was a fantastic time. Hoping for the same tonight, when the group “recognizes the best work of the year in print and broadcast advertising, interactive media, graphic design, publication design, packaging, photography and illustration.”

What’s the dress code for this thing? I’m thinking hipster-chic will be over done so, maybe a tux is in order.

More:New ADC Directors Named; Doug Jaeger Is Prez

Should Leo Burnett Take ‘The Man’s’ Name Off the Door?

We’ve always loved this clip of Leo Burnett‘s speech “When to take my name off the door.” This speech is meant to inspire you to feel good about what you do so long as you do it for the intrinsic value of communicating in a persuasive, clean way. It’s idealism at its best/worst and maybe outdated a bit but it’s definitely the kind of thing we all need to watch once in awhile if for no other reason to understand a little about this business. The message then isn’t just for the Leo Burnett agency of today, but for all of us.

Booms Burnett, “let me tell you when I might demand that you take my name off the door…that will be the day when you spend more time trying to make money and less time making advertising, our kind of advertising…”

Advertising is a perfect example of “unappreciated art” &#151 probably because the field is so cluttered with unsavory work that the good stuff has a hard time getting noticed &#151 and then it’s only by some internal award show or Kevin Nealon. And that makes it hard to take pride in what you do sometimes.

More:Leo Burnett Dances With The Dragon (Again)

Deathmatch: 4As v the PR Council


The other day the American Association of Advertising Agencies changed it’s name to the 4As because “‘American’ was too limited (advertisers do business internationally), as was ‘Advertising Agencies’.” My broheim over at PRNewser, Joe Ciarallo, caught a particularly interesting quote from Matt Shaw, SVP, director of communications for the PR Council. Said Shaw:

“Obviously today’s Times story caught our eye. The 4As deserves credit for acknowledging the massive changes taking place in its business; however, as it relates to doing strategic public relations, simply re-branding doesn’t mean an ad agency can do PR like Council members, and public relations firms in general.”

“I wrote a piece in the Daily Dog two years ago on this subject, and my lead was, ‘It turns out that when advertising grows up it wants to be public relations.’ Perhaps this is another step toward fulfilling that prophecy.”

Where to begin…How about with a rebuttal from 4A’s President/CEO Nancy Hill.

“While the 4A’s, certainly, respects the work of the PR Council, rather than wallow in the old-moded fantasy that a turf war still exists between various marketing communications disciplines, we prefer to live in the reality of today’s marketplace that values and validates all disciplines. We don’t judge one over another. We prefer to be inclusive, rather than divisive.”

In the comments section of the PRNewser piece, Steve Winston of brand-new PR firm Winston Communications wrote:

“Ad agencies are finally realizing what PR can give that they can’t &#151 third-party credibility.

When a company gets written about in print or online, or gets positive braodcast [sic] coverage, that’s more effective than ten technolgically-wizardous Super Bowll [sic sic sic] ads.”

We love a good quarrel as much as the next blogger, but wow. There’s some hard feelings in there. Why so serious, PR industry, can’t we all just agree to disagree?

I could opine all day about how ineffective I think some/most PR folks are, and the same can probably be said for some/most ad work. The fact is in the communications game, persuasion is only as effective as the message but it really comes down to the recipient being, well, receptive. As Chuck Klosterman says, you’re either a Lakers fan or a Celtics fan, Beatles or Stones.

One thought &#151 here at AgencySpy we get pitches all the time and usually they suck. Sorry PR folk, that’s just how I feel about it. But the thing is that without advertising, PR would have a tough time existing. Advertising pays for a lot of things like, for example, a writer’s salary. The content of said publication has to be desirable and if I used most of the pitches I get as the stories you read here daily, well you wouldn’t read anymore. And then advertisers wouldn’t pay to be on this site and then the PR folk would have to send their shitty pitches to some other guy.

Yeah, PR is more than just pitching, but the stories sent my way usually lack the kind of credibility (sore subject, I know) people want. That’s why pitch pieces are called fluff &#151 they’re filled with air rather than rock solid goodness. I’m equally skeptical of the kind of advertising that uses absolutes, so this isn’t to say the ad industry isn’t guilty of the same. I just wanted to point out that Shaw’s argument (“Ad agencies are finally realizing what PR can give that they can’t &#151 third-party credibility.”) is weak. But then again he’s the PR director for the PR Council, so I suppose that kind of answer is to be expected.

More:W+K Public Relations &#151 Where Are You?

DraftFCB Chicago’s Ron Lazeretti Wrote a Movie, The Merry Gentleman

No seriously, he did. Check out the legit IMDB page. It’s all there man, it’s all there. Ron Lazeretti is the SVP, creative development director at DraftFCB Chicago and now he’s written a flick about this retired hitman who meets a cheeky girl and oh the things they’ll get into, those two.

More:Bill Cella Leaves Draft

Doner & Mazda, Publicis West & T-Mobile, PHD & Schwab Media; a Tip Round-up


We’ve been digging into a couple tips regarding Doner and Publicis in the West and PHD and well we just haven’t been able to confirm them though everyone and their brother seems to have heard about this stuff. Let’s start with Doner.

&#151 The agency is still in a state of shock after those raucous layoffs. Of late we’ve heard rumblings that the shop may be on its way to losing Mazda. We’re getting mixed messages from our sources; some say the client is happy happy from all the way up in Canada way down to ole Mexico. Others have heard the Newport Beach office is closing. What do they do there? Mazda. You tell me.

&#151 As for Publicis in the West, well, we’ve heard things with T-Mobile aren’t so peachy and that the client is set to begin the slow pull-out starting with PW and ending with WongDoody.

&#151 This one is short: We’re hearing PHD could be S.O.L. with regard to Schwab media. Things have been sorta wackadoo with that account ever since this happened. And what’s up with PHD San Fran? Anything left over there?

So there you go. Answer away via e-mail at agencyspy @ gmail dot com or you can always anonymously tip. We know how you love your anon times!

More:We Hear: Microsoft Secrets