The Truth Comes Out: Omnicom-Publicis Merger Was Actually a Zany Agency Prank

In the weeks since the Omnicom and Publicis Groupe megamerger fell apart, many have been asking why such a problematic union was proposed in the first place. Well now we know: It was all another agency’s elaborate marketing stunt.

In an entertaining parody case study, Fred & Farid Group takes full credit for the “Omnipub” merger, an idea hatched to highlight just how far holding companies would go in their quest for world domination.

“Why not organize an epic fail with two giants? Instead of the usual David against Goliath, we made a Goliath against Goliath story. We created … ‘The Impossible Wedding.’”

Setting events in motion like a Shakespearean villain, Paris-based Fred & Farid says it forged letters between Omnicom CEO John Wren and Publicis CEO Maurice Lévy, making each think the other was on board with the merger. Then the pranksters sat back and watched the hilarity ensue.

Like any good case study, #Omnipub includes some impressive metrics: 24,000 mentions, 500,000 media impressions and $100 million in wasted fees (quoted from our own coverage here at Adweek). 

So congrats to Fred & Farid for pulling off one truly epic viral prank. You got us!



Source

It’s a Four-Shop Race to Fill Honda’s Digital Needs

American Honda Motor Company works hard to keep up with the competition but hasn’t been quite so successful in the hybrid space. Honda’s Prius equivalent may have been called The Insight, but the company recently pitted all three major holding companies against one another in the search for a bit more of that key noun.
Other campaigns have gone viral (shout out to Michael Bolton) and, according to AdWeek, Honda spends approximately $50 million on digital advertising each year.
Now who’s competing for that money?
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The Truth Comes Out: Omnicom-Publicis Merger Was Actually a Zany Agency Prank

In the weeks since the Omnicom and Publicis Groupe megamerger fell apart, many have been asking why such a problematic union was proposed in the first place. Well now we know: It was all another agency's elaborate marketing stunt.

In an entertaining parody case study, Fred & Farid Group takes full credit for the "Omnipub" merger, an idea hatched to highlight just how far holding companies would go in their quest for world domination.

"Why not organize an epic fail with two giants? Instead of the usual David against Goliath, we made a Goliath against Goliath story. We created … 'The Impossible Wedding.'"

Setting events in motion like a Shakespearean villain, Paris-based Fred & Farid says it forged letters between Omnicom CEO John Wren and Publicis CEO Maurice Lévy, making each think the other was on board with the merger. Then the pranksters sat back and watched the hilarity ensue.

Like any good case study, #Omnipub includes some impressive metrics: 24,000 mentions, 500,000 media impressions and $100 million in wasted fees (quoted from our own coverage here at Adweek). 

So congrats to Fred & Farid for pulling off one truly epic viral prank. You got us!




Creative Director Kammie McArthur Joins DNA

This morning we confirmed, via agency spokesperson, that Creative Director Kammie McArthur will be leaving San Franscisco’s Swirl to take a CD role at DNA in Seattle.

She beguns June 2.

McArthur brings an industry veteran’s portfolio to her new agency. Prior to joining Swirl, she performed copywriting and creative duties at Publicis‘ Seattle and Conseil/Paris offices as well as Hal Riney & Partners; her client list includes eBay, Clorox, Sprint, T-Mobile, Citi, Chevy and UNICEF (among others).

In the new role, McArthur will be reunited with DNA Principal and Director of Client Services Chris Witherspoon, with whom she collaborated on several client accounts while at Publicis Seattle.

She also founded The Mentory, a group comprised of agency vets and created to provide mentorship support for other (particularly female) professionals looking to advance within the industry.

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

WPP’s Maxus Appoints New North American CEO

This morning in news that has nothing to do with the Omnicom/Publicis collapse, WPP/GroupM media agency Maxus poached a top executive from Omnicom’s PHD.

Steve Williams, who spent two years as president at PHD, will be Maxus’ new North American CEO starting June 1, replacing the retiring Louis Jones; Williams will report to global CEO Vikram Sakhuja as well as GroupM’s North American chief Kelly Clark.

In the new role, Williams will work with the New York, L.A., Chicago, Minneapolis and Toronto offices of what the press release and RECMA call “the fastest growing global media agency for the past four years.”

Before joining PHD, Williams served as CEO of the UK’s OMD Group.

No word on how much pleasure Martin Sorrell took in making this announcement.

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

Publicis/Omnicom: An Autopsy

The world’s largest mega-merger is over before it began–and on the morning after the big breakdown, we have a fairly clear sense of the factors that doomed this would-be deal.

The Wall Street Journal broke the news last night with a joint statement from Messrs. Levy and Wren, who called the uncoupling conscious:
“The challenges that still remained to be overcome, in addition to the slow pace of progress, created a level of uncertainty detrimental to the interests of both groups.”
Their stories quickly and predictably diverged, however.

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Chances of Omnicis/Publicom Merger Now Less Than 50/50

publicis-omicron

If you’re a gambling man, you might want to bet against the pending mega-merger and the double-headed hydra it would create.

Earlier this week, WPP‘s Martin Sorrell gleefully told Reuters–via a little birdie–that chances of the deal going through were less than even. Yesterday, The Wall Street Journal reported that analysts at Albert Fried had lowered the official odds to 40% (the previous number was 66%) while downgrading  the theoretical stock price from $70 to $56.

The fact that Publicis recently lost Microsoft, Samsung and Miller Lite didn’t help; the defections have compounded risks created by a clashing of egos over the contested CFO role.

All involved parties still say the deal will go through, primarily because “there’s a $500 million break-up fee at stake”, so we expect to see a few more upbeat press releases in the days ahead.

As principals at both companies sweat a bit more heavily this week than last, WPP may have already begun planning its victory lap.

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

Publicis Groupe Wants to Manage Your Phone Plan

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…or something like that

Here’s a very curious tip we received from at least one source at Razorfish: employees are now required to use parent company Publicis Groupe‘s phone plan to access all work emails and calendars.

Essentially, the message is: “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan…unless you want to do work stuff. Then you’re gonna need either a new corporate plan or a new phone.”

Full email after the jump.

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Trouble Brewing in the Publicis Omnicom Camp

publicis-omicron

Over the weekend you may have heard of some newfound uncertainty regarding the world’s soon-to-be-biggest agency: the bastard child of Publicis and Omnicom.

Let’s review the reports, shall we?

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ROKKAN Media Offering Launches with R/GA, MRY Hires

rokkan-280x187Publicis Groupe’s ROKKAN has officially launched its new media planning/buying offering, and its staff already includes three industry vets:

  • Sean Miller, who is SVP of strategy, most recently worked in the strategy/planning department at R/GA New York
  • Lindsay Williams, VP of media and analytics, joins the agency from Estee Lauder, where she was global brand director; prior to that role she worked with several clients at Razorfish
  • Joe Meanor will serve as VP of client partnership. He joins ROKKAN from MRY, where he worked as group director

CEO/managing partner John Noe explains the offering’s purpose:

“Media is actually something we’ve been doing for several of our clients over the last couple of years, albeit in a bit of an ad-hoc fashion.”

As client requests for paid services increased, Noe and team decided to launch the new offering, which is less an independent unit than a “natural progression” of the agency’s existing services.

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

Um homem circula por Londres com a placa “Fuck the poor”. E eis o que acontece…

Ainda ontem, mostramos por aqui um comercial da seguradora Thai, da Tailândia, que falava sobre a prática de se fazer o bem. E se alguém resolvesse testar essa “tendência” que o ser humano tem de fazer o bem, para saber se é só falácia ou se as pessoas realmente estão dispostas a ajudar? Foi o que a organização de caridade The Pilion Trust fez, ao criar uma encenação com um homem circulando pelas ruas de Londres carregando uma placa e gritando “Fuck the poor” (os pobres que se fodam).

A ação, criada pela Publicis, propôs um experimento social: será que as pessoas se incomodariam com alguém que não se importa com os pobres e quer que eles se danem? Sim, muitas se incomodaram e foram tirar satisfações com o homem-placa. Teve até quem quis bater nele.

Em seguida, vemos o mesmo homem-placa, desta vez com os dizeres: “ajude os pobres”. Pergunta: quantas pessoas pararam? Nenhuma. Entra, então, a assinatura: “Nós sabemos que você se importa. Por favor, se importe o suficiente para doar”.

caridade

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Lowe Campbell Ewald Adds Pair of Creatives to NY Office

Melissa Jean GoliczewskiErica Turner

The New York offices of Lowe Campbell Ewald have just welcomed two new creatives to its team. Melissa Goliczewski will be joining on as senior copywriter, while Erica Turner will serve as senior art director. Both Goliczewski and Turner join the agency from Publicis Kaplan Thaler and will be working together on the Unilver account.

Melissa Goliczewski worked as a copywriter at agencies including MRM Worldwide Interactive, McCann Erickson, Source Communications and DeVito/Verdi prior to her nearly six year stint at Publicis Kaplan Thaler. She has worked with clients including Maybelline, L’Oreal, Intel, US Army and Johnson & Johnson, and her work has been recognized by Cannes, Midas and AME.

Prior to Publicis Kaplan Thaler, Erica Turner spent over 5 years as a senior art director at Gotham Inc, where she “launched global print, television, in-store, and digital campaigns for Maybelline New York Cosmetics, from concept to production.” In the past few years she has worked with clients including Softsheen-Carson,  Burger King, Samsung and the Boys and Girls Club.

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

Homens defendem igualdade entre gêneros em HeforShe

Quando se fala em igualdade entre gêneros, geralmente as mulheres assumem o papel de porta-vozes, uma vez que são elas que fazem as reivindicações. A United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, braço da Organização das Nações Unidas, resolveu mudar um pouco essa história colocando os homens para defender os direitos da mulher em HeforShe.

A campanha criada pela Publicis de Dallas conta com um hotsite, que apresenta o projeto e traz links para o Twitter e para o canal do YouTube, para onde os homens podem enviar vídeos com depoimentos sobre a igualdade entre gêneros.

“Estamos em 2014 e mulheres ao redor do mundo ainda estão sendo abusadas, objetificadas e silenciadas. Ainda assim, mulheres constituem metade do potencial mundial e cada uma delas tem direito a uma vida livre de discriminação. Sua voz tem poder – levante-a para dizer ao mundo por que a igualdade para toda mulher e menina é digna de luta”, destaca a apresentação da campanha.

HeforShe conta com porta-vozes conhecidos, como Desmond Tutu, Ban Ki-moon, Matt Damon, Patrick Stewart e Antonio Banderas. No Flickr e no YouTube, já é possível encontrar alguns depoimentos. Vale conhecer.

International WomenÕs Day 2014: UN WomenÕs HeForShe Campaign
International WomenÕs Day 2014: UN WomenÕs HeForShe Campaign

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Can an Ad Campaign for Women’s Rights Succeed by Only Featuring Men?

Women earn 30 percent less than men for the same work. Some 64 percent of the world's illiterate people are women. Almost 800 women die every day from preventable complications during pregnancy and childbirth.

These are just some of the mind-boggling global injustices cited by UN Women on a new website, HeForShe.org, intended to motivate men to act against gender inequality and violence toward women. Created by Publicis Dallas, the campaign asks men to upload YouTube clips of themselves speaking out in support of women. For further inspiration, it includes a simple but powerful video of well-known men—including activist Archbishop Desmond Tutu, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Matt Damon and Patrick Stewart—sharing their perspectives.

It's not a risk-free approach for UN Women, which had a global hit last year with its Google autocomplete campaign by Ogilvy Dubai. Some might think that focusing on men somehow implies their opinions are of greater value. But Publicis says the unusual strategy is the campaign's strength.

"He For She is a unique women's rights campaign in the simple fact that we don't approach the problem from a female perspective, and that's what makes it so powerful," Brad Roseberry, the agency's chief creative officer, said in a statement.

The cause is made all the more pressing by the fact that it's gone underaddressed for so long. (The ad industry, of course, has plenty to do in fixing its own deeply ingrained gender inequalities.) As the new campaign so clearly expresses, the power to solve it often remains concentrated in the hands of men.

Credits below.

CREDITS
Client: UN Women
Agency: Publicis Dallas
Executive Creative Director: Brad Roseberry
Creative Director: Natalie Lavery
Copywriter: Jacob Latchem
Art Directors: Alex Pierce, Joshua Tovar
Producers: Lori Wallace, Desiree Townsend
Web Developers: Alex Pierce, Eric Taylor, Dennis Covington, Jason Awbry
Designers: Alex Pierce, Joshua Tovar
Account Directors: Susan Scott, Whitney Sprague
Editing Company: Republic Edit
Editor: Andy McGee
Producer: Jacklyn Sandoval Roman


    



Publicis Kaplan Thaler Makes Some Cuts

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We’ve received the tips and now there’s some confirmation about cuts at New York-based Publicis Kaplan Thaler. Here’s a statement from the agency: “As our industry continues to transform and our clients’ needs change, we sometimes need to make adjustments to our staffing to be at the forefront of these changes. Less than 2% of our staff is affected by these changes.” From what we hear, among those affected at PKT, which has worked with an array of clients ranging from Wendy’s and Sleepy’s to Bristol-Myers Squibb and L’Oreal Paris over the years, include VP/creative technology director, Anton Roolaart, who has spent the last four years at the agency serving as developer, sound engineer and composer among other duties.

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

Rap do Amaury Jr. é campanha de Negresco

A chegada da concorrência fez a Nestlé se mexer e tirar a marca Negresco do limbo da comunicação. No mesmo mês em que Oreo voltou ao Brasil, inauguraram uma fanpage no Facebook – que já ultrapassou 550 mil fãs – e agora revelaram que o rap do Amaury Jr. trata-se, na verdade, de uma campanha viral.

Com letra escrita por Gabriel, o Pensador, a música “Desenrola” pede para que os brasileiros não compliquem a vida, em uma provocação bem sutil, mas facilmente identificável.

Em 24 horas, o vídeo original conquistou 60 mil visualizações no YouTube e virou motivo de piada nas redes sociais. Amaury Jr. chegou a dizer que o clipe era uma forma de protesto pessoal.

A criação é da Publicis Brasil, AG2 Publicis Modem e Publicis Dialog.

Negresco

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Publicis Kaplan Thaler Creates First-Ever National Ad for Edmunds.com

Publicis Kaplan Thaler created the first ever TV spot for car shopping destination Edmunds.com to receive a national release. The spot, “Edmunds Price Promise,” debuted on Christmas Day during NBA programming on ABC and ESPN and “will remain in regular rotation on several networks through at least the next three months.”

“Edmunds Price Promise” highlights the price promise Edmunds offers its customers, “an instant, locked-in price that the dealer will honor,” while positioning Edmunds employees as “car people” — quite literally. While the humor falls flat, the national campaign will likely bring the company newfound exposure and the Edmunds Price Promise should be a selling point with its audience.

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

Maurice Lévy Returns, Now with Balloons in Tow, for Publicis Groupe’s 2014 Greeting

publicis-groupe2014

Maurice Lévy is back this year for the new Publicis Groupe New Year’s greeting. After toying with YouTube’s functionality last year,  the holding company, with the aid of their DigitasLBi France unit, has once again found a new way to make their greeting interactive.


This year, Publicis built their message around the theme of #TheMoretheMerrier in honor of their expected merger with Omnicom. To accomplish this, they’ve made it so “The more people that join in during the video, the merrier it will become.” So, what does that mean exactly? Well, if you watch the video alone, nothing special happens. But if you watch with a friend, Maurice Lévy will deliver his speech in a confetti storm. Adding more people to the mix will result in “gospel singers, cheerleaders, Chinese dragons and a few other surprises.” It’s a pretty cool concept, managing to be interactive in an intriguing new way.

 

To accomplish this, Publicis’ tech team developed “a fancy facial detection algorithm that allows a webcam to count how many people are actually watching the video together.” The facial recognition software was conceived by “a 21 year old Russian math genius” working for DigitasLBi France. The software is the “first of its kind to detect up to ten faces simultaneously” while the video plays. “The More the Merrier” is the first video to count the number of viewers, rather than views, on YouTube. That’s a lot of technological firsts for a New Year’s greeting. By the way, in case you were wondering, it takes 1,487 balloons to cover Maurice Lévy.

Credits after the jump. continued…

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Publicis Groupe Forms New ‘Mega Region’

publicis130

We can’t say that the term “mega region” is embedded in our lexicon, but that’s what they’re calling Publicis North America, the new entity that combines Publicis USA and Publicis Canada to create the largest Publicis Groupe region outside of the holding company’s hub in France.

Eleven-year Publicis vet and Publicis USA boss Susan Gianinno has now assumed the role of chairman of the newly expanded region, focusing on global/regional clients and “priority global initiatives” while working in tandem with recently appointed Publicis Worldwide CEO, Arthur Sadoun. Along with her new chairman role, Gianinno will also be heading to Harvard next for a one-year fellowship. Meanwhile, Andrew Bruce, who has spent the last 15 years at Publicis Canada, where he most recently served as president/CEO, will now take on the CEO post of the newly formed Publicis North America.

Regarding the new moves, Publicis Groupe chief Maurice Levy says in a statement, “This is a wonderful and very prestigious appointment for Susan and for us. I am personally very proud of her and expect that she will bring even more to our people and clients during, and after, this experience. I am sure that under this new team leadership, Susan and Andrew, this new mega region will generate great work for our clients and formidable growth.”

 

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

Saatchi Health, Wellness to Operate Under One Name, Add Heartbeat Ideas to the Fold

Heartbeat_LOGO

Well, here’s the “interesting news” that we briefly alluded to last week in our post regarding Ned Russell‘s move up the Publicis Healthcare ladder. First off, 15-year-old, bi-coastal, healthcare-focused digital agency Heartbeat Ideas, which boasts 90 staffers and works with notable pharma clients including Novartis, Pfizer and Sanofi, has aligned with the Saatchi & Saatchi healthcare roster. Now, New York-based Saatchi & Saatchi Health and Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness will operate as one entity under the latter name while Heartbeat will now carry the somewhat long-winded name  of “Heartbeat Ideas, a member of Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness” and “Heartbeat West, a member of Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness.” The combined agencies will still be housed under the Publicis Healthcare Communications Group umbrella.

As far as leadership goes, Heartbeat founder/CEO Bill Drummy will remain at the helm at Heartbeat while joining the leadership team at Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness that also co-managing directors Kathy Delaney (who also retains her role as global CCO at PHCG) and JD Cassidy. In a statement, Drummy says, “For fifteen years, we’ve been on a mission to bring a more effective, digitally-forward approach to healthcare marketing.  By becoming a member of Publicis Groupe and Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness, we now have the opportunity to be a critical ingredient in an entirely new agency formulation for healthcare clients, one that is thoughtfully designed to turn the new realities of the rapidly changing healthcare marketplace to our clients’ advantage.”

On another note, while folks on the Spy line have mentioned  staffing adjustments at S&S Health/Wellness a few times over the past week, we’ve been told otherwise by the PHCG camp. We’ll keep you posted if we hear of any more developments. Update: Sources in the know tell us that there are “some people” who have left the organization, but not because of downsizing and Saatchi Saatchi Wellness is currently hiring.

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.