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Archives: June 2009

Nicholson Kovac Loses Embarq Account


It’s been one of those weeks in the adversphere. Following our previous post on the spate of (maybe) layoffs, we return to bring you some more not-so-great news of a smaller scale in the agency world. Kansas City-based Nicholson Kovac lost the Embarq telephone business, which our tipster tells us accounts for half of the agency’s billing (the agency, though, is now saying it’s only their third-largest client). But all is not lost according to NK’s president/CEO F. Peter Kovac, who offered this late evening retort:

“Goodness, word travels fast!

As you are probably aware, Embarq was acquired by CenturyTel months ago. The final closing is planned to take place tomorrow, Wednesday, July 1.

CenturyTel’s management elected to retain their existing agency partners who they have been working with for their creative and media needs prior to the acquisition. Nicholson Kovac was Embarq’s consumer media agency of record and will not be working with the newly merged organization (CenturyLink). Our Sprint/Embarq relationship spanned 25 years, so we were certainly disappointed by this event. No layoffs are planned since we have been adding new clients to our roster.”


More: “Holy (maybe) Layoffs Batman!”

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Uniqlo Slips on Parkas in the Summer


Japanese clothier and branding whizzes Uniqlo have teamed up with native agency Dentsu and digital production shop Bascule to refit 1000 random locals with Uniqlo parkas. It’s the perfect time of year after all for such attire, so explore another quirky and dizzying site from the Far East company that encapsulates the brand’s Tokyo Fashion Map campaign while introducing you to a horde of stylish Japanese hipsters.

Set to the tune of expectedly cute, chipper electro-pop, the site lets you explore images and video while traveling horizontally and vertically without the need for Dramamine.

More: “IE8 Takes it to That Place (Warning: Puke)

IE8 Takes it to That Place (Warning: Puke)

I’ve been watching these new Internet Explorer ads for a few days, but just came across this one. Dean Cain is still pretty good, but I’m not sure if the puking is necessary &#151 though it’s nice to see these folks taking some risks. Warning, aforementioned puke is fareal.

FYI faceless intern Ryan found this and despite the fact that it’s a week old, we’re posting it. So there.

More:Low Cell Phone Bills Keep Parents Happy

Holy (maybe) Layoffs Batman: Campbell Ewald, Zeta, DDB LA, Deutsch LA, Others


Maybe it’s due to the end of Q2 or maybe the industry was relatively overdue for some bad news; either way we’ve got a bunch of layoff rumors to share. Here goes (we hear):

&#151 Campbell Ewald has layoffs today in Digital (not sure which office)

&#151 Wongdoody cut 17 in Seattle yesterday

&#151 Zeta Interactive may have let go of 10 people today

&#151 Bernstein-Rein Kansas City is reportedly in the crapper

&#151 Some 15-20 cut at DDB Los Angeles today, all departments; this is the 3rd round in 5 months.

&#151 Wednesday, anywhere from 15-30 staffers may be cut from Deutsch LA

&#151 50-60 layoffs for McCann coming up (confirmed)

&#151 Critical Mass let about 30 people go last week on Friday

&#151 Detroit B2B shop Smith-Winchester is apparently straight-up closing

Cankles, It’s What’s for Dinner


I was having trouble with this headline, hence my ripoff. Sorry, Beef Council. Anyway, Gold’s Gym has a new campaign aimed at slimming down the cankle epidemic. If you’re not aware, cankles are ankles that cannot be differentiated from one’s calf. Mainly, less-than-skinny people suffer from this not-uncommon physical attribute.

But Jezebel says the campaign is a bit offensive maybe, since specifically trimming down that cankle isn’t like, easy. But look at the bright side kids; if your cankles are disappearing your neck, wrists and down-there parts may be re-appearing. They’re just a strict barometer, really. The site is here.


More:Bullsh*t Baffles Brains: An AIG Ad Resurrected

Tuesday Odds and Ends: The Agency Hire Roundup


Since we’ve been subjected to news about layoffs, lost accounts and significant losses over the past week, let’s force a smile and flip things around for a minute to see how the brighter side of the advertising world turns. So put the violins away for a sec and take a look at some of the more notable agency hires in recent days:

-Beattie McGuinness Bungay hired WeAreGigantic ECD/co-founder Neil Powell as creative director.

-Global agency The Brand Union named Richard Bates CCO of North America.

-Isaac Mizrahi (no, not that one it looks like) was named managing director of Alma DDB.

-Ex-Nitro MD Kate Howe was named president of DraftFCB, London.

-BBDO, New York hired W+K alum Andy Bhatt as head of interactive production.

-D&AD appointed Tim O’Kennedy, former W+K Amsterdam managing director, as chief executive.

-The Interactive Advertising Bureau elected 24/7 Real Media founder David Moore as chairman of its board.

More: “Gary Scheiner Joins Rosetta as Chief Creative Officer

Crispin’s Beta is Up

Ta’other day, @bogusky let us know his agency’s site would be demo’d and a new thinga-ma-bob would land in its place. And then there was light. Above is the intro video, courtesy one Alex Bogusky, who apparently works there.

Some features of said site: A simple setup including video, blog posts, news and tweets about Crispin. Click a button and all that CP+B content is swapped out for info pertaining to whichever button you hit. For example, press the Microsoft button and it all changed to (wa waaaa) Microsoft stuff. Let me google that for you.

Mostly you’ll find the agency’s biggest clients like Microsoft, VW, Burger King, Old Navy, Domino’s, Hulu, Coke Zero and so on. If one thing can be said, it’s simple and supposedly transparent. Apparently the agency will only control some of the video content which means if we say, like, “hey that CP+B agency eats babies” that falsehood would presumably land on the site. But, we’d never say anything like that.

Do you want me to link to it? Not sure I want to give those kids the attention. OK here. beta dot cpbgroup dot com. Go forth, yon wunderkind.

Oh and if you’re particularly interested in recreating the site in its entirety or emulating part of it (because we must all be like CP+B), they’re going to give out the code. Click continued for deets. Basically it looks (to this untrained eye) like Java + a monitter application.

More:Kids These Days: a Cover Letter to Crispin

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McCann SF’s Losing Around 50 in July


The issue here is less about this news, that as we reported McCann’s San Francisco office will let 50 or so folks go this month, and more about the state of the city. San Francisco seem to be following suit with every other major creative hub, big or small, within the United States.

Well, if you ask AdAge, they’ll tell you Minneapolis is all happening and stuff. But that piece reads more like a release than anything else. The problem isn’t that there’s a lack of creativity or people who can create solutions to business problems; it’s that Joe and Jane still aren’t buying stuff or if they are, it’s not enough or fast enough. Result: Microsoft is cutting back even more and the SF office of McCann will suffer.

We don’t know who or when, but starting tomorrow it’s going to be a rough month inside that office.

More:We Hear: McCann SF 50-60 Set For July

TWIA: Hardees’ Holes, We’re Sorry and A Moment for Billy Mays

Today on the Week in Advertising, we’re sorry for that drawn out cowboy story, Hardees has a ‘hole’ new product and a tribute to one of the greatest pitchmen of our time, Billy Mays.

More:Episodes of The Week in Advertising

W+K, Levi’s Set to “Go Forth” with 360 Campaign

Just in time for all the July 4th fireworks and freedom-loving, Wieden + Kennedy, Portland will launch a new multi-channel campaign for Levi’s dubbed “Go Forth.” The lengthy, hyperbole-filled press release, which includes such lathering for the campaign as it being “highly anticipated” and “the North Star of the [Levi's] brand”, offers plenty of details about the effort.

With print, outdoor and digital components set to play their usual supporting roles, the campaign’s centerpiece will be two spots including “America,” a languid black & white ditty helmed by Anonymous Content’s Cary Fukunaga and accompanied by an 1888 vinyl narration from Walt Whitman.

The timing of the whole initiative was well-played, but why is this exactly highly anticipated and by whom? Are the masses breathlessly awaiting a July 4th campaign? The PR spin cycle was apparently set on high with this one.

More: “W+K, Total Immersion Create Augmented Extravaganza for Nike