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Archives: April 2013

Cianciotto Moves Up to Chief Digital Officer at DDB

We’ve just received confirmation that Joe Cianciotto, who’s spent well over nine years at DDB and works out of the New York office, has been appointed to the newly created position of chief digital officer at the agency. Along with his new CDO title, which he will take on effective immediately, Cianciotto will also maintain his position as executive creative director, a role he’s held at DDB for the last six years (he also served as director of digital integration for the last three). During his career, the senior creative also spent over six years at Publicis, where he last served as an ACD. Cianciotto will continue to work out of DDB’s NYC office.

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Tuesday Odds and Ends

-Valleywag tells us how Foursquare plans to earn ad revenue from check-ins. link

-New York-based editorial company Crew Cuts has welcomed Julienne Guffain as lead mixer/sound designer.

-Want to know what WPP don Sir Martin Sorrell made in 2012, taking into account salary cut and all? link

-With the help of BBDO New York and director Meagan Cignoli, home improvement chain Lowe’s has marked its first use of Vine with a spring campaign called “Lowe’s Fix in Six” (one Vine above, see more here, here and here).

-Unilever-owned ice cream staple Ben & Jerry’s appointed Denstu-owned 360i as its new strategic digital agency of record. link

-Here’s how CERN is celebrating the worldwide web’s 20th birthday. link

SapientNitro’s Portfolio Night Clip Might Look a Little Familiar

If you don’t feel like watching the whole 3-minute Portfolio Night Boston clip from SapientNitro above, here’s a brief summary: A hipper-than-thou ad creative pitches a wealth of concepts to an agency head. The problem is, that this mustache-sporting creative’s ideas hinge on a litany of buzzwords and tech-y hoopla, which the agency head (OMG! Look at his CLIOs! Look at Cannes Lions!) shakes his head at. The creative is then escorted out of the building, and we see the words “Idea Before Everything” flash across the screen.

You’ve probably seen this execution done hundreds of times before, many times made by agencies that see these little vignettes as an opportunity to advertise themselves as shops that “get it.” They do so by making fun of whatever new ad trends are the talk of the town right now, making sure that the viewer (who is generally either an employee or someone who works at another agency, like you) knows that they don’t buy into bullshit hype and that their work is somehow pure. But, let’s be honest, does anyone really believe that? Has anyone won new business that way? Can any of you say that you never worked at an agency that unironically bought into these kinds of hype-driven executions this video mocks? Sure, it has to done, because that’s what clients want, but let’s not pretend that all of us have clean hands.

I guess what I’m asking for is that agencies who preach innovation to start marketing themselves in an innovative fashion. That, or how about we actually practice what we preach and don’t make creative that actually does hinge on whatever buzzword Mashable puts on their homepage (not going to happen). For the record, I’m not calling out SapientNitro in particular. I’m just tired of seeing this idea.

B-Reel Founding Partner Heads Back to the States to Lead Creative in L.A.

After spending the last two years in his native Sweden serving as chief creative officer at his production company B-Reel, Petter Westlund has returned to the U.S. to head up creative at the shop’s L.A. branch. Westlund co-founded B-Reel along with Pelle Nilsson and Anders Wahlquist in Stockholm back in 1999. Since that time, the prodco has not only worked on campaigns for major brands ranging from Google and Doritos to Evian and Adidas over the years, but has also opened up shop in New York, London, Berlin and, of course, Los Angeles.

Westlund’s first stint in the States involved opening up B-Reel’s NYC branch back in 2008. The founding partner will now be joined in L.A. by cohort Karl Ringman, who has been promoted to CD/creative technologist, as well as senior art director Mark Wheeler, who is relocating to the West Coast from B-Reel’s London office. Says Westlund’s partner-in-crime Nilsson, who serves as executive producer and oversees the L.A. office, “Petter is the original Swiss Army Knife of digital production. His creative direction, tech savvy and bang-on-target aesthetic has been paramount to B-Reel’s success.”

Op-Ed: And the ‘All-Time Insensitive Award’ Goes to…

By now, you’re probably aware of the shitstorm spawned by Hyundai and Innocean’s recent U.K. spot “Pipe Job,” which didn’t sit too well with people who were directly affected by its subject matter. In turn, the ad was pulled and apologies rained. So, since it’s still fairly fresh in mind, let’s get some quick thoughts on the campaign from Bernie Pitzel, a 35-year ad vet who’s currently creative in residence at Jacobs Agency and is the man behind the “Be Like Mike” Gatorade campaign.

…Hyundai and those wacky cut-ups at Innocean Europe for their recently pulled Hyundai iX35 “Pipe Job” commercial portraying a failed suicide attempt, which was the platform they decided on to tout their 100% water emissions.

Suicide? Really?

Oh, the commercial is powerful, but at what cost? How low can we go to shill a product? Apparently, way lower than I or most of America imagined.

This is the heartbreaking reaction to the commercial from Holly Brockwell, an advertising creative whose father committed suicide; her father’s last note is included. It’s very sad that she had to relive the pain because of this cruel and thoughtless piece of trash.

What amazes me most, is not that some clown came up with this idea (this business has more clown cars than Barnum & Bailey), but that not one person at either Innocean or Hyundai, said, “You know group, maybe depicting a suicide attempt is not such a great idea.” Apparently humanity, common decency and common sense are out the window if we think this is the kind of execution that can sell a car. A stupid car.

I won’t go on. The article, which consists mostly of Holly Brockwell’s response, speaks to the senselessness and pain far better than I ever could.

It’s a tough read. I can only imagine the tears she shed on her keyboard while she wrote it, and I can join her in never, ever purchasing a Hyundai.

In the end, I only hope “Pipe Job” encourages people to shy away from this ridiculously insensitive brand, rather than achieve Hyundai’s and Innocean’s desired intent.

Yes, they got our attention.  Let’s hope they pay dearly for their success.

Op-Ed: Mud-Wrestling Hippos–with Data

Once again, Simon Mathews, currently chief strategy officer at West Coast shop, Extractable who’ s also worked at the likes of Isobar as well as Molecular on the strategy side during his career, is back with his monthly contribution to this here site. We’ll just let him explain the headline. Take it away, sir.

Every digital design / marketing project has a client. Not the most insightful of statement, I know.

And every client has the senior boss, the final sign off or at least the ‘key’ stakeholder.

Many times this senior stakeholder adds knowledge and value to the project, skillfully guiding the future campaign or digital experience inline with long-term business strategy.

Other times, not so much. This is when we enter the world of the mythical, but oh so real, Hippo (Highest-Paid-Person’s Opinion).

I first encountered a big-game Hippo more than 15 years ago while just a junior strategist working in the background (fetching coffee) on an Asian airline TV campaign. The last step of the mammoth production process was a viewing of the final commercial for the airline’s CEO.  It went well. He loved it. Then, this gem of a quote, “It would be better with harp music.”  I’ve never seen an executive creative director quite so speechless.

Today, with digital experiences we merge creative spark and data insight. And it’s this data that makes the challenges of the Hippo more obvious, but may also give us a path to success in the mud-wrestling arena.

Read more

Tuesday Morning Stir

-Tribal DDB has beaten out the likes of McCann, R/GA and W+K to take this year’s Webby Agency of the Year honors thanks to its work for McDonald’s Canada and KLM among other projects. Check out the full 2013 Webby winners list here.

-Method/A Different Engine alum John Gilles has joined Code and Theory’s San Francisco office as director of new media.

-Michigan-based Duffey Petrosky has launched a new agency unit dubbed Embark Digital, which will be led by president Mark Russell, who previously served in a dual role as president of Wunderman Toronto and managing director of Blast Radius’ central region. link

-London-based shop Holler, which picked up Mercedes-Benz’ social strategy account last summer, has launched an interactive hub for the automaker to promote its “Van Experience.” link

-Despite Wrigley’s insistence that it’s marketing its new Alert Energy Caffeine Gum only to adults, health advocates say kids are the target of a new social media campaign for the product. link

J.B. Smoove ‘Goes Deep’ with The Economist

Instead of skimming social media posts and hashtags for news updates, The Economist wants you to go deeper. Putting aside the sexual innuendo for a minute, “Dare 2 Go Deep,” created by Atmosphere Proximity, confronts an important topic in our short-attention-span world that continues to value speed more than depth. Investigating into the news instead of repeating tweets is one way to do this, according to the campaign. The attached video features the inspirational verve of comedian/actor J.B. Smoove, who must’ve taken some time off from his video game endorsement duties to help us all go deeper.

While the campaign was probably built with good intentions, it’s hard to ignore the blatant innuendo, which comes across as a dad trying to be funny in front of his kid’s friends with some stiff entendres. The Economist, after all, boasts a large chunk of readers who earn six-figures–maybe going deep is an awkward way to reach out to younger demographics? Smoove thrusting on a Segway and yelling, “I go deep,” as the spittle from the corners of his mouth land on students in the eighth row is a great stroke, but maybe not for current and future readers of the magazine. J.B. Smoove is still awesome enough to make the video enjoyable, just want to reiterate that point.


Monday Odds and Ends

-L.A./SF/NY-based visual studio Ntropic has tapped former twofifteenmccann director of integrated production, Tom Wright, to serve as its managing director, North America.

-San Francisco-born/now New York-based Shmaltz Brewing Company, which produces craft beers including Coney Island Craft Lagers and He’Brew, has formed its first formal agency relationship–minus a review–with fellow Big Apple operation, Launchpad. Among other things, the latter will handle package design, a new site and other online initiatives for the brand.

-MEC has appointed Jude Ryan as senior partner, lead statistical methods in its North American Analytics & Insights practice.

-CannesAlso, which explores what creatives do outside of their day jobs (and has been a fave topic on this here site) returns for its third year. link

-According to Wired, Apple is now getting “spanked” by Samsung. link

-Vogue goes behind the scenes of Beyonce‘s new H&M commercial, which as stated by others, is essentially just one long music video. link

-Online discount luxury fashion retailer The Outnet has appointed We Are Social as its global social media AOR.

Creative Duo Morton/Clegg, Chiat LA Part Ways

Don’t worry, worried tipsters. Though they left TBWA\Chiat\Day LA rather quietly, we’re getting word from sources in the know that there was nothing sinister going on regarding the departures of group creative directors/significant others Becca Morton and Gage Clegg. But yes, we have received confirmation that Morton and Clegg, art director and copywriter by trade, respectively, have left Chiat LA after spending nine years with the agency (as well as with its innovation studio, Let There Be Dragons), where they worked on past and present accounts including Visa (remember the 2008 spot above?), The Grammys, Johnson & Johnson, Pedigree and Southwest.

Now that sources tell us their last freelance work with said agency is in the can, which may explain why their departure was a bit subtle, the pair has struck out on their own as you can see in their most recent LinkedIn update. Here’s an excerpt: “We love coming up with ideas, solving problems, finding solutions and making things that are smart and simple and beautiful. We don’t so much love meetings and politics and not ever being able to go on vacations and such, so have decided to enter the wild and wolly world of freelance.”

Morton and Clegg started out as senior art director and copywriter, respectively, before eventually getting bumped up to GCDs at TBWA C\D LA two years ago.