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We Hear…

We Hear: TBWA\Media Arts Lab Welcomes B-Reel CDs to the Fold

We’ve been getting a few tips on the Spy line that Ricardo Viramontes and Hector Muelas, who have each spent nearly a year as creative directors at B-Reel, have been lured away by TBWA\Media Arts Lab to, you guessed it, work on Apple. Since\MAL is like Area 51 considering its Apple tie-in, TBWA would not comment on the hirings, but prior to their work at B-Reel, Viramontes served as an art director for four-plus years at W+K New York on accounts including Jordan Brand and has also worked at the likes of CAA (you surely remember this) and BSSP.

Muelas, meanwhile, also worked at CAA on the same campaign among other things as well as W+K Amsterdam on accounts including Nike and Coca-Cola. We’ll let you know if and when Tim Cook & Co. or those on the agency level remove the leash and reveals more specifics.

We Hear: Livingston Heading to McGarryBowen?

Yes, that’s the word on the street/tips line. For the last week, we’ve been hearing that Doug Livingston, who we reported was leaving his post as EVP/director of digital integration, is joining up with McGarryBowen. Now, spies on the ground tell us that it is indeed so, though no title/start date has been disclosed as the usually responsive, Dentsu-owned agency is being unusually quiet about this particular matter. We’re trying to light a fire, but we’ll keep you posted. As mentioned previously, Livingston spent six years in all at Grey and oversaw digital biz dev, recruitment and client assignments while at said agency.

We Hear: Lyons Joining Farrell at Havas?

Well, since our inquiries last week to Havas regarding Vin Farrell went nowhere because Adweek apparently had some exclusive/vice grip on the agency’s comms, let’s just go “we hear” on this one before another “exclusive” pops up. Along with said agency’s new global chief content officer, we’ve been hearing all week that fellow R/GA-er Sean Lyons is following suit and joining up with Havas. Lyons has spent well over eight years at the agency for the digital age and for the last year has served as SVP, operations and business planning.

During his lengthy stay at R/GA, Lyons has moved up the ladder from group director to managing director to his current SVP post. We’ve checked in with both camps about the apparent move, but have yet to hear back. Maybe it was something we said, but we’ll let you know if we hear more.

We Hear: Hunter Out at Deutsch LA?

Multiple reliable sources have been telling us over the last few hours that Mark Hunter, who assumed the chief creative officer post at Deutsch LA at the end of 2010, has been let go from the agency. We’ve inquired a couple of times for official word, have yet to hear back, but sources say this move happened as of this morning, is “100% legit” and was made at Deutsch’s request.

Hunter, who essentially replaced Eric Hirshberg after the latter quit Deutsch L.A. to join Activision, headed to the former after spending time as ECD at TBWA/London. During his career, the senior creative also worked at the likes W+K Amsterdam on Nike as well as Euro RSCG. While at Deutsch, as one would imagine, Hunter has overseen all notable creative for past and present clients including VW and PlayStation (we believe you know quite a few, lest we run it down). We’ll update, of course, if and when we hear more.

We Hear: Cereda Out at Translation?

It’s never been easy to get some prompt, direct feedback from Translation, and this week’s been no exception. Over the last 24 hours, we’ve received several tips that Chris Cereda, who’s led creative at the New York-based agency for a year as CCO, has left Translation. Once again, we inquired directly to the agency and without comment, were directed to the man himself, Translation founder/CEO and Adage’s latest Executive of the Year, Steve Stoute, who we’ve come to know a bit in recent months.

Unfortunately, we’ve been unable to reach Stoute (let alone Cereda, who’s LinkedIn appears to have disappeared as well) when calling his office and are still waiting to hear back. As for Cereda himself, the Translation CCO has led the charge on various notable campaigns in recent months including the fun State Farm “Chris Paul/Cliff Paul” work and of course, the various Bud Light/Platinum efforts. Prior to joining Translation, the creative chief served as ECD at KBS+P and has worked at McCann on accounts including MasterCard during his career. We’re checking with all resources on this, so we’ll update with comment if and when we do hear back (wishful thinking, perhaps).

We Hear: Razorfish Cuts in Central/SE Region? (Updated)

The numbers have been varying all morning on this one, but we’ve received several reports that Razorfish has cut staffers across departments, across cities ranging from Chicago to Atlanta to Austin.

We’re hearing anywhere from 30-50 staffers (actually, some are saying even 100?!) have been affected. Was it due to the Publicis Groupe-owned agency overbooking staff on the Samsung digital biz? We’re not sure at this point, but the tips have been piling up all morning on this one. We’re of course checking and will keep you posted if and when.

Update: Here’s a quick statement from a Razorfish spokesperson: “As consumer needs continue to shift alongside the digital landscape, we periodically make staff adjustments to guarantee we’re equipped with the skills that match our clients’ changing demands. The recent workforce reduction will ensure continued operational health as we evolve these critical offerings moving forward.  Our capabilities and staffing are now further aligned so that we can continue to effectively deliver solutions at the intersection of technology, media and creative.”

We Hear: G2 to Detach from Grey, Align with Ogilvy?

We’ve been hearing murmurs about this since early last week, and now, sources familiar with the matter fill us in on what could transpire in the coming weeks within the WPP umbrella, specifically for G2. From what we’re being told, G2–which currently operates as its own separate unit under WPP despite being born from Grey and aligned under Grey Global Group (the “parent/child” relationship was never really a thing, though, say sources)–is pretty much set to realign under WPP sibling Ogilvy and become an Ogilvy company.

Sources tell us that G2′s move to peel away from Grey has been discussed by all parties involved since late last year, but it’s been stop and start ever since. Tipsters on the Spy line, though, tell us that G2′s purported realignment was already announced at a recent town hall meeting. Whatever the case, G2′s move to Ogilvy’s New York HQ, aka “The Chocolate Factory,” doesn’t seem too far-fetched when you consider that the former’s recently installed USA CEO, Harvey Kipnis, has a relationship with the latter that dates back to 2003. We’ll try to fill in the blanks once we get some clarification and/or confirmation on the matter.

We Hear: Team Detroit Cuts…Again?

And the beast hath reared its head again. Sadly, though, we’re once again not getting any response, save for the generic auto-reply via email and a toss-off from staff via phone from WPP unit, Team Detroit. Various folks have told us that said agency, which handles Ford North America ad duties, has once again cut staff, just six weeks after the last time when we heard the same. From what we’re hearing thus far, over 30 people were laid off before the Presidents Day weekend. We’ll keep checking, whether all for naught or not.

Hmm, So Did Translation Win Another Bud Pitch Yesterday?

Well, the details are as scant as can be on this one at the moment, but receiving a “no comment” from an agency on the matter versus flat-out denial certainly raises our suspicions. From what sources tell us, NYC-based agency Translation has apparently won a pitch to A-B InBev and Jay-Z himself yesterday for a global music initiative with Budweiser, which doesn’t seem too far-fetched considering the Hova’s close ties with agency CEO Steve Stoute (not to mention, duh, his actual involvement in Translation) and the former headlining the Bud-sponsored “Made in America” festival last year.

We’re hearing that several folks from the AB-InBev were in attendance yesterday along with Jay-Z and a few Roc Nation execs. You know Translation’s stance at the moment, but we’re of course checking with the brew giant on the matter.

We Hear: What’s Up with Nissan’s Direct/CRM Biz?

Well, this popped up in the tips box late yesterday afternoon and piqued our curiosity. According to spies in the ether, the $20 million direct/CRM portion of the Nissan/Infiniti account, which has been handled by TBWA\Chiat\Day like basically all other components of the automaker’s ad business, is up for review. When reached, the TBWA camp referred all inquiries to Nissan, and a spokesperson would only go so far as to tell us (and reiterate it on second inquiry) that “as a matter of policy we do not discuss matters involving our Purchasing operations.” So…you’re saying there’s a chance?

Despite the ambiguity surrounding the direct/CRM business, the Nissan rep did assure us that TBWA\Chiat\Day is the brand’s agency of record (as well as for Infiniti, of course). In fact, both agency and client’s relationship has expanded as Nissan recently selected TBWA to resurrect its long-lost Datsun brand. The agency’s \London and \HAKUHODO offices will steer the ship for Datsun. As for the direct/CRM, we’ll keep you posted if and when we hear more.

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