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Requiem for Stuart Elliott

Stuart Elliott Mad men

Pic via NYT reporter Stephanie Clifford

This is a guest post by Tom Siebert, agency vet and former Adweek/Mediapost reporter.

Fiends, Gossips, Backstabbers — lend me your eyes. I come to praise Stuart Elliott, not to bury him.

Figured the guy deserved as much on his last day as The New York Times’ ad industry columnist, especially after Agency Spy’s anonymous comment brigade started tossing dirt even before the body was metaphorically laid to rest in the Grey Lady’s backyard graveyard of escalating buyouts, layoffs and nudged retirements.

C’mon folks. Even among this crowd, he deserves better. Apparently the most common complaint about Stuart Elliott is that he never worked a day in the ad business, so he couldn’t really relate. This is, of course, ridiculous — does a writer need to have been a cop or killer to cover a murder? — but also misses the point.

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Periscope Introduces ‘Ralphpunzel’ for Great Clips

Independent Minneapolis-based agency Periscope launched a new spot for Great Clips, entitled “Ralphpunzel.”

Ralphpunzel, is (shocker!) a man who has grown his hair out for twenty years, to a length of seventeen feet. In the spot, he decides to finally get a haircut and is able to book ahead on Great Clips’ website. Along the way he runs into some acquaintances who are quite surprised to see Ralphpunzel doing away with his locks, and he provides them with an explanation.

Aimed at millenial males, the spot will run during the most watched college football bowl games and during the College Football Playoff semi-final and championship games. Read more

McCann Melbourne Decks the Halls with Dumb Ways to Die

McCann Melbourne has rolled out another “Dumb Ways to Die” spot supporting Metro Trains Melbourne for the holidays, following this Halloween effort.

The simple 30-second ad is centered around a re-working of “Deck the Halls,” replacing “fa la la la la” with “dumb dumb dumb dumb.” For the song itself, which is available on iTunes, McCann Melbourne teamed up with Emily Lubitz, Tangerine Kitty’s original vocalist for the “Dumb Ways to Die” song and lead singer of Tinpan Orange, along with  members of the Salvation Army Choir. All proceeds from the download will be donated to the Salvation Army Christmas Appeal. In the spot, the song is accompanied by the “Dumb Ways to Die” characters dancing around festively, concluding with Lubitz saying, “Be safe around Christmas, a message from Metro.” Fans of the “Dumb Ways to Die” phenomenon should find plenty to enjoy in the video and may even find they want to download the song to play at holiday parties, with proceeds going to charity designed as an added enticement (although you have to wonder at the choice of charity, given that the Salvation Army has come under scrutiny in recent years for its discrimination against the LGBT community, and in Australia particularly for its handling of sexual abuse claims.) Read more

McCann Takes Its Vitamins

rb_mobile_logo_retina

Following Bayer’s assignment of its newly acquired pharma brands to JWT and BBDO earlier this week, another big OTC name has made an agency shift: McCann will be AOR for the vitamin side of RB, formerly Reckitt Benckiser, moving forward.

The British RB owns quite a few familiar brands (Durex, Clearasil, Scholl, etc.), but its “vitamins, minerals and supplements” unit includes, most prominently, Airborne and products like “MegaRed®, number 1 in the healthy heart segment, Move Free® the number 2 in joint care,” which the company has owned since its 2012 acquisition of Schiff Nutrition.

From the McCann press release:

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Rokkan Plays on Yule Log with ‘Winter Wondersteak’ for LongHorn Steakhouse

Rokkan offers up a meat lovers take on the yule log tradition with “Winter Wondersteak” for Longhorn Steakhouse.

The online ad replaces a warm fireplace with the enticing sizzle of a juicy steak, footage of which runs continuously for just over an hour. In addition to the obvious homage to The Yule Log television program, the effort also calls to mind Arby’s 13 hour live-streaming spot of a brisket being smoked this May. According to the agency, the effort was created to cut through holiday social media clutter in an appeal to a younger audience of “festive carnivores” and the “fireplace challenged.” If watching a steak sizzle for an hour straight is your kind of thing, you’re in luck, as we’ve included the video above. Read more

The VIA Agency Ropes Golden Corral

GoldenCorral_logo

Yesterday we wrote that casual dining chain Golden Corral was down to three agencies in its search for a new creative lead. Since then, Adweek reported that the chain has made its decision, choosing Portland, Maine-based independent The VIA Agency over other finalists Merkley + Partners and Mullen Winston Salem. The pitch was run by Hassan and Partners and, according to Kantar Media, the brand spent approximately $55 million on media in 2013.

Prior to the review, Golden Corral had relied on freelancers and in-house production for its advertising, so The VIA Agency will act as its first lead creative agency. Adweek suggested the change in strategy could be due to the chain’s recent soft sales in the overall slumping casual dining category. The VIA Agency, who recently released a new campaign for Three Olives Vodka, has previously worked with restaurant chain Friendly’s, and currently counts Romano’s Macaroni Grill among its clients, which may have helped them land the account. Other prominent clients for the agency include Unilver, Klondike, Perdue and Welch’s.

Johnnie Walker Walks On to Anomaly


Diageo has selected Anomaly as its new creative agency of record for Johnnie Walker, Adweek reports, the culmination of a review which launched in October. The decision marks the end of the brand’s fifteen year relationship with BBH, which defended in the review. Other finalists in the review included W+K, Ogilvy & Mather and BBDO. Johnnie Walker spent an estimated $40 million on media in 2013.

Given the success of BBH’s “Keep Walking” campaign, the review came as a surprise to many in the industry, including the agency’s competitors. Upon launching the review, Guy Escolme, the global brand director at Johnnie Walker, stated that ““The brand’s relationship with BBH has been hugely successful, with the agency producing award-winning work of outstanding creativity,” but that “the time is right to invite selected agencies… to look at how we take the brand forward into the future.”

The final selection shouldn’t come as a complete surprise, as Anomaly previously worked with Johnnie Walker on “The Gentleman’s Wager,” the online spot starring Jude Law which came out this summer and ultimately topped 11 million views on YouTube.

The brand’s decision comes right on the heels of the release of BBH’s ambitious “The Next Step” spot celebrating the impending new year. That ad will now serve as the agency’s swan song to their long relationship with the brand.

For Anomaly, meanwhile, the decision follows the agency picking up Budweiser’s “Made In America” festival earlier this month and Panera Bread back in September.

Four Spots Compete to Win Carnival’s BBDO Super Bowl Campaign

Marketing Challenge Site Carnival Corporation

This morning we learned that BBDO will have not one but three spots airing during the next Super Bowl:

  • Bud Light, produced by Energy BBDO out of Chicago
  • Snickers via BBDO New York
  • Carnival Corporation, with creative by the shop’s Atlanta unit

The release we received from Carnival PR this morning tells us a good bit about the last project, which will mark the cruise line’s first Super Bowl appearance. The ad will be directed by Academy Award winner/longtime Christopher Nolan cinematographer Wally Pfister with Cedric the Entertainer playing host.

Here’s the rub: the party responsible for choosing which of four competing concepts will eventually run during the game won’t be anyone at BBDO or Carnival — it will be the public at large. As the Entertainer himself puts it, “the idea is to change people’s misconceptions about cruising.”

Check out the lineup below.

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Blue Hive Goes Further for Ford

Here’s one we missed from a few weeks back. Agency Blue Hive created a new online spot for Ford promoting the new Ford EcoSport and its keyless entry feature, entitled “Go Further.”

In the spot, a tanned beach dude, wearing a very small bathing suit walks along the beach to the tune of The Chordettes’ version of “Lollipop,” which fits the scene well. As he garners stares from onlookers, it becomes clear he’s heading back to his car. But how is he going to open it? Where could he possibly have put his keys? While the onlookers in the ad and viewers alike wonder this, he approaches the car, it beeps, and he gets in and drive away, followed by the suggestive message, “Where you put your keys is up to you.” The message is pretty clear: instead of rummaging around in a sandy bag for your keys after a day at the beach, you can just tuck your key fob in your crotch at the beginning of the day and forget about it. Thanks, Ford!
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Thursday Morning Stir

-Here’s a look at the making of Apple’s “The Song” (video above).

-Some advertisers, including Honda and Carmex, are pulling ads from the VH1 show Sorority Sisters following viewer backlash.

-Fast Company picks “The 20 Best Ads of 2014.”

-AdAge takes a look at YouTube’s most popular ads of 2014.

-Old Navy launched this “White Elephant” holiday Vine campaign.

-The Drum examines “Why creatives need time to play.”

-Hootsuite unveils 40 minute brand holiday video of an owl in front of a fire.

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