Friday, December 7, 2007

Dentsu hands Biegel lawsuit to Morgan Lewis

This just in to the Adverganza newsroom: it looks like Dentsu has replaced Davis & Gilbert with a new law firm—Morgan Lewis and Bockius—to handle the sexual harrassment lawsuit brought against the agency by former Dentsu creative Steve Biegel. A Dentsu spokesperson that I talked to this morning had no knowledge at that time of the switch. Later on, Dentsu couldn't be reached. I've placed calls to Davis & Gilbert and Morgan Lewis and Bockius to see what they say. I've no context as to why this has apparently happened, but will add it in as I get it. On that note, have a good weekend.

Bravia bunnies hop over here

In no-brainer news, Sony has decided to run its Bravia "Bunnies" ad here. (Apparently, the 60-second ad has already been running in theaters, but I don't get out much.) It's always seemed a bit odd that none of the three ads has officially run stateside; two of them were even shot here, and you have to imagine that many of the gazillion views on YouTube, particularly for the original, "Balls," are from the U.S.. It's a campaign with universal appeal. I even saw several Bravia "Bunnies" outdoor ads in Moscow a few weeks ago, which considerably brightened up the drab environs of Sheremetyevo Airport. As for how "Bunnies" is doing in terms of YouTube views, it's at about 700,000 all told, according to my usual kneejerk analysis complete with sketchy mathematical skills. That's good, but it's no match for its forerunners. Via Fallon, London.

First Nike work from Crispin musta been pricey

Ad Age has posted Crispin, Porter + Bogusky's first ad for Nike, which you can watch by going here. My initial impression is that the ad cost a lot of money, and has a fairly strong concept, but it ain't the sometimes jaw-dropping stuff that we've become accustomed to seeing from Wieden + Kennedy, which, unless you've spent the last few decades living in the primordial ooze, you know is Nike's long-time agency. (BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE: I added in a stream of the spot above, now that I found it. Sorry it's so pixel-ly.)

And on Dec. 1, Greg Stern ate a ballerina

Here at Adverganza Estates, we are big fans of advent calendars, to such a great extent that Grandma Adverganza made a special trip down from Connecticut just to drop off one for each of the kiddies last week. So, we are predisposed to be fans of Butler Shine Stern's Advent-o-Rama, which presents a little surprise for visitors at least through Dec. 24 (when most advent calendars end), but maybe even longer! Today's treat is Holiday Tetris, which you can access by going to the site and clicking on the 7, because it's the 7th! (This isn't rocket science people). Oh, and if you click on Dec. 1, you will see Greg Stern eat a ballerina.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Bob Berenson's the new Dell dude

You could've knocked me over with a feather when I read an email this morning from an FOA (Friend of Adverganza) informing me that Bob Berenson would be the new chairman of the Dell agency, DaVinci, that WPP is setting up. You can read one of the many stories about it here. Berenson, in case you don't remember the name, was the right-hand man to Ed Meyer at Grey for several decades, keeping the agency on the straight and narrow from his roll-top desk in a corner office next to Ed's suite of conference rooms, assistants and offices. I actually saw Berenson do a speaking engagement earlier this year; his compadre on stage was Jeff Dachis. Yes, that Jeff Dachis. And I came away thinking he felt his days in the ad biz were over. (Here's video of it.) Well, I guess not if someone asks you to set up an entirely new ad agency set to run a really, really, really, really big account (remember, I said I wouldn't post billings figures on this blog; only revenue figures).

Martin Sorrell's Google obsession

So, apparently WPP Group chief Martin Sorrell was obsessing about Google again yesterday, during remarks he made at the UBS media conference. This time, his concerns about the company—which he has called in the past a "frenemy"—are about its mobile plans and the DoubleClick acquisition, which he believes could turn Google from frenemy into enemy. He also engaged in, what by now, is his obligatory discussion of Google's market cap vs. those in the ad industry. Yesterday's sound bite: that Google's market cap is four times the size of the top 4 agency holding companies. Thing is, Sorrell has been obsessing about Google for awhile. The first time I recorded it was in a March 2006 story I wrote about Google, in which Sorrell mused that the company's then market cap of $100 billion, was $85 billion more than what he called "poor little WPP." Somehow, I doubt I was witness to the first time he made such a comparison. In fact, Sorrell is constantly raising the specter of Google. In searching for that story, I found remarks by Sorrell about Google here, here and here. Well, one thing you can say about constantly talking about Google—it sure gets you quoted.

McDonald's pushes envelope with report card promo

I don't always agree with the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, but this time, they have a point. Seems that in Seminole County, Florida, students received their report cards in an envelope emblazoned with a picture of Ronald McDonald and promising them a Happy Meal for good grades. Now that's what I call pushing the envelope! Anyway, at a time when childhood obesity is making headlines—I saw another alarming report about that last night on NBC Nightly News, while slicing the kids' vegetables (get it? I'm a health Mom!)—companies like McDonald's have to pick their advertising choices carefully. Now, McDonald's counter to this is that the school board and parents in Seminole are behind the promotion, and that Happy Meals can contain healthy alternatives: "McDonald's provides parents with Happy Meal choices including Chicken McNuggets made with white meat, hamburgers, cheeseburgers, apple dippers, apple juice and low-fat milk, so they can choose the Happy Meal that is appropriate for their child." OK, point taken. But McDonald's still has a long way to go to rehabilitate its image before it should consider advertising on report card envelopes.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

AT&T rips off MTV's 'Cribs'

Not sure what the point of this AT&T promo is in which Deion Sanders tours the homes of football players like the Miami Dolphin's Trent Green, but its inspiration is obvious: MTV's 'Cribs'. The series seems to be an excuse to show off AT&T devices, and you can take a deep dive on that front here. For those of us who don't give a rat's ass what this guy's house looks like—or are far too jealous to want a tour—there are brief outtakes posted on YouTube, like the one I've posted here.

Once again, you can elf yourself!

I've no earthly idea what the "Elf Yourself" promo from OfficeMax has to do with office supplies, but, what the hell, I decided to elf myself, which is personally disturbing, though others may find it amusing. Just goes to show I'll do anything to increase traffic. Last year David Lubars and Alex Bogusky were turned into elves. If there are any ad guys you'd particularly like to see elved let me know. We can work on it together. Launching this year: ScroogeYourself. Via Toy and EVB. I'll still by my gear at Staples.

Forrester's weird interactive marketing agencies report

A tipster has slipped me a PDF of Forrester's annual report about interactive marketing agencies, which picks OgilvyInteractive as best among the best and brightest. There's a full accounting of the agencies they rated here. This report, which has been known to make interactive shops shake in their Doc Martens, is both the most and least comprehensive of the, um, genre, if that makes any sense. It rates agencies on a voluminous 52 criteria ranging from campaign integration to financial resources to account management, using Advertising Age's Top 50 Interactive Agencies list as a starting point. But then it gets really, well, uncomprehensive. The study only examines seven agencies closely, and it's a peculiar bunch of cats and dogs—in addition to Ogilvy, Forrester looked at Avenue A/Razorfish, Critical Mass, Digitas, imc (squared), Sapient and VML. VML? A fiarly minor WPP shop? Forrester's rational is that it wanted to look at both independent and holding company-owned shops, that the shops had to have crossed a number of thresholds in terms of revenue, revenue growth, client growth, employees and ability in social media. (The report also points out that it does a separate review of Web design shops, where no doubt some of the missing are located there.) But still, one of the problems here, I think, is looking at only one source. Virtually everyone who tries to compile a comprehensive list of interactive agencies, defines the segment differently. As some of you know, I worked on Adweek's Top 50 interactive agencies list for some time, and although we all became frustrated at the increasing difficulty of getting accurate information, at least, back when we were doing it, it offered an alternative viewpoint. The Ad Age list, for instance, doesn't include McCann WorldGroup's MRM Worldwide, and, indeed, MRM was not evaluated. It's also strange that RGA didn't make the grade, but if that's because Forrester considers it a Web design shop, that seems misplaced given how the shop has expanded into other areas over the last few years. As for Sapient, the company has only recently started building creative into its tool set ... and without creative, it's hard to see how a company could be a superlative interactive marketing agency. Just ask Avenue A, which had to go out and buy a few shops a few years back to become full service. Well congrats anyway Ogilvy.

Imus needs to hire a Web designer

You'd think that after all of the hullabaloo about Imus' return to radio, WABC could have come up with a slightly more sophisticated graphic on the Web page that links you to his show's live stream. This is like Web graphics circa 1995.

The Facebook advertiser fans scorecard! Round Three!*

OK, folks I'm filled with blogging regret for not posting all that much last week. But sometimes the people who pay me for my words get in the way of what might otherwise be some perfectly pleasant posts. As a way of getting back in the game, here's round three of my Facebook advertiser fans scorecard, in which the massive Adverganza staff sees how many Facebook fans some of those initial Facebook advertisers have gained. Here goes:

Sprite Sips: 218 fans (that's a gain of only 65 since Nov. 15; well, at least Brian Morrissey is a fan of Mr. Sips).
Blockbuster: 180 fans (that's a gain of only 41 since Nov. 15)
Amazing Race: 4575 fans (an impressive gain of 3076 since Nov. 15)
Epicurious: 462 fans (a gain of 269 since Nov. 15)
Verizon: 9457 fans (a gain of 7958!)
The New York Times: 5045 fans ((a gain of 2708 fans).

OK, so this week's big gainer is Verizon, but God knows why. In fact, while certain things make sense about who is gaining fans and who isn't, other things don't. The gains of Amazing Race and The New York Times make sense—they're both media brands. But then try to explain Blockbuster's lackluster performance? As for Mr. Sips, his ho-hum fan base makes some sense. It's just a soda, people.

*Study completely unscientific, subject to radical change and chock full o' specious logic.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Adverganza's Monday morning picks, 12.03.07

Wherein I scan the Monday morning headines so you don't have to:

From Advertising Age (BTW, as of this writing the This Week's Issue link still shows last week's issue. Tsk. Tsk.):

—Dell's teensy-weensy $4.5 billion account goes to WPP instead of IPG. Somewhere Michael Roth is crying in his beer.
—Matt Creamer has himself (search engine) optimized. And just look at the results.
—Oh no. Bob Garfield likes the Starbucks spots. Well, at least, he admits to a desire "to go after the CVS birdie with a 20-gauge."
—A (fairly obvious) primer on what not to do at the office holiday party. As in "No one wants to wipe your vomit off the CMO's new sport coat."
—ZenithOptimedia predicts 2008 ad spending. Hint: Unless you're in online you won't be all that happy.

From Adweek:

—Is it that people don't like ads? Or do they just don't like bad ads?
—Anomaly breaks up with Virgin, despite making interesting in-flight safety videos.
—A look at ad spending numbers for the first three quarters from Nielsen Monitor-Plus. Most of the biggest advertisers spent less on TV.
A stream of the Media All-Stars lunch. If your boss was one of them, make sure to watch.
What lobsters have to do with keeping people tuned in.
—Paul Kurnit chews on whether advertising causes obesity.
—Barbara Lippert gives a thumbs-up to Converse's first campaign from Anomaly. You can see the ads here.

What we hear from the world of Tom Delaney:

—Mars is talking to shops about "yet defined assignments" whatever that means.

From The New York Post:

—The straightforwardly-named Advertising Rating Co. says it can rate the creative effectiveness of any ad.

From The New York Times:

—Doc Martens tries out a new campaign, without stomping all over Kurt Cobain's memory.

From Mediapost:

—AT&T's CEO lets slip that a 3G iPhone is coming.
—Mercedes to promote clean diesel—and it's not supposed to be an oxymoron!
—You knew this already: Google will bid for part of the wireless spectrum.
—The FCC turns its eye to product placement.

From The Wall Street Journal:

—LG Electronics consolidates at Bartle Bogle Hegarty. Not free.
—Phil Knight secretly taking creative writing classes at Stanford. Well, not so secretly anymore. Free.