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Elizabeth S. Mitchell

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Felons Create Powerful Brand Campaigns and PSAs through ‘Concepting with Convicts’

A good idea can come from anywhere.

That was the revelation that led two interns at DigitasLBi in San Francisco to utilize the prison pen pal system to startConcepting with Convicts,” a project that helps convicted felons tap into their creativity by designing campaigns for major brands and PSAs.

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Inspired by powerful pieces of art made by felons, Ben Pfutzenreuter and Pat Davis, with the help Marcus Lof, sent hundreds of emails through prison pen pal websites seeking people who might be interested in the project. “We realized that if we could contact convicts themselves, maybe we could also show them that their creative talents can translate into a real career on the outside,” Davis told PSFK.

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Roll Call: Weber Shandwick and Code and Theory

Weber Shandwick announced the appointment of industry veteran Leslie Capstraw as general manager, Weber Shandwick Los Angeles, effective immediately. Capstraw will be responsible for day-to-day leadership of the office. With more than 20 years of experience, Capstraw has served as a senior strategist to global clients and managed integrated campaigns across a diverse range of industries and well-known brands in multiple markets. Capstraw joins from Ogilvy Public Relations where she most recently served as executive vice president, group director for Brand, and head of the Los Angeles office, focusing primarily in consumer and consumer technology sectors. Her expertise in brand building, content strategy, issues management and strategic partnerships has earned several industry awards. (Release)

Code and Theory announced the appointment of Chris Bradley as group creative director in the Brand Design Group in New York. Bradley comes to the agency from R/GA, where he served as executive creative director on the MasterCard® account, driving campaigns such as #LoveThisCity and most recently, Priceless Surprises. Prior to R/GA, he served as ECD at Big Fuel, where he worked on brands including T-Mobile, Microsoft, and GM Brands including Chevy, Cadillac, Buick and GMC. From 1999 to 2005, Bradley was creative director on the Volkswagen account at Arnold Worldwide in Boston, and from 2006 to 2011 he worked in both the New York and San Francisco office of Ogilvy & Mather. (Release)

Not Sure What to Do in the Dark During Earth Hour? Durex has a Suggestion

Durex #TurnOffToTurnOn - OFFICIAL - YouTube-2The lights and TV are off, the router is unplugged, and you’re stuck in the darkened house with your significant other for a whole hour…what, oh what could you possibly do to pass the time? Pick up your cell phones to check Instagram?

Think again.

Condom brand Durex, which recently announced its partnership with the green initiative Earth Hour, has a better suggestion: Use this time to “reconnect with each other whilst the lights are out.” *Wink, Wink*

That means not only unplugging your electric devices, but powering down your mobile ones — the brand’s Turn Off to Turn On campaign maintains that we should take that extra step on March 29, because it’s hard to connect to each other when you’re busy connecting to five different social networks, your text history, and your email (shocker).

In a release, the company muses, “By not only turning off all lights on March 29, 2014, but also switching off all gadgets and gizmos, people can use this opportunity as an excuse to swap their laptops for some loving and ditch their phones to enjoy some foreplay….The wonders of technology help to bring people together, but is it also a key factor in keeping them apart? With today’s couples interacting with their devices more than each other, could gadgets and gizmos be the main reason behind the fact that people are having 20% less sex than in 2000*?”

Very possibly, yes. Read more

Meow Mix Launches ‘Catstarter’, Which Is Exactly What It Sounds Like

Remember when Charlie Kelly of “It’s Always Sunny” invented Kitten Mittens? Well, maybe such an ingenious cat-related product would have taken off if only a feline-centric crowdsourcing cite had existed.

Enter Meow Mix and Catstarter.

The website and campaign were thought up by agency EVB, and are meant to encourage cat-lovers to release their creativity. The site is set up like the well-known crowdfunding platform Kickstarter, but is geared specifically toward “things cats love, made by people who love cats.” The best part is that you don’t even need to donate your own money to help your favorite idea become a reality — you can just vote for the products you support, and Meow Mix will pay to bring the most popular inventions to fully-functioning life. Read more

Roll Call: Lippincott, Ogilvy, Slice Communications and More

Lippincott announced the promotions of both Fabian Diaz and Allen Gove, to the position of senior partner. As senior partner in Lippincott’s Experience Innovation practice, Diaz will continue to design breakthrough experiences, innovations and branded environments. Over his 14-year career at Lippincott, his expertise in developing design strategy and frameworks has led to award-winning design systems for his clients. Gove’s promotion to senior strategy partner comes after seven years of excellent client work in brand strategy development, including positioning, naming, brand architecture and activation. Gove provides vital guidance on some of the toughest challenges facing the healthcare industry and will continue to help redefine healthcare branding during his next phase at Lippincott. He has also been a key contributor to the strategy team’s recruiting and mentoring efforts. (Release)

Ogilvy hired Michele Anderson as managing director of its Chicago office. Anderson most recently served as director of Ketchum Atlanta, where she handled day-to-day operations; before that she ran the agency’s South Africa affiliate Magna Carta for 15 years. She will relocate to Chicago and begin her new role on April 1, reporting to Robert Mathias, Ogilvy PR North America CEO. In the new role, Anderson will work closely with the global Ogilvy organization as well as its Chicago marketing and advertising wings to oversee client accounts, financial performance, business development and talent/office operations in order to guide growth and strategic direction. (Release)

Public relations and social media agency Slice Communications, LLC, announced that it has hired Jenni Glenn as a public relations account supervisor. Glenn joined Sprout (NBCUniversal’s preschool television channel) in 2006 and spent the next seven years as head of communications for the network, most recently in the role of vice president of communications and marketing. While there, she acted as the network’s main media spokesperson and was a member of the senior executive team for Sprout, handling all internal and external communications, show publicity, talent relations, social media, crisis communications, prosocial and viewer services. Prior to joining Sprout, Glenn worked in various executive and manager-level communications positions at the Miss America Organization, QVC, Inc., CDNOW, Inc., and Milan Entertainment. (Release)

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Japan Chooses Pikachu to be Mascot of 2014 World Cup

Pikachu Named Mascot of the 2014 World Cup - IGNPlease, please tell us that when this decision was made, someone stood up and cried out with epic emotion, “Pikachu, I choose you!”

The Japan National Football team (or the “Samurai Blue”) will have some serious power in its pocket come the 2014 World Cup; Adidas, which designs the team’s uniforms, announced a partnership agreement with Nintendo that will make the adorably electric Pikachu the official face of this year’s team. Along with some of his fellow Pokemon like Charmander, Squirtle and others that appear in the recently released games Pokemon X and Pokemon Y, the globally-recognizable Pikachu will be tasked with sharing his “electrifying boost” with Japan’s best soccer players.

To make this branding partnership and cross-promotion complete, the team should totally take the field to this song, no?

Duracell-Powered Bus Shelter Equipped With Heaters that are Hand-Holding-Activated

If you’re waiting for a bus in one of those little road-side shelters, you’re more than likely actively trying to stand or sit as far away from the other people in said shelter as possible — it’s not that you’re inherently unfriendly or antisocial, it’s just how it is. But in the bitter cold of a Canadian winter, might it be worth getting a little cozier with your fellow commuters for the sake of keeping warm?

Duracell decided to encourage strangers to create “Moments of Warmth” by installing heaters in a Montreal bus shelter. The heaters would only activate if the chilly commuters were willing to join hands, completing a circuit. It’s basically that scene in “Practical Magic” where the benevolent witches get the skeptical townspeople to join hands in a circle to save Nicole Kidman’s life…only less demon possession and more Duracell branding. In other words, strangers coming together to make life more comfortable, if only momentarily — what’s not to like?

Roll Call: Glover Park Group, Susan Magrino Agency and Egencia

The Glover Park Group (GPG) announced that Oliver Phillips joined the firm as a managing director, working across the company’s Public Affairs, Media Relations and Corporate Communication Practices. Oliver joins GPG from Brunswick Group, where he founded the Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Practice. Prior to joining Brunswick, Oliver ran global media strategy for UNICEF from 2003 to 2006, overseeing communications for the agency’s priority campaigns. Accompanying executive director Carol Bellamy, he led the first fact finding mission by a UN Agency head to the Darfur region of Sudan and oversaw global campaigns focused on access to clean water, reducing child mortality and increasing the availability of affordable pediatric AIDS drugs. From 2001 to 2003, he was senior advisor and communications director for California Governor Gray Davis, where, in the midst of the state’s energy crisis, he led communications for the nation’s first carbon emissions act. (Release)

Susan Magrino Agency announced first quarter internal promotions for several executive team members. Ana Calle has been promoted to senior account supervisor. She joined the agency as account supervisor in 2012 and continues to work on the Food, Wine & Spirits team. Bailey Horn has been promoted to account supervisor. Horn joined the agency as senior account executive in 2011, she will continue to work in the Consumer Division with a focus on beauty, health & wellness as well as fashion. Molly Peterson has been promoted to vice president in the Consumer Division overseeing the Home Furnishings & Design team. Peterson joined the agency in 2013 as senior account director. Brent Price has been promoted to senior account executive. She joined the agency as a trainee in 2011, and continues to work in the Consumer Division. John Rice has been promoted to senior account executive. Rice also joined the agency as a trainee in 2011 and continues to work in the Consumer Division. Annie Taplin has been promoted to account director for the Spirits team. She joined the agency in 2011 as senior account supervisor for the Travel, Food, Wine & Spirits divisions and will now oversee the Spirits portfolio for the agency. (Release)

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‘Miracle Machine’ That Turns Water into Wine Isn’t Real: Actually Elaborate Stunt for Nonprofit

Wine To Water | MiracleIf you were one of the many thousands who were super stoked about the Miracle Machine that can turn water into fine wine in just a few days, we hate to burst your bubble, but that feat will have to be left to the big guy upstairs after all — the machine was a hoax, but before you get too upset, you were fooled for a really good cause (and you can still get some wine out of the deal).

A video released a few weeks ago featured an elaborate story and presentation of the Miracle Machine, which would supposedly allow you to make high quality wine at home in just three days. The video went viral and has been viewed more than 200,000 times. All this attention has created the perfect environment for the people behind the video–the nonprofit Wine to Water–to release their punch line: the gadget doesn’t exist, but there’s a major world issue that does.

“While we can’t turn water into wine,” admits the big-reveal video (below), “we can turn wine into water.” For ten years, Wine to Water has been using wine-related events like tastings and wine sales as fundraisers to help get clean drinking water to people who need it most. To date, the organization has provided clean water and sanitation to over 250,000 people in 17 countries. Read more

Graham Cracker Company Attests That All Love Is ‘Wholesome’ in Diverse New Ad

Well, the people who (inexplicably) freaked out about the Cheerios ad featuring a multiracial family a few months back are about to blow their stacks. This new commercial from Honey Maid sends the clear message that nothing’s more wholesome than the love of a family — no matter what that family might look like.

The genuinely heartwarming spot features families of all kinds — multiracial, single-parent, same-sex — all enjoying the two most wholesome things in the world–love and, of course, graham crackers. If not done just right, squeezing all of this sweetness and diversity into a 30-second spot for a snack could easily have come across as heavy handed or pandering, yet it doesn’t, and we’re willing to bet that’s due in large part to the fact that the people cast in the ad are real families, not actors, and so the love is palpable.

The company also released a few short documentary-style videos (after the jump) introducing these families and their stories in greater depth, furthering its message that it’s love, not demographics, that makes a family.

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