After spending nearly two decades at AKQA, first in London and the last 10 years in San Francisco, Neil Robinson is moving on from his longtime home and embarking on a “new adventure,” sources familiar with the matter confirm. From what we’ve been told, today is Robinson’s last day at AKQA SF, where he’s spent nearly the last two years as executive creative director. According to sources, fellow AKQA SF ECD Stephen Clements, who’s been with the agency for a dozen years, will continue to lead creative in San Francisco and AKQA is in the process of seeking the right candidate to help lead the department.
IKEA is certainly no stranger to goofy promotional videos, and their latest centers around a cosplaying civil servant from Singapore named Frank.
Franks’s hobby is beginning to make life in his small apartment difficult. With “many costumes and lots of raw materials lying around,” there’s not room for much else in Frank’s room. So, in a stop-motion sequence featuring anime-tastic music, the IKEA crew comes in and cleans things up. Demonstrating IKEA’s storage solutions, all Frank’s costumes remain in his room, neatly stored away, and there’s room for him to, you know, walk around and stuff.
“Is this even my room?” Frank asks. As he walks around appreciating the transformation, the video highlights certain IKEA products responsible for the improvements, closing with the “Make Space Better” tagline. It’s a pretty clever way to show how IKEA’s storage solutions can transform a small space, although we suspect some may be turned off by the whole cosplay thing.
Th1ng director/animator Sylvain Chomet received a personal request from The Simpsons creator Matt Groening to animate the iconic “couch gag” that concludes the opening credits of the show, now entering its 26th season. Obviously, you don’t turn down a personal request from Matt Groenig, so the three-time Oscar nominee Chomet offered up a distinctly French take on the gag, which was just revealed online today.
Chomet joins an illustrious list of individuals invited by Groening to animate the sequence, including Bill Plympton, Banksy, and Guillermo Del Toro. Indeed, in recent years the couch gag has all too often overshadowed the rest of the episode. Executive producer Dominic Buttimore (Bart Simpson would have a field day with that one), a longtime collaborator, “worked closely with Chomet to create and storyboard the concept for the animation sequence, which was immediately met with ‘laughter and appreciation’ by Groening and Simpsons’ longtime show-runner/producer Al Jean. Jean went as far as to call the experience a “dream come true.”
The new couch gag (featured above) is one of the show’s best, thanks to some great jokes and Chomet’s inimitable animation style. It will air during the episode “Diggs” this Sunday, March 9th. Stick around after the jump for credits and couch gags from Plympton and Banksy. Read more
-Chicago-based Y&R Midwest has taken over as AOR for CPG Building Products, a leader in the category of low maintenance trim, decking, railing, mouldings, unique recycled landscaping pavers and deck lighting. Y&R Midwest will now handle brand strategy, creative, and media planning and buying for two of CPG’s premier brands: AZEK Building Products and TimberTech. The agency succeeds Eric Mower and Associates and from what we hear, Y&R Chi beat out the likes of Doner on the biz.
-TBWA\Chiat\Day NY has welcomed its Helsinki office alum/former ECD, Martin Mohr, as a CD who will lead digital creative across clients in the agency’s Big Apple branch.
- Minneapolis-based ad agency, Modern Climate, has been selected as agency of record for local joint, Heggies Pizza. AOR duties include strategic planning, brand identity, social, digital and traditional communications.
- Empirical Media Advisors today announced the appointment of Jim Friedlich as chief executive officer effective immediately. Friedlich succeeds Jack Griffin, who was appointed CEO of Tribune Publishing and begins his new role on April 14.
-Feel like reimagining reimagining SXSW as part of Mario Kart gaming? Well, look no further than this new work from Pennzoil (above).
-Here are your full finalists for this year’s Shorty Awards. link
-Richard Summers, head of strategy at Anomaly Shanghai, has been promoted to partner at said agency.
Despite Darden Restaurant Inc. executives’ reassurances to analysts Monday that they could bring about a ” ‘brand renaissance’ at the Italian chain with a new look and updated menu that presented food with ‘flair and sophistication’ ” the brand redesign has thus far been poorly received. CEO Clarence Otis acknowledged,”We certainly recognize that industry dynamics have changed considerably over past two years,” the AP reports.
The troublesome new logo met with its share of (quite fair, we think) criticism since its release, with shares reportedly down 5% the day of its unveiling. Additionally, according to our tipster, “many consumers are complaining about the new look and feel of the brand.” In case you were wondering, the menu changes include additional small dishes and an option to mix and match pastas and sauces. But we know you’re just there for the unlimited breadsticks anyway.
We’ve received confirmation that Aaron Griffiths, who’s spent the last two years at ArnoldNYC, where he served as chief creative officer for clients including St. Ives, has parted ways with the agency. In a statement, Arnold camp says, “We appreciate the creative vision Aaron brought to the agency and his many contributions. We wish him much success in his new endeavor and look forward to opportunities to work again in the future.” From what we’ve been told by sources familiar with the matter, the CCO transition period will take some time and while ArnoldNYC evaluates, no decision is to made as of right now. To recall, Griffiths partnered with the likes of John Staffen as co-CCO before taking over as sole CCO last year.
The grand prize (an all-expense-paid weekend trip to South Beach and a $1000 donation to a charity of the winner’s choosing) went to Y&R’s Abby Bralove, who submitted the above stop-motion video of her and her chucks. Abby chose St. Jude’s Research Hospital to receive the $1,000 donation. The contest, which “drew several dozen entries from agency creatives and producers” also handed out three runner-up prizes to Melanie Baublis and Jane Minehan of O&M, who won $500 donations in their names to Doctors Without Borders, and Brian Gonsar of Hill Holliday, who gave his donation to Teach for America.
In what may be the cutest advertisement you see today, ROKKAN teamed up with healthcare giant WellPoint to create “The ABCs of Disease,” “a creative extension of WellPoint’s Real Health campaign, a full scale digital & social initiative aimed at simplifying and educating Americans around the often complex landscape of healthcare and insurance.”
“The ABCs of Disease” is a fun video in which Forrest Kline, of powerpop band HelloGoodbye, leads a group from the imagined Florence Nightingale Middle School through a pageant depicting “26 reasons to protect your health” from A-Z. It’s an infectious little number that ROKKAN and WellPoint hopes will catch on and convince viewers of the need for health insurance. “The ABCs of Disease” features an original song, handmade costumes and adorable cast of characters from asthma to bacteria to narcolepsy. In addition to the long-form video, the campaign also includes “a range of elements from short form pre-roll spots and bite-sized video content to the website, which serves as the digital conversation hub.” You can check out the full length video above, and stick around for “The ABCs of Disease: Catch it Now!” after the jump. Read more
In case you were wondering, here’s your new Moxie website, which, like Kevin Garnett implied when the Boston Celtics won the championship a few years back, “anything is possible.” From what we’ve been told, this marks a new site for the agency, which as you recall merged with Engauge last summer under the Publicis Groupe banner.
IPG Mediabrands collaborated with TubeMogul, “the leading advertising software company for digital branding,” to create the Ad-Tech Apprenticeship, “the first apprenticeship in the advertising technology industry.”
The one year program sends apprentices on an intensive training program that involves six month rotations at IPG Mediabrands and TubeMogul offices in California, allowing successful applicants to experience “a vast media agency capability at IPG Mediabrands, and an entrepreneurial, technology-focused organization at TubeMogul.” Apprentices will gain an understanding of the digital business, as well as a full skill set in programmatic advertising.
“As we enter a data-driven age where software powers the execution of brand advertising, there is a need for a new generation of professionals with distinct skills. This apprenticeship is specifically designed to foster that talent, combining IPG Mediabrands’ leadership in moving the industry towards automation with TubeMogul’s innovative, technology-driven environment,” said Brett Wilson, CEO and Co-Founder of TubeMogul.
The Ad-Tech Apprenticeship began accepting applications last month, so head over to the site and apply now if you’re interested (or would just like to learn more). TubeMogul and IPG Mediabrands will be looking for “the most curious, ambitious and creative graduate talent and will give successful candidates the opportunity to start their media careers at TubeMogul or IPG Mediabrands.” Selected applicants will begin the year-long program in June.