We've enjoyed all manner of holding company/held company corporate bitching from the inside and always reveled in its idiocy, ego-powered chest beating and pointless one upmanship so it it with glee we see an IPG bitch fight sprawled across the pages of Ad Age. Follow along. IPG owned Howard Merrell & Partners won the North Carolina Lottery account. HM&P resigned the account within one week because, according to HM&P, IPG wouldn't put up a required $1 million bond to insure vendor payment. The Lottery issued a press release announcing its account would be handled by independent Wray Laseter but made no mention of HM&P. HM&P issued a release that read, in part, "has issues meeting the bond requirements for HM&P. IPG could not resolve the issues in a timely fashion. As a result, IPG advised HM&P to withdraw from consideration. And, we have. The entire staff at HM&P is extremely disappointed. We put a lot of time an effort into the bidding process, and we were looking forward to working with the [lottery]."
Today, Publicis Groupe announced the formation and launch of Denuo, a "strategic initiative designed to anticipate and exploit the rapidly changing digital, interactive and mobile communication environment." Denuo will be a separate company and "but is not based on any pre-existing industry model." The company will focus on strategic consulting; ventures and partnerships and the usual execution of work. The group will be headed by long time Publicis Media Groupe guru Rishad Tobaccowala, Publicis Groupe Media Chairman Jack Klues and 15 others culled mostly from withing other Publicis Groupe companies including Beyond Interactive's Nick Pahade, Play's Tim Harris and PJ MacGregor, Digits Founder Courtney Jane Acuff, and Reverb's Dan Buczaczwer among others.
If this were coming from anyone other than Starcom/MediaVest/Leo Burnett/Publicis, we'd pass it off as industry puffery. But, time after time, this group has proved to innovate on a large scale and perhaps this is the first stab at exactly what the future ad agency will look like.
Steve Dworon, who worked with Donny Deutsch at Deutsch/Dworin from 1991 to 1994, is suing Donnie Deutsch for defamation and a breach of an agreement the two had that barred each from being nasty to each other for the rest of their live's. It seems Donnie said some unkind things about Steve in his new book, Often Wrong, Never in Doubt. The battle, which began in the pages of Page Six last week, has all the making of a crappy TV movie: office infighting, name calling, publicity whoring, crying...yes, crying, and promised revelations as to why Dworin really left Deutsch back in 1994. Hmm. We're not going to postulate lest we suffer tha wrath of defamation suites ourselves but we're happy to let you all speculate wildly in comments as to what's really going on between the two.
For those of you from the cassette tape days, you might find this Valentine's Day card from Exopolis a little bit of fun. Back in the day, kids placed their cassette tape recorders next to their clock radios to record their favorite songs while playing DJ making cheesy mix tapes for their friends. Exopolis has taken that practice digital providing a cassette tape juke box of sorts with classics like Hall & Oates' Kiss on my List and our fave, The Divynls' I Touch Myself.
Last week we told you about Hart + Larson's Ham + Lambert site which promised to show a woman named Andrea watching the Super Bowl and rating the ads. For those of us who only care about the commercials, have ADD and enjoy watching an attractive female rate Super Bowl ads, this is the video for you. Watch Andrea as she has settles in on the comfy sofa, has a beer and some snacks, paints her wall, does other weird stuff and gets up off the couch during ad breaks to rate each commercial with placards using a rating system including "Effective," "Entertaining," "A Waste of $2.5M" a score and commentary. She even does a Half Time show. But the best part is she does it while teasingly undressing and dressing. No, there's no nudity but if you want to watch the game in 14 minutes, DAMN, this is the way to do it.
Expanding its its paid, post-graduate, 18 week intern program, Velocity, which was introduced last year, the Martin Williams agency has expanded its scope beyong the world of account management and will offer college grads interested in creative design and media the chance to dive into the world of advertising. So if any of you are thinking about getting into the ad biz, check this out. Just know that you'll have to pose for staged "candid" videos while you work and write about your experiences in the program's blog.
Hart+Larson, that agency that tried to hire Neil French has launched a weird site that promises to entertain by allowing us to view a certain Andrea as she watches the Super Bowl and view Super Bowl commercial ratings from the "Hart+Larson patented rating system." Whatever.
As a goof, a new business strategy and a statement that isn't far from the truth, Maryland-based ad agency MGH placed an ad this week in the Wall Street Journal with the headline, "Sweatshop conditions at America's advertising/PR agencies must end." The ad claims agency personnel are overworked due to decades old practices of cutting overhead and under staffing, that it's an unseen practice and that it negatively effects clients. All true. However, the ad neglects to mention clients no longer value most agencies as the true business partner they once were and refuse to pay them what they're worth, sloughing them off and just another vendor which can be financially bled dry while the client reaps the rewards and profits the agency created for them. Of course, an ad that spoke that truth wouldn't gain much new business.
To be fair, most agencies are not adapting to clients' needs and have refused to step outside the mold that's been in place for a hundred years. So it's no surprise clients have devalued agencies because, in the eyes of the client, they aren't getting what they want from the agency so they aren't going to pay thereby causing the problem this ad so succinctly points out.
This year, there seems to be a fascination with the flushing of toilets during halftime. Like the obsession with national toilet flush stats following M*A*S*H, Scott tissue will leverage the notion that all 90 million Super Bowl viewers will collectively go to the bathroom at the same time with the launch of Halftime Flush, a site touting the dissolvability of Scott toilet paper. On the site, Mike Ditka lends his intense convicibility to Scott's superior toilet tissue and a game allows visitors to match toilets to their flushing sounds. OK, so bathroom humor is always a good standby but we like VIA's simpler approach to the whole halftime flush thing.
Portland, Boston and New York-based Via has put together a nice Year in Review site that highlights the agency's achievements, the work it did for its clients and the people on the agency that did the work. It's taken the typically boring Case Study section of most agency websites and turned it into a piece of entertainment one would actually enjoy viewing.