Lucasfilm Ran This Ad in an Irish Paper to Thank the Locals After Filming Star Wars There

In an infinitely classy and gracious move, Lucasfilm took out an ad in the Irish Examiner to thank the communities of Crookhaven, Goleen and the Brow Head peninsula, where parts of the upcoming Star Wars movie (Episode VIII) were shot, for putting up with them.

The ad references the “tireless commitment of our Irish crew” in glowing terms, and states that “the enthusiasm and support of all the people of West Cork have made our Irish adventure one we will always treasure.” 

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Sainsbury's Asked Artists for Free Work, So Artists Asked Sainsbury's for Free Food

A Sainsbury’s supermarket in England recently put out an ad seeing an “ambitious artist to voluntarily refurbish our canteen.” But what they really need is a scotobiologist, since all they got in response was shade. 

Artists, you see, don’t like being asked to work for free by companies that are more than able to pay them, and a number of them voiced their frustration on social media using the hashtag #PayArtists. 

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Doner Takes Over Ad Duties for Highmark BCBS

After confirming in December that Pittsburgh-based nonprofit health organization Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield had launched an agency review, we learned this week that the client moved lead advertising duties to Michigan-based MDC Partners agency, Doner.

The Highmark BCBS biz had previously been handled for over a decade by Mullen’s Pittsburgh office; two weeks ago we reported that the Mullen office would close as a result of the loss.

No word yet as to what other agencies were in the mix for the Highmark account, but here’s a statement from president Deborah Rice-Johnson:

“We undertook this agency review with an incredibly analytical eye. We understand that health care is personal. With the focus always on our customers, it is critical that our advertising convey that message to the community.  We worked with The Bedford Group, a well-respected marketing management firm, to establish a list of key criteria that we would require from our agency; they included strength in the digital arena, solid health care experience, experience in integrated marketing, strong creative and media-buying experience, and a commitment to building a diverse and inclusive workforce.”

Doner, which officially began its three-year deal with Highmark BCBS on Feb. 1, will be tasked with branding, advertising strategy, and regional media buying for Highmark Inc. in its core and expansion markets as well as for Highmark subsidiary Allegheny Health Network in western Pennsylvania. John Paul, CEO of AHN, adds, “As our organization and the health care landscape continues to evolve moving into 2015, we decided this was the right time to make a change in agencies.”

Along with its newest client, Doner also works with Coca-Cola, JCPenney, UPS Store and Fiat Chrysler.

No word on whether the win will lead to staffing changes; EVP/ECD Justin Smith left Doner at the end of January.

Celia Jones Heads to Havas Chicago as Group Brand Director


Havas Worldwide Chicago Group announced the appointment of Celia Jones as group brand director today. She will be responsible for both strategic brand building and external marketing, reporting to U.S. Chief Growth Officer Laura Maness. Jones will also be tasked with managing external communications, events and thought leadership, and will serve as “point person for all media inquiries for the Havas Chicago Group.”

Jones arrives at Havas following over seven years at digital agency Critical Mass, where she served as global marketing director, led external marketing communications across all of the agency’s offices worldwide and played an important role in global expansion. Prior to Critical Mass, Jones served as director of content and lead copywriter at Designkitchen (a WPP Wunderman unit) for two years. Commenting on the hire, Paul Marobella, president, Havas Worldwide Chicago Group, cited Celia’s “unique combination of marketing savvy, communications expertise, digital acumen and a passion for brand storytelling…”

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Tic Tac Hands Over Creative Duties to The Martin Agency

In news that somehow managed to slip through the cracks, Ferrero U.S.A handed over creative duties on Tic Tac to The Martin Agency following a six month review.

Back in July we reported that the review was down to three finalists, with incumbent agency Merkley + Partners defending against two unidentified agencies. Merkley + Partners had handled creative duties for Tic Tac since 2004. Martin Stoewahse, vice president of marketing for Ferrero, told the Richmond Times-Dispatch that the company chose to hand the account over to The Martin Agency “because they showed us an exciting brand platform that will help reinvigorate our brand … a fully integrated campaign that will make consumers take a fresh look at our iconic brand.”

According to The Martin Agency CEO Matt Williams, the agency aims to ““take a brand that everyone knows and loves and inject it with new energy.”

The agency expects to debut its first work for the brand in the first quarter of 2015, at which time we’ll find out if it will bear any resemblance to that of UK’s Aesop Agency (featured above).

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CP+B Appoints Jason De Turris CSO

Jason De Turris

CP+B announced the appointment of Jason De Turris, previously vice president, executive planning director, as its chief strategy officer. In the new role, De Turris will relocate to Hong Kong and oversee strategy on the Infiniti account, which the agency recently won AOR duties for following a review launched in the summer. He will also help open CP+B’s Hong Kong office and be responsible for building “the CP+B culture and brand throughout Asia” while still acting as a strategic leader across CP+B’s offices. CP+B said in a press release that it will appoint a new head of planning in North America in the near future.

While at CP+B, De Turris has worked with brands such as Xbox One, Grey Poupon, Best Buy, and He previously served as senior planner at Ogilvy & Mather and Deutsch and as a planning director at JWT. Back in 2011, he also spent five months as a professor of strategic communications at Columbia University. (more…)

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Constellation Partners with Ogilvy Chicago on Corona Light, Modelo Especial

corona light

Constellation Brands Beer Division announced a new partnership with Ogilvy Chicago on its Corona Light and Modelo Especial brands today, with Ogilvy being tasked with assisting “in the development and execution of marketing strategies to increase brand awareness, stimulate product trials, and accelerate sales for these two brands,” effective January 1st. Coronoa Extra was not part of the review, and will remain with Cramer-Krasselt.

Just last month we reported that Constellation had put portions of its Corona and Modelo brands up for review after Constellation and GS&P “mutually agreed to end their relationship” — although it was unclear at the time exactly which portions of the brands were up for grabs. Corona Light is the number one imported light beer in America, and fifth imported beer overall. Modelo Especial, meanwhile, has seen tremendous growth in recent years — with Constellation reporting “sales growth in the high double-digits over the past several years” — leading some to question if the brand is the “next Corona.” Modelo Especial’s growth has come without traditional ad support (the brand has yet to see a national broadcast campaign, for example) so it could be that Ogilvy Chicago will be tasked with bringing the brand to a larger stage. (more…)

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Staffing Cuts at Grey New York

grey new york

This morning we can confirm that Grey New York notified “under 30? staffers that their employment with the agency will end in January.

The cause of the reduction is client Eli Lilly, which recently decided to consolidate work for one of its many pharmaceutical products under an alternate agency on its roster.

Grey has worked with Lilly for nearly 20 years and won a greater share of the business from G2 back in 2012; its Grey Healthy People unit, launched in 2011 to handle a growing roster of related brands from Lilly, Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline and others, continues to operate (though the name itself has been retired).

Despite reductions that seem to have touched all departments, the agency’s relationship with the client will, for the most part, continue unaffected. The move concerns the diabetes drug Humalog, and Grey will retain other Eli Lilly brands including its best-known product, Cialis.

In a statement, Grey says that it chose to give employees advance notice in order to help them find new positions as soon as possible, noting that its New York office is currently “over 1,000 people strong” and that it has hired 75 new staffers in 2014.

At the moment, we do not know which agency will handle the diabetes work moving forward. Updates as they come in.

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Mercedes-Benz to Create New European Unit; BBDO Wins China Business


Today Mercedes-Benz announced its first major “global agency realignment” since 2006. The big winners appear to be BBDO, Merkley+Partners, and the custom team that will come from a “pooling” of creative talent in Europe.

The press release, in summary (thanks, Google Translate):

  • Mercedes-Benz has established a “new agency model” based around three creative hubs: Europe, USA and China
  • The company will create a new unit to handle its European creative after conducting “a screening of the European agency landscape”; efforts will be led by Kemper and Kroger in Berlin


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McKinney Wins CarMax

Three weeks ago, we broke the news that CarMax, maker of Super Bowl ads featuring slow claps and puppies, would not be working with New York’s Silver+Partners for its next Big Game spot.

The ensuing review quickly turned into a competition between three southeastern agency offices, and yesterday Adweek reported that McKinney had won the account.

Sources told us that BBDO Atlanta was not the winner, but we didn’t receive responses from McKinney or CarMax before the Adweek post went live. Newly installed CMO Jim Lyski subsequently confirmed the win, writing that the company chose McKinney in order to “tell our unique story and connect the brand with consumers.”

Updates/official statements if we receive them. In the meantime: puppies.

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Sid Lee Adds Four Creative Hires


The New York office of Sid Lee announced today the addition of four creatives to its full-time team, effective immediately: Design Director Verena Michelitsch, Co-Creative Director Cecilia Azcarate, Senior Creative Andre Gidoin and Copywriter Dana Tiel.

Michelitsch arrives from boutique design agency RoAndCo, where she has served as a senior designer since January of 2013. She established herself as a founding member of Graz, Austria-based design studio En Garde before moving back to New York in 2011 to pursue freelance work for Sagmeister & Walsh and Pentagram Design, where she was responsible for “handling a variety of branding, illustration and art direction projects over the years.”

Azcarate arrives from M&C Saatchi, where she served as an associate creative director. Her work has been recognized with a variety of awards, including Webby Awards, D&AD, Eurobest and Epica. She has also held art director positions with Johannes Leonardo in New York, and Happiness Brussels and Anouk & Company in Belgium.

Gidoin joins Sid Lee from Leo Burnett New York, where he arrived in early 2013 as a senior art director. Prior to that he spent around four years serving as an interactive art director for Leo Burnett in Milan. A 2009 graduate of Oslo’s Westerdals School of Communication, Gidoin has been named to one of the top 16 young creatives in the world by Young Guns for two consecutive years.

Tiel joins Sid Lee from Grey New York, where she has served as a copywriter since arriving in 2012. She previously served as a copywriter at SapientNitro. A 2011 graduate of New York’s School of Visual Arts, she has earned a Cannes Young Lion Award, in addition to multiple One Show awards, a Clio, an international Andy and an ADC Young Gun Award.

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Corona Light/Modelo Leaving GS&P

corona light

Yes, our Wednesday post on rumors that some portion of the Corona business would be up for review was extremely vague. But we were correct: the beer’s parent company just announced that it will no longer be working with GS&P.

Our sources told us nothing about which parts of the business would be changing hands, but both GS&P and Corona Light’s parent company Constellation told AdAge this afternoon that they had “mutually agreed to end their relationship.”

So Corona Light/Modelo has launched an agency review. An unnamed GS&P spokesperson said:

“Both parties agree that it’s time for a change, and we wish them nothing but success in the years ahead.”

Cramer-Krasselt is apparently safe for now, as Corona Extra is not on the list of divisions seeking new creative representation. And while Modelo is less of a household name than Corona, it could be the real prize for whichever agency wins the forthcoming pitch: a year ago market watchers were already calling it “the new Corona” and noting that its sales increases were considerably higher than those of its sister brand. Modelo has yet to run a national TV campaign, so the winning agency will, in all likelihood, be responsible for launching that effort next year.

The AdAge piece tells us nothing about the shops that have already started pitching Constellation, but this week a source did mention the letters D, D, and B…

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VICE Media Insiders Defend Outgoing Creative Director

VICE-logoVice Media may not be a traditional agency, but it does have a lot of clients and, depending on who you ask, some quality creative talent.

Holding companies are certainly interested: you may recall that Sir Martin and WPP bought a stake in the still-growing company in 2012 before Rupert Murdoch could climb on board.

Vice also acquired Carrot Creative back in 2013, and Carrot CEO Mike Germano assumed the chief digital officer position.

There’s no denying that Vice Media does real work: in July we posted on in-house creative studio Virtue’s Spanglish-flavored campaign for AT&T. Based on what we hear from both an inside source and a report in this morning’s New York Post, the company seems to have all the interpersonal drama of a traditional ad agency as well.


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Sonic Signs Kevin Durant in Brand’s First Sports Endorsement Deal


Sonic has signed a multi-year endorsement deal with Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant, the brand’s first sports endorsement deal, Adweek reports.

As part of the deal, Durant will star alongside Sonic’s “Two Guys” in a national broadcast campaign expected this summer. The “Two Guys” in question, New York-based former The Colbert Report writer Peter Grosz and Chicago-based improv comedian T.J. Jagodowski, have been a staple of the brand’s advertising since being brought back by GSP+P in early 2012, two years after being phased out after their initial run with Kansas City-based agency Barkley. Durant will also be involved with Sonic educational charity Limeades for Learning and will help brainstorm new menu items.

Durant achieved instant-celebrity with his emotional acceptance speech for the NBA MVP award, which, coupled with his connection to Sonic’s hometown of Oklahoma City, attracted the attention of CMO Todd Smith. “What really happened was the MVP speech that he made last year really pushed him into a national presence more, but also, his likability is off the charts,” Smith told Adweek. “For us, we wanted someone who has a hometown feel with a national presence because that’s the type of brand we are.”

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Publicis Groupe’s Level Studios Has a New CEO


Publicis Groupe’s Level Studios has announced the appointment of Dan Connolly as CEO, MediaPost reports. He fills a role left vacant by the departure of Tom Adamski, now CEO of Razorfish Global, for Rosetta in April of 2013.

Connolly, who over the past sixteen months has risen from partner, to president and now CEO, will be responsible for overseeing all business units across the agency’s U.S. and European locations and will also act as a member of the Brand Leadership team for Level Studios’ parent network, Razorfish Global. He will operate primarily out of San Luis Obispo, California but will travel between Level’s offices and clients as part of his expanded role, with an emphasis on the Bay Area and New York. Connoly told MediaPost his objectives in the new role are to complete building “Level’s executive leadership team, align talent across existing and new offices, and to work closely with the newly formed Razorfish Global and Brand leadership teams.” (more…)

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M&C Saatchi Buys Minority Stake in SS&K

Good-HandshakeM&C Saatchi, after two failed attempts to set up shop in New York City, is purchasing a one-third stake in SS&K, to serve as M&C Saatchi’s New York outpost, The New York Times reports.

Both agencies are expected to make the announcement today. The financial terms of the deal remain undisclosed, but M&C Saatchi’s stake is estimated at 33 percent, with the remaining majority share still in the hands of co-founders and partners Rob Shepardson, Lenny Stern and Mark Kaminsky. M&C Saatchi’s New York office, meanwhile, is expected to close by the end of year.

SS&K opened back in 1993 as Shepardson, Stern & Kaminsky, and continues to grow, recently adding HBO, Starbucks, E*Trade, Jackson Hewitt, Wells Fargo, Fresh Direct and The New Yorker to its client roster. The agency will become M&C Saatchi’s New York presence but will continue to keep its own name, and through its connection to M&C Saatchi will gain access to that agency’s global network, which includes offices in London, Tokyo, Los Angeles, Sydney, Paris and Madrid.

“With hindsight, I don’t think we ever invested, if we’re honest with ourselves, the time or money to create a flagship office in Manhattan, the toughest of all markets,” Moray MacLennan, worldwide chief executive of M&C Saatchi, told The New York Times. “It’s a brutal old town you have.”

MacLennan cited the departure in July of Jeff Brooks, chief executive of M&C Saatchi New York, for MDC’s Assembly as “…the catalyst for our change of direction.” He also said he hopes to “move across” at least some people and clients to SS&K, adding, “we’re already working on an international pitch with SS&K.”

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U.S. Army Set to Issue RFP for Global Media Business


The U.S. Army is set to issue an RFP for its global media business, worth around $500 million, Adweek reported yesterday.

An army rep told Adweek that “overall marketing spending on the business is $184 million to $200 million annually” and the government pact is “a one-year contract, which is renewable for four years, effectively making it a possible five-year working relationship.”

A request for agency information originally went out in June, and the U.S. Army is expected to select a new agency by March, 2016. McCann Worldgroup, the incumbent agency, retained the account back in 2011 and has been invited to participate in the review. The RFP is said to cover advertising, public affairs support and direct marketing.

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AKQA Co-Founder, CCO James Hilton Leaves to Open London Design Firm


AKQA Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer James Hilton is leaving the agency to open his own London design firm, AdAge reports.

He will be succeeded by Rei Inamoto, who was already AKQA’s lead creative for the U.S. and Asia. Also as a result of Hilton’s departure, the agency is promoting Europe creative lead Duan Evans to international executive creative director, responsible for overseeing creative across Europe, Asia and South America. Hilton will not be completely severing ties with the agency, however, as he will serve as chairman of a new group entitled AKQA Alumni, “through which alumni will host events, share ideas and provide mentoring for the next generation of talent.”

Hilton and CEO Ajaz Ahmed founded AKQA around 20 years ago, expanding the shop over time to include over fourteen offices globally. WPP bought the agency back in 2012 and, according to AdAge, it is unclear if Hilton was offered an earnout as part of the deal. AKQA declined to comment to that publication on the question. Hilton’s new product and design firm is called AtelierStrange. (more…)

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Nestle USA Shrinks Digital Agency Roster to Eight


In a story that somehow slipped through the cracks here yesterday, Nestle USA shrunk its digital agency roster to eight shops, following a lengthy review which the company launched in the spring to “streamline the agency roster and increase the impact of the company’s digital efforts,” AdAge reported.

The review covered Nestle USA brands, excluding Purina, Gerber and Nestle Waters, which are part of a separate Nestle division. Agencies left standing are 360i, Deep Focus, Huge, Grey, Resource/Ammirati, Threshold Interactive, SmithBrothers and Swift. (more…)

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Wix Will Run a Super Bowl Ad

Since the embargo has passed, we can tell you that Wix, a company calling itself “the leading web development platform,” has moved beyond sponsored Facebook posts to drop the $4 million required to buy an ad during next year’s Super Bowl.

The press release doesn’t include much beyond that: no hints regarding the coming ad’s theme or tone, though we did learn in September that the company named New York’s Silver+Partners its AOR. The release also tells us that the company has achieved “massive” growth despite lacking a sales team by “executing a wide array of online and offline marketing and advertising initiatives.”

For reference, here’s one of those initiatives, created six months ago by New York agency Special Guest:

After the jump, one of those branded “events” we keep hearing about.


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