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Posts Tagged ‘Con Williamson’

Staffing Changes at Erwin Penland


We’ve just confirmed tips regarding layoffs at South Carolina/New York agency Erwin Penland this week.

Approximately 15-20 staffers, including at least one EVP and a creative director, are no longer with the agency. We do know that the Greenville, South Carolina office was hit harder than the Manhattan location, but we don’t have names at the moment.

Much of Erwin Penland’s recent news has been positive: prior to winning the L.L. Bean account in October, the agency announced the hiring of a new SVP/creative services director and two new creative directors to work with CCO Con Williamson in its New York office. This summer it also hired new creatives based in South Carolina.

A source tells us that this round of cuts is not the result of any business loss or the usual Q4 thinning of the herd; it is, instead, a response to shifts in client demands as businesses place greater emphasis on digital, social and other less-traditional services.

Over the summer, the agency also filed plans to build a new eight-story office building in downtown Greenville; we have no word on the progress of that project.

Erwin Penland currently employs more than 400, so the shift affects approximately 3-5 percent of total staff. Additional updates as we receive them.

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Erwin Penland Wins L.L. Bean


When last we heard from classic American brand L.L. Bean in 2008, the company had just awarded AOR duties to GSD&M’s Idea City. We weren’t aware that an agency review had been scheduled, but this afternoon we received word that the account now belongs to Erwin Penland.

The agency’s duties will be comprehensive: EP is set to handle digital, retail and creative while also helping the brand develop its marketing strategy.

In explaining the company’s choice, CMO Steve Fuller writes that “Erwin Penland’s roots align perfectly with the L.L.Bean brand.” We take that to mean that creatives at the shop based in our home state of South Cackalacky (yay ‘Cocks) are closer to the brand’s core demographic than, say, those who never leave Manhattan.

CCO Con Williamson will lead the account with the help of Chief Client Officer Joe Saracino, ECD John Cornette and SVP/Account Director Kat Shafer. (The press release does not mention any of EP’s three recent creative hires.) Williamson writes that the win is a “chance to do amazing work for a classic American brand” and calls the pitch “a true all-agency effort.”

We would tell you to check out GSD&M’s Christmas 2011 campaign for hints of what’s to come, but someone made the videos private. Why bother?

M:United Mocks Siri, Apple for HTC One

Happy Monday! Since today is unofficially Apple Week, here’s yet another brand trying to co-opt a bit of that company’s publicity.

M: United has a new campaign for the HTC One in which the agency once again takes on Apple.

Following on the heels of its August campaign promoting the Surface Pro 3 comes a spot in which the agency takes aim at Apple’s Siri, or “Robot Scarlett Johansson.”

The spot opens with Siri looking into a mirror and repeating that classic line “I feel pretty, oh so pretty” before engaging in a conversation with HTC One’s Cortana. Obviously, the conversation is intended to make Siri look silly by comparison, both via Cortana’s less computerized-sounding voice and the HTC One’s fancy features (including not one but two speakers).

This spot works better than most in its surprisingly large family, but how many more Apple-bashing ads can viewers stomach? Read more

M:United Takes on Apple for Surface Pro 3

M:United has a new campaign for Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3 which takes square aim at Apple’s MacBook Air.

Each of the three spots in the campaign focuses on comparing the Surface Pro 3 with its Apple-made competitor, in an attempt to prove the tablet/laptop’s superiority and sway potential customers to go with Microsoft. In “Crowded” (featured above) for example, an Apple fan is forced to carry around a laptop, tablet, pen and notepad, in order to compete with his boastful Surface Pro pal. “Head to Head” is a simple comparison of features and capabilities, highlighting the MacBook Air’s shortcomings (of course); while “Power” sees a smug Apple user changing his tune.

It’s a simple approach, as each add focuses on computer screens, with their users mostly out of sight. But the spots do offer some pretty persuasive arguments for the Surface Pro 3′s capabilities, probably enough to sway undecided consumers but not to change the allegiance of Apple loyalists. Stick around for credits and two more spots after the jump. Read more

Erwin Penland Adds Pair of Creatives

Craig Melchiano

Full-service marketing communications agency Erwin Penland has announced the addition of two new creatives. Craig Melchiano arrives in the role of executive vice president/executive creative director and Bee Reynolds will take on the role of associate creative director. Both are newly-created positions at the agency. Melchiano and Reynolds, who happen to be married, both arrive at Erwin Penland from Goodby Silverstein & Partners and will relocate to the agency’s Greenville, South Carolina headquarters, reporting to Chief Creative Officer Con Williamson in New York.

As executive vice president/executive creative director, Melchiano will oversee the Greenville creative team on all accounts, including Denny’s, Microsoft and Verizon. He arrives at the agency with a 15-year advertising background at agencies including Wieden+Kennedy, and TBWA Chiat Day prior to his stint at Goodby Silverstein & Partners.

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Evolve Asks Gun Owners Not to Be Dumbasses

Today, Saatchi & Saatchi New York is launching the first ever campaign for the gun responsibility organization Evolve, encouraging people to take personal responsibility for gun safety and generally not be dumbasses.

Saatchi & Saatchi’s pro-bono campaign features a short, satirical video called “The Bill of Rights for Dumbasses.” The 1:40 video portrays Thomas Jefferson and other historical figures debating the language of the second amendment. Jefferson thinks the amendment runs a little long, and after much debate, convinces the rest of the council to remove the “as long as they aren’t being dumbasses about it” part from the amendment. While the founding fathers are debating the matter, viewers are treated to a humorous montage of gun owners engaging in questionable practices, before Jefferson concludes it’s common sense that you shouldn’t act that way with a gun. The video ends with the founding fathers playing pinata with a gun, followed by the tagline, “It’s the right to bear arms, not the right to be dumbass” and a message prompting viewers to go to and sign the code of gun responsibility.

Evolve co-founder Rebecca Bond hopes that “Humor can be a gateway to taking away the defensiveness that is the legacy of these discussions.” Joe Bond, also an Evovle co-founder, added, “We want the ‘Dumbass’ concept to catch on in popular culture the way ‘friends don’t let friends drive drunk’ did for safe driving.”

Since it’s rare to find people discussing guns without getting hysterical about it, Saatchi & Saatchi’s employment of dumb humor is somewhat refreshing. But will it really chip away at the defensiveness that gun rights activists feel when discussing anything related to guns? Or are they more likely to take offense at the video depicting gun owners, and even founding fathers, as dumbasses? Unfortunately, I doubt the video will convince many viewers to “take on the code,” because even though Evolve professes to be a “third voice” in the gun debate without political affiliation, gun rights activists will still likely view the video’s satire as an attack on them. Meanwhile, the video will appeal to plenty of gun reform proponents — people who don’t need any convincing on the importance of gun safety, and mostly don’t own guns (and therefore have no need to take Evolve’s pledge). That’s too bad, because Evolve’s responsibility code is really just common sense and something any gun owner should be able to get behind — which makes this feel like a missed opportunity. Credits after the jump.

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Saatchi NY Alum Con Williamson Assumes CCO Gig at Erwin Penland


Just days after announcing his resignation from Saatchi & Saatchi New York, Con Williamson has landed a new gig at Erwin Penland, where he takes on the role of chief creative officer and work with clients including Denny’s, an account the agency took over a few months ago. Initial word last week was that Williamson would be starting a new shop, but that is not to be obviously. The 15-year creative says in a statement regarding his move, “I immediately connected with [Erwin Penland president] Joe [Erwin[]when we met over a year ago and instantly related to Erwin Penland’s sense of purpose, its entrepreneurial drive and more than anything the team’s conviction. They aren’t just talking about ‘changing the game’ or ‘being digital,’ the agency is already doing these things. We want to shake things up together and I’m glad to have the opportunity to do it with amazing people from the leadership team down.”

Along with the hiring of Williamson, who also spent time at the likes of what was Euro RSCG as well as Fallon/Duffy and JWT during his 15-year creative career, Erwin Penland has also appointed fellow Saatchi NY alums John Cornette as SVP/ECD and John Dunleavy as managing director for the agency’s New York office;/director of account management for the entire agency.

(pictured l-r, Cornette, Erwin, Williamson and Dunleavy)

Let’s Turn Around with Fiber One

The title is not a bathroom pun. Saatchi & Saatchi created a new campaign for Fiber One built around the 80′s song, “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” originally by Bonnie Tyler. If you’ve ever been within 50 yards of a karaoke bar, you’ll recognize the tune, and apparently, the 1983 hit is getting a second wave of popularity decades later. A May survey by reported that it is the most popular song people sing in the shower. And more recently, actor and vocal impressionist Christina Bianco had a video of her singing “Total Eclipse of the Heart” in the voices of 19 different divas go viral (1.8 million hits in four days).

So the relevance for the Fiber One campaign is there. We have two spots to show you, one titled “Turn Around Barry,” and the other, “Turn Around Barbara.” Ignoring the missing commas, both are about hapless characters on diets who want to eat food that tastes good but won’t make them fat. Those people do deserve power ballads playing as the soundtrack to their lives. The set-up is slightly confusing, because each ad includes multiple characters who we are supposed to assume are all named either Barry or Barbara. At one point, it looks like one Barry is even holding a leek he’s about to eat whole. But then he finds Fiber One. All in 30 seconds.

Watch “Turn Around Barbara” and read some credits after the jump.

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Rob Zombie Brings Doom, This Time for Amdro

As a longtime follower of the Halloween mythology, I was somewhat struck when Rob Zombie decided to overhaul the series, but probably more so when he subsequently took his talents to Woolite. But, it doesn’t veer from the man’s vision and neither does this spot starring Ron Howard‘s brother Clint, who plays somewhat maniacal in this effort from Saatchi & Saatchi New York for the ant-killing brand, Amdro. It’s only thirty seconds, but damn, did those pesky ants have it coming to them. Credits after the jump.

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7×7: It Just Went Over 49 Minutes (Surprise)

So, we went to Saatchi & Saatchi NY’s “7×7″ Advertising Week event just a couple of hours ago to represent our old editor/partner-in-crime MVH, who of course returned the favor by pointing out yours truly just before his speech in front of the whole audience (say 200-250 strong) at B.B. King’s in Times Square. Anyh0w, Saatchi NY’s CCO Con Williamson, the first of the “7,” prefaced things by discussing his travels to the agency’s New Zealand office, witnessing a rugby match and how this applied to winning a certain global account yesterday, though he didn’t say which  (*cough* Trident *cough*).

Following his rather humble intro, Williamson ceded the mic to Fast Company editor Jason Feifer, who provided an anecdote on how he actually learned he had lost his sense of smell (and taste). He might have gone over his time limit, as most did, but Feifer’s speech was more like a medical case study, in which you realize the tricks our own minds can play on us when it comes to our senses.

Anyhow, there was also Contagious director Jess Greenwood, who in her speech compared being tops in marketing/advertising to baseball (it appears the young lady is a rabid fan judging from her slideshow and her knowledge of the last perfect pitch as well as the dissing of the Boston Red Sox for their collapse at the end of the season).

In addition, the audience heard a diatribe about bald discrimination from Headblade inventor Todd Greene (nice touch with the Curb Your Enthusiasm clip), a biography from legendary rock photographer Bob Gruen (complete with a ton of his awesome pics in a slideshow) as well as Mr. Van Hoven’s impassioned speech about online privacy and human rights (he’s come so far *tear*). But, Saatchi saved the best for last with comedian/musician Reggie Watts, who’s actually from Seattle but could’ve had those unfamiliar with him fooled with his perfect British accent and fluid way with words. For his triumphant conclusion, Watts (below) went into music/hip-mode and used his FX boxes and sampler to create a tune to encapsulate the day’s events. It was fun and jammy and was completely out of context, which is just the way it should be.

Despite the various tangents of the hour-long event, we appreciate the fact that somehow every speech was tethered tightly or (very) loosely to advertising and marketing. On to the Battle of the Ad Bands tonight.