Reacting to a column UnderScore Marketing's Tom Hespos wrote about marketer's fear and laziness to engage in meaningful conversations with consumers, I wrote a piece calling for the creation of a "Conversation Department," a department whose sole responsibility would be to listen to what is being said about a given brand in blog posts, discussion boards, forums and other methods of group conversation, join the ongoing conversations about the brand and make sure the company properly reacts to conversational opinion by addressing concerns immediately. Today, Tom goes a bit further with this and proposes a structure for a conversation department and how it might be staffed.
The more we talk about listening, joining and learning from conversations, while everyone in a company should be doing this, it makes more and more sense for companies and agencies to created a dedicated conversation department.
To explain the benefits of participating in the agency's 401K plan, Neimen Group dispensed with the usual, boring, overly wordy memo and created a video to get agency employees to attend an informational meeting. With a five dollar bill, some glue, a mini-cam and some humor, the agency illustrated the free money aspect of the agency's employer-contributed 401K plan. Anything to rid the inbox of those lame email memos!
In an interview with Ad Age following comments regarding his belief some women in advertising are crap because of their inability to commit themselves 100 percent to the job due to childcare issues, WPP Creative Chief Niel French defended himself. Unfortunately, he just dug a bigger hole with his answer to Ad Age's last interview question:
So you didn't use the word "crap," then, in reference to women?
"Oh, of course, I did, yes. But I didn't say all female creative directors are crap. If you can't commit yourself to any job then, by definition, you're crap at it. If you can't commit 100 percent to your job, don't pretend you can. Nobody deserves a job unless they can commit to it."
To most people, the world does not revolve around their jobs alone. That era is gone. There are far more important things in life. French is out of touch with reality. Martin Sorrel should be happy he's leaving. Of course, now a debate over the definition of "commit" will likely ensue.
Honda and its agency Weiden + Kennedy are hoping two new spots currently in the works called "Impossible Dream" and "Choir" can match the success of the company's "Cog" and Grr" spots. The "Impossible" spot has a car morphing into a bunch of different vehicles including a boat and a hot air balloon. The "Choir" spot is being created by the team that worked on the "Cog" spot. We can't wait.
It's so much fun to complain about the preponderance of lame agency websites but it's equally pleasing to find an agency website that far surpasses the ad agency status quo. Thanks to Catalano Lellos & Silverstein's Alice Anda, we are pleased to find California-based The Buddy Group. To say the least, the site is quirky with a cafeteria food fight section in which you can send your favorite concoction to a friend, a bathroom Reading Material section in which you can check out the agency's publicity, a Spin the Bottle game in which you can check out agency case studies, an Activity Board that offers games and a Chef's Special section that describe the agencies capabilities. It's truly engaging and a welcome relief for the usual, boring agency blather.
In a recent study, Forrester Research named Critical Mass the best web design firm. Not that there's anything wrong with Critical Mass but Forrester deemed the pool from which this winner would be chosen to be 17. Yes, out of the hundreds of web design firms in the country, just 17 were deemed worthy of consideration. While we understand it's impossible to examine every firm in the country, for the sake of research, we hope this group of 17 was culled from a larger pool.
We're tipped to the fact Wieden + Kennedy is a bit miffed Nike jumped ship for another agency to promote its new Sasquatch driver. Apparently, Nike didn't think W + K could cut it and went to New York agency Trollback, which has done work for Nike before, to create a promotional video/commercial for the new driver. The commercial will air on NBC and on the Golf Channel throughout the month of October. You can view the work here. Oh for the days when clients clients weren't fickle and didn't jump ship every few months. OK, so that's exaggerating a bit. Clients go elsewhere for project work all the time but, for the the agency of record, it's never a pretty subject.
A creative team at an un-named agency has launched, Words & Pictures "a comic strip about the adventures of a creative team in a large advertising agency. Too stupid to create avatars that would give us plausible deniability, everything in the comic is 100% true - with the notable exception of anything that would make us look bad or get us sued. That stuff's made up. New strips are posted every Monday." And, they are funny. Check them out for some industry insiderisms.
Writing on AdJab, Chris Thilk suggests agency reviews, rather than being closed door events relegating the losing agency's work to the Recycle Bin, should become a television reality show pitting 12 agencies against one another for 12 weeks. His premise calls for the public to vote for their favorite agency-created campaign and eliminate the agency-created campaigns they don't like. While we're sure the entire, incestuous ad industry would salivate over this like paparazzi after Jessica Alba's bikini-clad butt, we're not sure "regular people" would care. That is, unless it was done in a way that caused the public to take pity on our pathetic efforts to get them to buy our products. Reality TV's pretty good at conjuring up those endearing emotional moments and a shot of a pair of hot looking, 20-something creatives crying because their campaign was just shot down or a pompous account director berating an intern for ordering roll ups instead of Thai food for an important client meeting might do the trick. Mark? Mark Burnett? Are you reading this?
Examining a couple of pages of Shona Seifert's recently written Proposed Code of Ethics for the Advertising Industry as part of a sentence for her mishandling Ogilvy & Mather funds, New Communications has found striking similarities between Seifert's code and the Adverting Federation of Australia's Agency Code of Ethics and wonders just how much Seifert has learned about ethics. While Seifert does site reference to the Australian code in her code, the similarities are, indeed, striking. Of course, there's aren't too many ways to say, "Don't Cheat. Don't Steal. Be Honest. Work Hard."