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Archives: January 2011

Dentsu Acquires Firstborn

Kunur over at AdAge broke the news that Dentsu acquired New York digital shop, Firstborn, so we rang up the latter’s CEO Michael Ferdman to get his take on the deal. He says:

“We have a great thing going here. There’s always something like, why mess something up that’s not broken? But this was truly the only suitor that made sense. We are truly getting a chance just to do what we do, continue it but do it potentially on a bigger stage. That’s enormous. I’ve heard every pitch you could possibly imagine. Not to pat ourselves on the back, but we’ve been approached by a ton of suitors and I always walked away thinking, will somebody truly understand our value and make an offer that can work now and going forward? I never felt there was an offer where there was something different. I was interesting in something that helped us make the next step, not just cashing out, etc.

[Dentsu West CEO] Tim Andree just really understood us and took the time and made us an offer we really couldn’t refuse. I’m not Robin Hood and money is certainly an issue, but there are many things that are important. The people at Firstborn loving being here for a reason. There are high expectations and high reward, and today there was high reward.”

In the next day or so, we’ll hopefully be getting more perspective on the acquisition from FB president Dan LaCivita and CD Joon Park, who will remain onboard along with Ferdman.

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Motorola Can’t Help But Provoke Apple, Albeit Awfully

Perhaps feeling a tad inadequate, Motorola is jabbing Apple yet again with this teaser for what could be its Super Bowl ad, which promotes the Xoom tablet and claims that “2011 looks a lot like 1984.” We know all of you know the reference here, so let’s just turn our attention to the truly terrible visuals and melodramatic score that completely overshadow any sort of cleverness that came with Motorola’s prodding.

Since Motorola’s already an also-ran when it comes to the smartphone battle with Apple, will the former brand’s claim that “It’s time for more choices” and pleas to “live a free life” have any negative effect on Steve Jobs & Co.’s bottom line whatsoever? However it plays out, we just hope they hired better designers/creatives for a potential Super Bowl spot than they did for this clip, which has all the production value of a local car dealership ad.

Monday Odds and Ends

-W+K London supports the launch of Honda’s Jazz line with a spot, print component and a digital app (above). link

-Olson promoted Marty Barry to account director.

-News flash: Digital shops are expanding staff as the market resumes growth. link

-A surge in NFL viewership could give advertisers more “bang for their buck” come Super Bowl time. link

-A pair of Draftfcb NY execs weigh in on key industry debates. link

-The Direct Marketing Association is ready to regulate when it comes to online behavioral advertising. link

-TargetCasttcm launched a new unit that puts media services “in-house” at indie partner agencies.

-Exxon Mobil easily bests Apple as most valuable company in the U.S. link

Ad/Design School Students Ask Straight Men for Their Balls (of Pride)

According to the folks behind this clip above, straight men are the least likely demographic to speak openly about their pro-gay values. Why? Well, they obviously don’t want to seem gay by supporting homosexual rights. Want proof? Ask a straight men if he’s pro-gay, and then ask him for a detailed explanation of his views. Odds are he’ll stammer and look around nervously, especially if you ask him while simultaneously pointing a camera in his face. It’s the sad truth and, admittedly, it can be an easy trap to fall into.

In order to get straight men to fess up to their pro-gay values, GLAAD Miami Ad School and Parsons New School of Design students are asking heteros’ girlfriends to stand up on their behalf with their “Balls of Pride” campaign for Pride Week 2011. GLAAD The students are using their Facebook page to allow women to tag their boyfriends as gay-friendly, creating a virtual ball pit that hopes to exceed 130,000 straight folks who support gay rights. Also, it sounds like they’re going to make this massive ball pit outside of the internet. Apparently, it’s going to be “a place where gay people can celebrate their sexuality in a sea of compassionate balls.” That sounds like even more fun than a trip to Chuck E. Cheese.

News flash: Women find it attractive when straight men aren’t homophobic jerks. Also, gay bars can be really fun if you’re not a judgmental asshole, and they’re a great place to pick up single women. So, how about it straight guys? Do we have the balls to stand up for gay rights? Credits after the jump.

Update: A GLAAD spokesperson tells us that “this is not a GLAAD video, campaign or project. It is our understanding that it was created by an art student – without a request to use our logo and name.”

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W+K Teases Nike ‘Black Mamba’ Film

It looks like Kobe Bryant‘s getting the all-star treatment when it comes to hyping his Nike Zoom Kobe VI shoe. Now that R/GA’s supplied the Twitter-based component for the Black Mamba campaign, W+K is rolling out teasers for a “Black Mamba” film, directed by Robert Rodriguez (who also plays sound designer here),  that’s set to debut in the U.S. and China during NBA All-Star weekend in February.

The Rodriguez imprint is all over the teasers, which seem inspired by the filmmaker’s recent flick, Machete, what with the overdramatic VO, action, explosions and fonts.  Hell, they even star Machete himself, Danny Trejo, along with Bruce Willis and Kanye West for some reason. While we draw comparisons to Dwyane Wade’s nightmarish Nike spot from early last year, check out the initial Mamba trailer, credits and rather awesome promo poster after the jump.

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Hill Holliday Experiment Shows Cable TV’s Still King for Some

Hill Holliday recently did a little “cord cutting” experiment on five Boston families, who were each asked to give up traditional cable TV in favor of either Apple TV, Google TV, Boxee Box, Xbox 360 or Roku. How did it turn out for these five families?

As you will see in the video above, they were not too thrilled with having their cable taken away. Aside from slow loading/buffering and lack of HD, the families were confused and frustrated not having access to regular programming (ABC,NBC, talk shows, sitcoms, soaps, etc.). People are used to surfing through channels until they stumble across something of interest, something that’s not granted on these modern modules. Aren’t modern technological devices supposed to make our lives easier? Techcrunch’s Crunchgear section provides lengthier analysis of the experiment. Still, to be fair, is one week a sufficient amount of time to change behavioral patterns in the average person? Not really, we think.

Update: Hill Holliday’s own Ilya Vedrashko has more insight on the cord cutting project here.

Kash Sree Takes CCO Post at SS+K

SS+K has announced that Kash Sree will take on the chief creative officer role at the agency effective tomorrow, Feb. 1. Sree, who will also become the CAA part-owned agency’s seventh partner, did a little agency-hopping back in ’09 if you recall, when he resigned from JWT, dabbled in freelance then eventually signed on as ECD at Pereira & O’Dell.

During his time at the latter shop, Sree worked on accounts including Corona and Lego (check out his most recent work for the latter brand, “Brick Thief,” here). Prior to P&O’D, the London native held top creative posts at BBH and the aforementioned JWT and also had a five-year run at Wieden+Kennedy Portland. During his time at W+K, Sree picked up a Cannes Grand Prix and an Emmy, respectively, for his work on the Nike “Play” and “Move” campaigns. In a statement, the 20-year ad vet, who began his career as a junior AD at Ogilvy London, says of his new employer, “SS+K has always been about engaging people socially at many levels and that opens up fantastic opportunities to creative people like me as well as to clients.” Sree replaces SS+K’s former CCO Marty Cooke, who left last August for RAPP.

EVB Tries its Hand at a Slacker Superhero Spot

What has become of superheroes as of late? First DirecTV and now this Golf Now ad from EVB, which shows once again that leisure takes priority over saving the world when it comes to Superman/Green Lantern knockoffs.  We’re just wondering why you play golf with someone whom you know has a tee shot that even Happy Gilmore couldn’t match and the accuracy/precision of a sniper.

Anyhow, EVB’s Golf Now campaign is TV-only, which is kind of ironic considering that the spot promotes a golf website and there’s no online component included. Hey, at the least the Bureau and its creative team including ECD/director Stephen Goldblatt and copywriter Amir Farhang are going against the grain here. Full credits after the jump…

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Dentsu CEO Takes Us on a Journey Through the Andes

Just before New Year’s, we brought you up to speed on the adventures of Dentsu America CEO Will Travis, who was about to take part in a 3,500-mile bike race through the Andes known as the Dakar Rally. Well, the race is over and now that he’s shaken the rust off and is back to work in New York, Travis is ready to tell the inspirational tale of his arduous 12-day trek. Without any further ado, take it away, Will.

The Dakar is known as the toughest overland race in the world and this year was to be no exception. Had I have known four people would die, only 1/3rd of my team would complete the distance and I’d be riding 7,200km, not 5,000km in 11 days, across thick sand and gravel, in temperatures bouncing from -5 to 42degree C, I’d have given signing up for this trip a real second thought, but I didn’t and so here’s my story.

Every two years, I try and break away from the creative industry bubble to absorb the real world out there, a world of adventure, real risk and real people, waking myself back up into a perspective that’s in balance and re-tuned for life. Cycling 500miles across Alaska, summiting the highest peaks of Antarctica and Europe, motorcycling 4,000km at 18,000ft through Himalayas, out of cage diving with Great Whites and now this, the toughest of my trips, riding The Dakar from Buenos Aires over the Andes to the Chilean coast and back. OK, so now I sound like a real nut, so I better get on with sharing my experience.

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Monday Morning Stir

-W+K Amsterdam went on a creative hiring spree. link

-Today in contextual ad fail (above). link

-Dan Price will chair the One Show Radio jury. link

-Melanie Dunn was named EVP/MD of Cossette’s Montreal office. link

-How can mobile advertisers win over consumers? link