There’s no official word as of yet, but a phone call or two tells us that Ken Burbary is no longer at Lowe Campbell Ewald, where he’s spent the last two years working out of the agency’s Detroit-area office as chief digital officer. The CDO gig was not Burbary’s first rodeo at what was then Campbell Ewald, where he originally spent nearly a decade in the late 90′s onwards and eventually served as SVP/chief technology officer. In between his two stints at LCE, Burbary served as VP/group director on the strategy/analytics side at Digitas. We’ll keep you posted when we find out more.
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Droga5 New York is saying “no comment” on the matter (which usually translates into anything but “no” at this point), but sources on the Spy line tell us that agency has joined the pitch for TripAdvisor, the 14-year-old travel directory/review/booking brand that launched yet another creative agency search at the beginning of this month. According to earlier reports, TA launched the review after partnering for less than a year on offline creative work with The Fantastical, a Boston-based shop formed by a a pair of Mullen alums. Along with Fantastical, TripAdvisor has also worked with Hill Holliday and Weber Shandwick on media and PR efforts, respectively, though it appears that neither agency is affected by this latest review. From what Adweek initially reported, other agencies allegedly in the TA review mix include Goodby and Leo Burnett NY. We’re checking with all and will keep you posted.
While we’re on the Droga5 tip, we’ve received from clarification from those in the know that unlike what we’ve been hearing today, there have been no formal layoffs in the NY office, just a few reductions that were performance-related.
We’ve reached out to the Motorola camp on multiple tries and haven’t succeeded but sources tell that Brian Wallace, who joined the Google-owned company barely a year ago, is no longer there. Here is one of several comments we’ve received: “Razorfish took on Motorola when Brian Wallace went there, while still working on Samsung. They did the Motorola work under the name Digitas (and still are). Media planning/buying is being done by the real Digitas (NYC office) but the rest is Razorfish Chicago and Austin. Some key individuals were working on both at the same time [names redacted]. Samsung was not happy about this. Legal got involved. Went on for a while; Razorfish knew that Samsung would wind down the biz and move on, and it was so.”
Oy, if you recall, Wallace’s relationship with Razorfish dates back a few years, during the time he worked at RIM and served as VP/global digital marketing and media for the latter brand. Prior to his most recent gig, Wallace served in a similar VP/strategic marketing role at Samsung.
We received a straight-up “no comment” when we inquired with camp TBWA, but word from various sources is that Hector Muelas and Ricardo Viramontes, who spent nearly a year at TBWA\Media Arts Lab as group creatives directors, have moved into CD roles at Apple. Of course, you know that the brand and agency unit have been working together as exclusive partners for years so a move such as this doesn’t seem so shocking. Prior to their time at \MAL, Muelas and Viramontes spent nearly a year at B-Reel and have both worked at the likes of Creative Artists Agency and W+K during their careers. We’ll let you know if and when we hear more.
You might recall that over the summer, Samsung moved its U.S. digital business from Razorfish to R/GA and now, all of a sudden, we’ve been filled with tips possibly about the reason why. According to sources familiar with the matter, there were conflicts of interest at hand. We hear senior execs on Razorfish’s mobile biz (we won’t name names at this point as we’re still checking on things) had also pursued the relaunch of Motorola–a direct competitor–not too long after head Samsung marketer Brian Wallace , who we’ve been told brought on Publicis Groupe-owned Razorfish to its roster while he was the former company, left for a similar role at Motorola late last year.
The kicker is that our sources say that Razorfish worked as fellow Publicis Groupe digital agency Denuo in order to maintain the Samsung biz and technically handled both Samsung and Motorola at the same time, hence the boot. Oy vey, it sounds like a mess and we’re looking into it, though our sources in the know actually worked on the account but we’ll try to get some more info on the matter. Feel free to chime in below.
Well, after making a phone call to “the agency for the digital age,” we learned that William Charnock was not in the company directory, which perhaps tells us what tipsters have been saying since last night, that R/GA’s chief strategy officer has parted ways (or vice versa). Charnock was appointed as chief strategy officer nearly four years ago at R/GA, working out of the agency’s New York headquarters.
We’re double-checking with the agency’s PR folks, but prior to his time at R/GA, Charnock spent nearly eight years at JWT, last serving as director of strategic planning/co-head of strategic planning out of the agency’s Big Apple hub. During his career, the exec held various planning director roles at the likes of BBDO, what was FCB and Ogilvy London/New York.
This seems kind of odd considering the kudos DUMBO-based The Joey Company received for a Trojan campaign launched just a few months ago (above) from the likes of Buzzfeed and Adweek, but we’ve received multiple tips over the last 24 hours that the brand has parted ways with the DUMBO-based agency. Inquiries to the Joey crew have been left unanswered and we really didn’t make any inroads either with Trojan parent company, Church & Dwight, which could only serve up this measly statement: “Church and Dwight does not comment on the status of our agency partners and the brands they work on.” We’ll keep checking on the matter as we’re also hearing that another client relationship may be on the rocks at Joey. As for C&D, along with Trojan, the company also houses brands including Arm & Hammer, Nair and Orajel.
We have no idea, but we’ve received several tips about this and contacted Wieden+Kennedy on this, which referred to the client for inquires. Here’s what sources familiar with the matter tell us: “There are no details on the 2014 Jeep Cherokee advertising campaign at this time. Global Hue remains the Jeep brand’s agency of record.”As far as we know, this is W+K’s win but if you know more, please let us know. We’re told it’s for the 2014 Jeep Cherokee 2014 model launch biz. We’ll keep you posted if we hear more.
Razorfish hasn’t been the most communicative as of late, but we’re checking in on this as we’ve received multiple tips from various sources that the agency cut staff in it the central/SE region, specifically offices in Chicago, Austin and Atlanta. While we await some sort of comment/clarification, our spies tell us that approximately 25 staffers were affected across departments including some VPs. We’re hearing a certain major digital account loss in recent weeks might be to blame, but we’ll of course update as soon as we hear more. Stay tuned.
Update: Asked and received. Here’s a statement from Razorfish that maybe clarifies things: “As with all successful professional services organizations, we regularly adjust our staff levels and skills mix to align with current client needs. In keeping with that strategy, we did have to adjust staff levels in a few of our offices, which totals less than 2% of our North American staff. We will, however, continue to bring new talent and new capabilities into the agency to ensure we exceed client expectations.”
We’ve been deluged with tips over the last 12 hours that bi-coastal agency KSL Media, shut the doors of all of its offices including the main operations in NY and LA. Perhaps the writing was on the wall as last we heard from KSL, which was just a couple of weeks ago, CEO Hank Cohen and president David Sklaver both left the agency. Calls to the NY office this morning were left with an automated message that “your call cannot be completed as dialed.” Hmm. From what we gather via the tips we’ve received, KSL has declared bankruptcy and from what those on the Spy line say, “all employees terminated with no severance.” KSL was founded over 30 years ago and worked with clients including UGG and Guitar Center during the span. We’ll keep you posted if we find out more.
Update: Yes, sources familiar with the matter tell us that the decision was made yesterday to close their doors.
-Update 2: Here is the Chapter 11 announce that KSL is bankrupt. We’re hearing that certain issues with a higher-up may have had something to do with it. link
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