Omnicom Internal Video Reminds Employees That It’s Like ‘Working for a Big Family’

omnicom mario

Today in Yes, It’s Friday News, we hear that Omnicom sent a URL out to all employees on Wednesday that is kind of amazing.

We Are Omnicom is a big WordPress site that loads a bit slowly but includes lots of information on the holding company’s global operations.

omnicom videoThe copy below the featured video, which we can’t embed but you should really watch:

You are a part of five world-leading global networks. You are 75,000 amazing, talented, creative and innovative minds; spanning 35+ markets, serving over 5,000 category defining brands. You are amongst the best of the best. We like to think we’re the home of creativity – but we’d be nothing without you. You are our Connected Brilliance. And together…

We are Omnicom.

We learned a fair amount about the holding company in only a few minutes. For example, did you know that Omnicom University is “a management development program widely considered as the most pre-eminent in the industry” and led by professors from Harvard Business School and China Europe International Business School? We did not.

Here’s a pic of some recent graduates(?) hanging out in the big city.

omnicom university

This is also the first time we learned of Accelerate-ExBellum, which helps place “top talent from the military’s most advanced organizations, Special Operations Forces” at Omnicom agencies.

Of course you know about Omniwomen, which now has more than 10 chapters around the world.

But what about the tech-leaning Emerge and Close, which brings different Omnicom shops around the world together for team building exercises?

omnicom close

We’re not members of the online collaboration hub Link!, so we can’t really find out more. But the featured video itself is worth a watch for further evidence that Omnicom Group is, indeed, like one big family.

Why Do So Many Big-Name Agencies Struggle in New York City?

This week, The Martin Agency told employees that it would soon be closing its New York office.

“Yesterday we announced to employees that, as part of a strategic decision to focus on growth in Richmond and London, we are reducing our presence in NYC,” a spokesperson told Adweek. It’s not clear how many employees will be laid off and how many will relocate to IPG’s corporate space in the city.

That makes Martin the latest in a series of top shops to shutter their Manhattan operations in recent years, most prominently Leo Burnett and Goodby, Silverstein & Partners (both in 2015). Fashion-focused agency Lipman also closed in 2013 due to what sources called problems with its parent company, and the subsequent Page Six item about “a mysterious man with a 2-by-4” who alleged attacked David Lipman the day after his shop filed for bankruptcy is an agency horror story for the ages.

Like LB and GS&P, Martin’s NYC location started as a satellite unit, and it lasted more than a decade. But the IPG-owned network also made several high-profile moves in an effort to shore up its Manhattan investment over the past two years, hiring top executives and expanding its creative team around the time it won the Kayak creative review.

Its most prominent work for that client poked fun at the old, reliable man bun.

The reason for the move is one unnamed company’s decision not to renew its contract with Martin. Given that Kayak and Italian eatery Giovanni Rana were the Manhattan location’s biggest clients, the possibilities are very limited. We’ve reached out to both companies and will update this story if we hear back.

Our headlining question remains, though: why do so many agencies without major offices in New York struggle to maintain a presence here?

Some reasons we’ve heard cited are the (obvious) overhead costs and the distance—both geographic and cultural—between New York and cities like Chicago, San Francisco or Martin’s hometown of Richmond, Virginia. There’s also a good bit more competition in terms of creative reviews, especially from agencies that are very well-established in the New York area.

Then, of course, there’s the general trend in which clients hesitate to maintain long-term relationships with their agencies of record…if they even name AORs in the first place.

But we hear that if you can make it here, you can also make it in any number of other, unspecified places.

Kitcatt Nohr Founders Win $3.2 Million Case Against Publicis

Back in February, we learned that the founders of Kitcatt Nohr Alexander Shaw, the independent U.K. agency that sold to Publicis in 2011, were suing Publicis for allegedly misleading them about a failing relationship with P&G at the time.

Publicis purchased the independent agency back in 2011 with the intention of merging it with DigitasLBi’s London office. The acquisition included an earn-out tied to the future performance of Kitcatt Nohr Alexander Shaw, and the agency alleged that Publicis assured them that its relationship with P&G—upon which its future performance was heavily dependent—was strong.

This despite the fact that, according to KNAS’ lawyer, the “impending loss of Digitas UK’s P&G business had in fact been widely anticipated within Publicis and DigitasLBi UK since as early as July 2010.”

Today, Campaign reports that High Court judge Mr Justice Males ruled in favor of the agency’s founders, awarding the claimants £2.6 million (approximately $3.2 million) and finding that Publicis Groupe subsidiary MMS breached the buyer warranty over the 2011 purchase of the agency. Campaign adds that he has not yet ruled on costs, which could add another £2 million. The claimants argue they should have been awarded £3.6 million and reportedly plan to appeal. Campaign notes the discrepancy is related to “the treatment of IT fees charged by Publicis’ internal Shared Service Centre.”

As co-founder Kitcatt told Campaign, this judgment effectively proves that Publicis agencies including Saatchi and Leo Burnett London planned to “take business away from Kitcatt Nohr Digitas.” He also noted that Maurice Lévy didn’t “honour their agreements” and didn’t bother to show up in court either but instead tried to draw out the court case in order to make victory more difficult while “pretend[ing] there was no deal, and pretend[ing] again they knew nothing about the ad agencies’ plans.”

“It’s a massive moral victory and proof that the big guys don’t always win,” wrote Marc Nohr in an email to AgencySpy today. “Things can work out if you do the right thing, as Spike Lee once said.”

Can A New CEO Turn The Barbarian Group Around?

Cheil Worldwide hired Cathy Butler as CEO for digital agency The Barbarian Group, with hopes that new leadership can help put the agency back on track after a rough couple of years that saw the departure of major clients such as Pepsi.

Last August, Barbarian Group co-founder Rick Webb told Digiday, “The fact that it’s still around at all is a testament to its heritage, since right now it is literally being run into the ground.”

In December of 2015, CEO Sophie Kelly left the agency to be replaced by Peter Kim, who was then succeeded by interim CEO Aaron Lau less than nine months later. Multiple sources at the time told us that Cheil Worldwide made the decision to replace Kim, but he disputed that claim in a blog post where he said, “The truth is out there, but only half of it will ever make Agency Spy.”

Last March, co-founder and chairman Benjamin Palmer left the agency after 14 years, and chief strategy officer Ian Daly was part of a wave of executive departures two months later.

Lau told Digiday last August that finding a permanent CEO was a priority, adding, “I’m not here to change history. I’m here to shape the future.”

With the arrival of Butler as CEO, Lau moves into a role as North American CEO and president of international operations.

Butler arrives at The Barbarian Group from DigitasLBi, where she has served as executive vice president, group director, North American digital products since September of 2013, following stints as director of client services and executive client partner, director of client services for MRY U.S. (formerly LBi U.S.). She also spent over two and a half years as product manager, e-commerce for Barnes & Nobles and in production roles with Deutsch, The New York Times and Conde Nast.

“I have a always been a huge admirer of [The Barbarian Group], their point of view around challenging the status quo, and their reputation for being incredibly fearless in terms of the work,” Butler told Adweek. “It’s a great opportunity to bring this thinking to marketers today and demonstrate how we build brands at the speed of culture.”

“America does not need another agency that doesn’t challenge the status quo,” Lau added. “We’re hoping the positioning we have for each of ours will hopefully help break new ground. This is why we feel so excited about [hiring] Cathy.”

Naked Communications Closes Its London Office After Virgin Atlantic Loss

Today Campaign reports that Naked Communications has closed its largest office in London just over three months after shutting down its New York operations.

We first broke news of the New York operation’s demise in January. The reason for both closings, according to our sources and Campaign’s, was the loss of the Virgin Atlantic business, which was Naked’s largest single account and the only business remaining in its Manhattan office as of the first of the year.

The change came after the Richard Branson-owned brand decided to take all of its digital marketing and electronic customer relationship management work in-house. According to a note from Enero Group, the Australian network that owns Naked, Virgin provided 7 percent of global net revenue for the entire organization as recently as last June.

From the Campaign story:

“Following the contract with Virgin Atlantic terminating on 31 March, it is understood that the agency did not have any other clients and has now folded the operation into another Enero unit.”

Naked remains very much operational in Australia, where it recently won creative and strategic AOR duties for Sigma Pharmaceuticals’ retail division, including the Amcal and Guardian chains.

We have reached out to Naked’s head of PR at Enero-owned firm Hotwire, which also saw its global CEO step down last month after more than 16 years. We will update this post if they provide a statement or more information.

Santa Monica’s Supermoon Wins Creative Reviews for Startups AutoGravity and ipsy

Santa Monica indie agency Supermoon is expanding its client roster.

The shop, staffed primarily by veterans of the Deutsch organization, recently won reviews for startups AutoGravity and ipsy.

The former is a financial technology startup that looks to connect car buyers with financiers before they even visit the showroom via a smartphone app. The latter is a cosmetics subscription service and “online beauty community” founded by YouTube star and makeup expert Michelle Phan.

Supermoon will create the first TV spots for both companies, with AutoGravity’s branding campaign launching in California before going nationwide. The ipsy’s effort aims to get consumers to try the company’s signature “glam bag,” a regular subscription package of various makeup products.

Beyond TV, the AutoGravity work will also include digital, social and OOH.

“Our challenge is to make consumers aware of us before they think of buying a car,” said AutoGravity CMO Serge Vartanov, adding, “Supermoon’s collaborative approach and expertise in launching a digitally innovative brand made them the right agency for our us.”

“When we launched Supermoon, we put our focus on young brands because that’s the kind of work we love,” said Kyle Acquistapace, who joined Supermoon as president last fall after 16 years with Deutsch in L.A. “We’re grateful for the trust of our clients and look forward to moving them to the next level.”

Both of these clients have relatively small marketing footprints, but they plan to expand with the help of Supermoon’s work. The agency’s most recent win was Snap Kitchen, a healthy on-the-go food chain led by CMO and former Taco Bell marketer Tressie Lieberman.

R/GA Expands Its Relationship with Samsung to Include Broadcast TV Work

R/GA has moved further into “traditional” agency turf by way of multinational tech conglomerate Samsung.

Multiple parties have confirmed that R/GA significantly expanded its global remit for the Korea-based company starting in late 2016. Earlier this week, the client’s North American CMO Marc Mathieu confirmed to Adweek that R/GA would be working on its “most ambitious marketing campaign yet” to promote the new Galaxy S8 phone along with W+K and design agency Turner Duckworth. (And then there was the Leo Burnett spot promoting Gear VR. Lots of moving parts here.)

The R/GA ads in question are not “live” yet, but they’re broadcast. And they play on nature themes.

Back in January, we posted on the client moving its global social media business to Bob Greenberg’s agency and away from Big Spaceship, which closed its Seoul office in December after losing AOR status. R/GA has been working with Samsung since it won a digital AOR review in 2013; the business had previously been with Razorfish for less than a year.

According to our sources, R/GA added broadcast TV to its expanding list of Samsung responsibilities for the first time beyond the digital and social media work. Beyond the Galaxy S8, R/GA will also be creating future campaigns to promote the client’s kitchen appliances division.

These wins happened around the same time as the social media transition, but it’s not clear whether there was a formal review because no one has spoken to us on the record.

An R/GA spokesperson deferred to the client for comment. Samsung PR has not responded in any way, shape or form to multiple emails and phone calls made over the past several weeks.

This is somewhat understandable given that the company has larger things on its mind including the launch of the new phone and the arrest of vice chairman and de facto CEO Jay Y. Lee, who is accused of colluding with now-former Korean president Park Geun-hye in a bribery scandal that led to her impeachment and removal from office. Yesterday, officials placed her under arrest on corruption charges.

Samsung also hopes that the Galaxy S8 will help eliminate all memory of the exploding phones that ultimately led to $3 billion or more in losses last year by the company’s own estimate.

Expect to see a lot more R/GA Samsung work to come.

Judge Rules That $20 Million Anti-Gay Discrimination Suit Filed Against DDB and Omnicom Can Proceed

This week saw new developments in an old case as the Chief Judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York ruled in favor of DDB New York creative director Matthew Christiansen, reversing a previous dismissal.

The newsworthiness of this development largely depends on one’s perspective.

Just under two years ago, Christiansen and his lawyer Susan Chana Lask, Esq. filed suit against DDB and Omnicom, alleging sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace.

The claims specifically regarded former DDB chief digital officer Joe Cianciotto, who was Christiansen’s supervisor when the alleged harassment occurred between 2011 and 2013. According to the complaint, which Lask later described in a LinkedIn post, Cianciotto began making fun of Christiansen’s status as a gay, HIV-positive man directly after he came to work for DDB.

The filing claimed that Cianciotto “drew multiple sexually suggestive and explicit drawings of Christiansen on an office whiteboard” and “accused him of having AIDS” during a meeting with DDB and State Farm employees.

This judgment hinged on one issue: whether Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights act, which forbids discrimination based on “race, color, religion, sex and national origin,” also inherently extends to sexual orientation.

Just over a year ago, US District Judge Katherine Polk Failla “reluctantly” ruled that the complaint held no merit because they amounted to an attempt to “squeeze the case into the sex stereotype theory,” as reported by New York’s Gay City News at the time. The judge did acknowledge that Cianciotto was “openly resentful and hostile toward Plaintiff because of his sexual orientation” but dismissed the complaint because sexual orientation—even in the context of effeminate stereotypes of an openly gay man—does not equal “sex” or gender.

But Christiansen appealed. And in the new filing, Chief Judge Robert A. Katzmann wrote, “we reverse the district court’s dismissal of Christiansen’s Title VII claim and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.”

This means that the case can proceed. From the ruling:

“…we disagree with the district court’s conclusion that Christiansen failed to plausibly allege a Title VII claim based on the … stereotyping theory of sex discrimination articulated in Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins.”

The PwC case mentioned involved a (female) senior manager at the firm who was repeatedly described as “macho” and told that she needed to “walk more femininely, talk more femininely, dress more femininely, wear make?up, have her hair styled, and wear jewelry” in order to increase her chances of becoming a partner. The Supreme Court of the U.S. ruled against PwC in that case, thereby establishing gender stereotyping as a form of sex discrimination, and this week’s ruling held that “The gender stereotyping allegations in Christiansen’s complaint are cognizable under Price Waterhouse and our precedents.”

Omnicom’s argument in court essentially held that, while the holding company believes discrimination based on sexual orientation should be included in the Title VII law, its absence renders Christiansen’s complaints invalid.

The holding company’s statement:

“While we believe the claims in this individual case are without merit, Omnicom supports any change to the applicable federal law that would extend protection to employees who experience harassment on the basis of sexual orientation.”


Another issue that will almost certainly be addressed in future hearings as well is the 300 Day Employment Law Statute of Limitations, which requires Title VII charges to be filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission within 300 days of the alleged incidents in question.

Regarding those incidents, the Gay City News wrote last March:

“Reading Christiansen’s factual allegations, it’s amazing that a supervisor behaving the way Cianciotto is alleged to have acted would be tolerated by a socially conscious employer in New York, much less a large advertising agency.”

Several parties have told us since news of the case first broke that Cianciotto apologized and later left DDB to work at Translation—again on the State Farm account.

“The question is, how much longer does Omnicom want to bleed this out?” said Lask when we discussed the case with her this week.

She stated that she intends to deposition various agency leaders to “find out why this happened,” adding, “everyone will be called in.” The initial post mentioned former DDB New York chairman and CEO Peter Hempel (who is no longer employed by Omnicom) and current CEO Chris Brown (who was not in that position when the alleged harassment occurred).

Burger Pioneers Bump Frat Boys from The Carl’s Jr. Menu

Someone sent Carls Jr.’s sexist adverting back to the kitchen. No more tits and ass. Now, it’s about the meat, the menu, and the brand’s history of innovation. In case you’re not sure what you’re missing here, let’s revisit the recent past in Carl’s Jr. land. Team Tex, meet Team Mex. On 9.25.15, it’s game […]

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Grey Takes Valenstein & Fatt Moniker For 100 Days

Grey London will take on the name Valenstein & Fatt, in honor of Grey’s Jewish founders, Lawrence Valenstein and Arthur Fatt, for 100 days.Valenstein-Fatt-founders

For the next 100 days Grey London will fully embrace the moniker, with the name appearing on the agency’s website, official signage, business cards and pencils. Receptionists will even answer the phone as employees of Valenstein & Fatt and the agency will operate that way for official reviews and pitches.

The name change is part of a self-branding campaign which it hopes will spark a wider embrace of diversity in the industry.Valensteine Fatt sign

On its website, Grey issued the following statement on the name change:

It’s 1917. New York is booming. Two young Jewish entrepreneurs, Lawrence Valenstein and Arthur Fatt, set up a company. But anti-Semitism is rife. Their names could cost them business. So they call it Grey, after the colour of the wallpaper.

Today, Grey is one of the largest advertising networks in the world, with 10,000 employees in 96 countries, embracing every gender, race, religion and sexuality. But xenophobia is raising its ugly head once more, along with political isolationism.

In the week that the British government triggers Article 50 and begins the process of disconnecting the UK from the European Union, Grey London is showing its commitment to diversity and openness by re-establishing itself under the name of its original Jewish founders.

On March 27th, and for 100 days, Grey London will become Valenstein & Fatt.

A video on the site further explores the impetus for the decision, including footage of U.S. president Donald Trump on the campaign trail, invoking an “America first” phrase that carries historical associations with American xenophobia and anti-semitism during World War II.

The agency is backing the name change with some concrete diversity initiatives. For one, the agency is committing to transparency around the issue and publishing its diversity data. It is also launching a “cross-industry task force  to identify the barriers to recruitment and retention of talent among ethnic minorities,” with its the first meeting chaired by CEO Leo Rayman. The Valenstein & Fatt Bursary will pay a full-year’s rent “for up to two young people from ethnic minority and disadvantaged backgrounds.” It will also work “with 100 primary and secondary schools to introduce students to a career in the creative industries” and provide mentorship for its diverse talent form its executive and senior leadership.

“Recent events, from rising instances of hate crime and terror attacks in London to the triggering of Article 50, have sent shivers through our society and businesses, but it should also inspire a collective and determined attitude that our country and our companies will not change for the worse,” Rayman said in a statement.Valenstein-Fatt-1

“Diversity is complex, nuanced and gnarly.,” Valenstein & Fatt chief marketing officer Sarah Jenkins told Adweek. “We’ll fail fast and go again and tell everyone what’s gone wrong, so they don’t make the same mistake.”

“That said, we have worked hard to get our first initiatives right. We have talked to some brilliant and smart organizations like Channel 4 and the Social Mobility Foundation,” she added.

Asked how the agency will measure success, she replied:

As an agency, we will gauge success by seeing more diverse talent coming into the building. And that is any diverse talent. We would love to encourage more people from BAME backgrounds. And more people who are state-school educated. To have more diverse talent identified as future leaders. Future leaders we then keep in our agency, or at the very least we keep in the industry.

Arby’s: We Have The Meats

Fallon is a legendary advertising agency, and one of the pillars of the Minneapolis market. Fallon picked up Arby’s a few years ago and has helped the brand find its unique baritone voice. There is a keen sense of humor in play here; yet, this is no-nonsense product advertising. In other words, there’s something for […]

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Sid Lee Collective Art Installation Addresses Refugee Crisis

Sid Lee Collective, an agency-sponsored incubator fueling employees’ passion projects, is opening an art exhibit on Saturday entitled “Refuge.”

The exhibit includes various expressions of the importance of aiding refugees from war-torn countries, from photography documenting children in a camp for Syrian refugees to a model representing refugee camp cubicles and banners with messages such as “Home For Now” and “Imagine Equality.” Some of the art is being sold, with proceeds from their sale, along with related merchandise, going to the American Civil Liberties Union and the Refugee and Immigrant Fund.
“It’s a platform for us to push passion products, and we thought we’d look at something with a bit more purpose, that’s more meaningful,” Sid Lee New York executive creative director Dan Brooks explained to Adweek. “We came upon the idea of harnessing the power of the collective and bringing creatives under one banner to make a statement about civil liberties and the refugee crisis.”

Clearly, the installation was also motivated by recent political events, such as the president’s executive order targeting refugees from seven predominantly Muslim countries.

“More and more, you’re seeing people who weren’t normally activists taking a stand, with the equality marches in New York and the news coverage around the travel ban…It’s an opportunity and maybe even a responsibility now for people who are involved in communication and creativity to use a bit of their influence to inspire people and be purpose-driven,” he added.
Images (top to bottom): Adrian Yu, Jo Metson, Sid Lee

Film At 150

As a signature event celebrating Canada’s 150th anniversary, this year’s National Canadian Film Day 150 will see more than 1,500 screenings in schools, theatres and public squares across the country and in consulates and embassies around the world. To help promote and drive participation in the festival on April 19, Reel Canada, the non­profit that […]

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The PIA Agency Makes Its Pitch

Agencies are notorious for being the pauper’s child when it comes to promoting their own brand. But The PIA Agency, a woman-owned agency in San Diego, isn’t playing the avoidance game. “Our great country was built from brilliant minds and resilient souls from all over the world,” says David Clark, PIA’s executive creative director. Create […]

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Used Mini Blowout In Sausalito: Act Now While Supplies Last

Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners is one of the few ad agenices in America worthy of admiration. The reasons are many, and now we have a new one. Forced to defend the account once again, BSSP is walking away from BMW Mini after 11 years. According to Campaign, agency CEO , Gret Stern said: There […]

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War Dragons And Wexley Emerge Victorious At The Seattle ADDYs

Wexley School for Girls won Best Of Show at the 2017 American Advertising Awards Seattle (still known as the ADDYs) for the following War Dragons spot. Ads for adventure-focused video games tend to stay pretty straightforward, which is partially why the dark humor and unexpected twists of this spot work so well. As Ian Cohen […]

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Nay Say All Day To Keep Ad People At Bay

Do you get tired of reading about how the ad agency business sucks, and how no one wants to work in advertising any longer due to the long hours, low pay and lack of prestige? Personally, I see many of these sour takes on the industry as little more than ill-informed attempts to fill space. […]

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American Creative Chief, Global CMO Out at Havas as Agency Moves Toward Regional Leadership

Havas is shaking things up around the world.

This week, the independent network made several key changes to its global structure in a still-developing move designed to create a series of full-service divisions arranged by region. The news first ran in Adweek on Friday.

As part of the shift, chief creative officer of the Americas Toygar Bazarkaya was fired. The agency statement:

“Toygar Bazarkaya, Chief Creative Officer of the Americas, is leaving Havas. We would like to thank Toygar for his leadership over the last year and a half, as well as for the significant contributions he has brought to our agency and our clients. Toygar has been a valuable partner and trusted colleague to many of us at Havas.”

Havas Chicago CEO Paul Marobella and CCO Jason Peterson (who was promoted to president in 2013) will now be co-chairs of the U.S. Creative division while also retaining their positions within the Chicago operation. As of next week, creative leads in all North American offices of Havas and Arnold report directly to Peterson with Havas New York CEO Laura Maness and Arnold global CEO Pam Hamlin reporting to Marobella.

Instagram master Peterson will also oversee the search for Bazarkaya’s successor.

The news comes a few weeks after 13-year veteran Andrew Benett stepped down as global CEO of Havas Creative with chairman/CEO Yannick Bolloré assuming the role.

New York-based global CMO Matt Weiss and global chief content officer Vin Farrell also recently left in what we hear was an unrelated move. Their positions will not be filled because Bolloré has chosen to restructure the entire network around a group of newly named regional chairmen, thereby rendering such global roles less relevant. As the CEO explained in a small Thursday press briefing announcing the launch of a new Havas Village in London, “we believe we need to transcend traditional definitions of creative and media to better deliver for our clients.”

This means putting the creative and media sides of each region under one P&L and handing more power to the chairmen: European group CEO Chris Hirst in the U.K.; Havas Media global CEO Alfonso Rodés Vilà in Spain; Bolloré himself in the U.S. and France; Havas Creative Group CEO Mike Amour in APAC; and Jorge Percovich in Latin America. The U.S. reorg was the last in this group to be announced.

The rearrangement also sees former Havas Media global MD and Vivendi president Dominique Delport named global managing director and chief client officer for the entire Havas Group, overseeing “global clients relationships, marketing initiatives and New Business.”

According to the press release from London, Bolloré’s goal is to develop a more “client-centric and region-based organization” in order to “ensure agility and a seamless experience for clients.” It all sounds a lot like Havas’s own take on recent pivots by its larger competitors.

Expect more such changes to come.

VITRO Offers a ‘Free’ Room In Its Austin Office for CMOs Attending SXSW

  • Are you attending SXSW in Austin this weekend?
  • Are you somehow both a powerful marketing executive and a cheap bastard?
  • Do you really need a place to stay, but also don’t want to pay any money and can’t get your employer to expense it?

If you answered “yes” to all of these questions, then VITRO has a sweeeet fucking Airbnb deal for you.

The MDC Partners agency, which announced plans to open in Austin just over a year ago, would love to give a depressingly empty room in said office to a “CMO or higher level executive from a nationally known brand with an annual marketing budget of at least one million dollars” for a few days for the low low price of FREE. Or $10 per night, depending on which section of the listing you’re referencing.*

The listing claims to include “a real bed” and a bathroom, but there’s an important disclaimer:

Enjoy a truly immersive and elusive “millennial experience” sleeping in an empty room just to be part of the buzz of a city lavishing itself in hedonistic celebrations of creative commerce. There are actually currently no beds, but you can drag a couch in from the lobby, or we’re always happy to provide an extra IKEA desk to shelter under.

The whole thing is kind of amusing, and it could theoretically eliminate the universal complaint from everyone who visits Austin for SXSW or any other event: the awful, interminable traffic.

Is VITRO simply desperate for new business?? Of course they are! They’re an ad agency.

“SXSW has grown so much, it seems like each year is a new exercise in what agency or publication or brand can out do everybody else with something bigger, newer or even more outlandish,” said CEO Tom Sullivan. “We wanted to take the opposite approach. To go scrappy rather than big. So rather than reinventing something, we used  an existing, highly popularized platform to make a point around an undeniable SXSW truth—that it’s impossible to find a place to stay. Plus, it never hurts to have a little fun with the (admittedly awesome) ridiculousness that is Austin during South By.”

vitro logo skullA key question remains: what should one do at SXSW? Joe Biden or Ke$ha? Mastodon or Special Agent Dale Cooper? Whatever, just make sure you go to the GSD&M party. We hear Matthew McConaughey will definitely not show up.

Finally, check out that logo.

*VITRO promises to totally refund the lame $10 minimum fee required by the corporate suits at Airbnb.

DDB Changes Name to DDB&R for International Women’s Day

In honor of International Women’s Day, DDB is temporarily changing its name to DDB&R for the day, in honor of the agency’s first chief copywriter, Phyllis Robinson.

“The move to add Phyllis’ name to the door is a symbolic reminder of the contributions many women of her generation and later generations have made to the ad industry,” DDB North America CEO Wendy Clark said in a statement. “It also signals to our own employees our continued non-negotiable belief that talent has no gender.”

Robinson joined DDB in 1949 after starting her career with Bresnick & Solomont and Grey. She was the copywriter behind iconic campaigns for Levy’s Jewish Rye, Ohrbach and Polaroid.

In addition to the name change, which will appear on social media and on email signatures, as well as on DDB’s door and in its meeting rooms, the effort also includes a social media initiative riffing on some of Robinson’s most famous ads. A famous print ad for Levy’s, for example, is changed to “You don’t have to be male to change advertising.”

There’s also a video riffing on Robinson’s Polaroid campaign which starred Candice Bergen.

While most of the efforts honoring Robinson will only be around for International Women’s Day, Adweek reports that a quote appearing in DDB meeting rooms today, “Do the kind of work nobody else is doing,” will remain permanently.